There are not many places in the UK that offer an experience quite like London’s East End. The famous TV programme Eastenders typifies the East End life but the reality of the East End of London is even more enthralling. With historic landmarks and attractions including the London Docklands, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Columbia Road Flower Market and much more to explore, it is a thriving area for locals and tourists alike.
The East End is famous for its docks, which were integral to UK trade in the 1800s. The docks quickly grew and the demand for workers on the docks grew with it. This is where the first housing for dock workers appeared and this area is now better known as the East End. Whilst the West End is renowned for the Theatre and the more opulent residencies, the East End has long been regarded as the less appealing side.
However, the East End is steeped with history and home to events such as the Jack the Ripper and the infamous Whitechapel Murders and the Siege of Sydney Street. Later on, the now famous Battle of Cable Street took place following severe overcrowding of the area and high levels of unemployment.
The notorious Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie famously ruled and terrorised the streets of East End. Throughout the 50s and 60s, they led a criminal empire that is still remembered and talked about. Such was the extent of their exploits, a film (starring Tom Hardy as both twins) was released to share with the world the lives of the hardened criminals of the East End. When Reggie died thousands of people flocked to the funeral.
Whilst a lot of efforts have gone into regenerating the East End, in comparison to the West End this is where you will find your typical Londoner. The users of the famous cockney rhyming slang, the boozers and the underworld criminals are all here in the East End. If you want to really experience historical London rather than the palaces, the bankers and the fancy shops with posh door staff then head to the East End and find out all about the fascinating stories of years gone by.
One way to see London is to hire a bicycle and see as much of the place as you can. The Tube can be a bit hectic and doesn’t allow you to see the places as you pass through them. Another great way to see the best of London’s East End is on foot, so you can take in all of the sights and not miss a thing.
Now if you enjoy exploring historic parts of the UK, you might want to try a walking tour or if you like to combine a pub-crawl with a bit of sightseeing you could try a London pub walking tour. These kind of tours will not only reveal some of London’s hidden gems of the East End, you can also sample some of the local (pub) culture. You can’t really experience the East End properly without paying a visit to a pub or two. The Queen Vic isn’t the focal point of Eastenders without reason; it is because the heart of the East End community is found in those traditional public houses.
If that isn’t enough to attract you to the wonders of the East End, beer lovers can rejoice in the lower priced drinks than those you will find in the more upmarket venues on the West End. Does it get any better than crime and history stories accompanied by cheap beer? Why not plan your next Leo Sayer in London’s East End and maybe head for an Al Murray afterwards?
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