East London has seen some major changes over the years. What was traditionally the home of the Cockney now reflects a diverse range of nationalities and cultures. And once an area of extreme poverty, it’s becoming an increasingly trendy part of the city.
Some might say it’s one of the most exciting places to stay when visiting the UK capital.
So, if you’re planning a trip to our vibrant city, why not look at booking an East London hotel? With a rich history, countless things to do and excellent transport links to the rest of the city, the East End is a great place to stay.
Whether you’re travelling for work or play, here are six reasons to choose an East London hotel.
1. Rich history
East London has a rich and varied history. Once a green and open space away from the busy streets of the city, as London became more industrialised, it transformed into a hub for manufacturers and trades.
As jobs increased, it became a popular spot for immigrants. But with poor housing conditions, East London became notorious for its poverty and overcrowding. This led to a history of political activism, and the area is associated with some of Britain’s most influential social reformers. Bow became the headquarters of the Suffragette movement, and the Labour party can trace many of its roots back to this part of London.
More recently, East London has since seen swathes of regeneration. There has been considerable investment in the area’s transport infrastructure as well as a number of urban renewal projects, including Canary Wharf, a huge commercial and housing development and now one of the main financial centres in the world. The London 2012 Olympics, held in Stratford, brought even more regeneration to the area.
Today, East London is a vibrant part of the city with plenty of modern innovation. But East Londoners are proud of their heritage and history – and rightfully so!
2. Excellent transport links
London has one of the largest and most developed transport networks in the world, with integrated bus, tube, river and road systems.
The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), an innovative driverless line, serves much of East London, including Canary Wharf, the Excel Centre and London City Airport. The DLR connects to the London Underground network at Bank.
The Royal Foundation of St Katharine is an East London hotel situated just a 2-minute walk from Limehouse DLR station, which is located in Zone 2. From here, guests can reach top tourist attractions such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London within fifteen minutes. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus are just half an hour away, and business travellers can reach the city’s financial district in under ten minutes.
3. Fabulous nature and walks
London is home to many great parks, and East London is no exception. Victoria Park is one of the prettiest parks in London – and of the best kept secrets of East London. With a huge lake to picnic around and a small cafe serving locally sourced food, it makes for a great day out while in the capital. Victoria Park, in Bow, is just a forty-minute walk from St Katharine’s.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, just south-east of Mile End tube station, is more than just one of London’s most famous cemeteries. Closed to burials since 1966, it is now home to a 32-acre woodland park and nature reserve rich in bird and butterfly life. Guests at St Katharine’s can reach it in just 25 minutes on foot.
The Thames Path walking routes are a great way to take in the city. Stretching all the way from Richmond in West London to the Thames Barrier in Greenwich, it offers walkers lots to see and do. The Tower Bridge to Greenwich section is a favourite of visitors to St Katharine’s. The 5-mile route passes St Katharine Docks, Limehouse Marina and Canary Wharf.
4. Fantastic places to eat and drink
East London is brimming with great places to eat and drink. The area is well known for its independent food and market stalls offering a rich mix of international cuisine. Some of the best food spots can be found in Spitalfields, Shoreditch and Brick Lane, with the latter being home to some of the best curry houses in London, as well as authentic Italian, Thai and British restaurants. Canary Wharf also offers a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and bars to suit every palate and occasion.
In the Limehouse area, some of our favourite restaurants are Kirvem (Turkish), La Figa (Italian) and Gordon Ramsay’s The Narrow. Or why not try the Yurt Café at St Katherine’s? London’s only yurt café offers craft coffee and delicious homemade food. Much of the food is sourced locally – some of which is grown in our own gardens!
5. It’s the arts and culture capital of the city
East London is the city’s cultural capital, offering a variety of fantastic art galleries, museums and vibrant street art.
Whitechapel Gallery, just off Brick Lane, is a must-visit for art lovers. Brick Lane itself is famous for its street art, which features artists including Banksy and Ben Eine. Join one of the many walking tours that will take you to the best spots, or spend a few hours wandering the streets yourself.
Tower Hamlets is home to the Museum of London Docklands, a fabulous museum covering 2,000 years of history and that portrays the importance of the River Thames to the city.
At St Katharine’s, we regularly host events to celebrate the creative talent in the local area, including live music and poetry. St Katharine’s is also a space for community groups to get together for anything from gardening to singing, and we offer affordable space for local artists to rent too.
6. Eclectic mix of independent shops and markets
East London is well known for its one-off boutiques, markets and pop-up stalls. Wandering around some of these stalls, the array of international cultures in the area is evident.
One of the most popular markets is Old Spitalfields, where you can find everything from clothes and music to artwork and unique items for your home – all at bargain prices. There are many other smaller markets that are worth a visit too and are a perfect place to spend a few hours.
For those looking for high street and designer retailers, East London is also home to Westfield Stratford City. With over 250 shops and 70 restaurants, it’s Europe’s biggest shopping centre.
Once an overlooked part of London, the East End has fast become one of the city’s most exciting areas to stay. With an eclectic mix of international cuisine, vibrant streets and markets, and top tourist attractions such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral within easy reach, it’s a fantastic place to choose for your stay in London.
The Royal Foundation of St Katharine provides an oasis of calm in the heart of East London. Just a 2-minute walk from Limehouse DLR, it offers easy access to the rest of the city, whilst providing a peaceful space to relax and recharge after a day of sightseeing, visiting family and friends, or working. To book your stay with us, click here.