Named for the brick kilns brought by the Flemish in the 1500s, Brick Lane has a wealth of history brought by the many Russian, French, Muslim, Jewish and Bengali immigrants throughout the years.
Maps of 20 historic sites are provided on Brick Lane and online for you to plan your time. With only two hours to spend I concentrated on the street art and whatever popped up along the way.
There are many street art tours available but setting out on your own and discovering the art on and off Brick Lane is also fun. Artwork is painted over or taken down constantly so what is there today may not be tomorrow. But there is a stable of art from famous artists like Banksy, Stik, Roa, and David Walker. Here are some of my favorites:
Dark Sugars Chocolates
With two shops on Brick Lane, Dark Sugars Chocolates is one of the coolest chocolate shops around – beautifully displayed truffles with flavors like Flambeéd Cognac, ginger & honey and gin & lime, tons of samples and great West African music. I’d be getting Valentine’s chocolate here if I lived in London!
Black Eagle Brewery – Old Truman Brewery
Joseph Truman purchased the Black Eagle Brewery in 1679, later known as Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co., becoming the largest brewery in the world in 1853. However, the brewery closed in 1989 but the abandoned ten acres of lots and space of the Old Truman Brewery has been converted into an event space along with shops, galleries, restaurants and offices.
Old Spitalfields Market
Off Brick Lane on Commercial Street is a spot where a market has been continually in service since 1638. The building where the Old Spitalfields Market is located was built in 1887 and filled with restaurants, food trucks, shops, market days Thurs-Sun and a themed shopping market every Saturday.
Cereal Killer Cafe
I read an article about a “hipster” cafe styled with 80s/90s memorabilia specializing in serving (only) cereal from around the world and couldn’t quite believe it existed but lo and behold it’s on Brick Lane. Cereal Killer Cafe was plenty crowded with a mix of tourists and locals. I will be interested in seeing if people will be willing to pay £3 – £4.4 for a bowl of cereal (comes with cereal and choice of milk, toppings are extra) in the long-term. I believe they’ve been open over a year so maybe so.