A sweet new book ‘East London: An Opinionated Guide’ brings together some of the coolest places in east London. Here are five of our favourites…
1. Choosing Keeping, 128 Columbia Road
Situated on one of East London’s most pictureseque streets, Choosing Keeping harks back to an era of pernmanship and letterheads, of marbled writing supplies, Japanese mechanical pencils, organte wrapping paper, elegant notebooks, dainty pots of colourful ink and heirloom scissors – all placed as diligently as the dot on a calligrapher’s letter i. This is stationery almost too precious to be used. (Almost.) (See our guide to the best stationery shops in London.)
2. Uchi, 144 Clarence Road
You’d never expect to find this brilliant Japanese restaurant delight hidden on a residential backstreet in Clapton. Even so, a free table at Uchi is a precious thing. Everything about this restaurant is satisfying, from the handsome crockery and careful presentation to the rotating board of specials – fingers crossed it features the black rice veg tempura roll on your visit.
3. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane
You could easily miss this wonderful community garden hidden opposite Dalston Junction station. A scrap of the old Eastern Curve railway line has been transformed, offering shady sitting-spots amongst trees and flowers, wildlife-friendly planting, and raised beds where locals can nurture herbs and vegetables. At the garden pavilion there’s a bar, a pizza oven, sofas and blankets for winter, while in the summer they stay open late for drinks, acoustic gigs and lantern-lit parties.
4. The Line, starts on Stratford High Street
East London’s lack of sculpture trails finally got fixed when The Line opened in 2015. Discover 13 modern and contemporary public sculptures by artists including Damien Hirst, Martin Creed and Eduardo Paolozzi, playfully dotted along a three-mile route that takes you from Stratford to North Greenwich via some other significant (but slightly less arty) East London sights: the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the O2 Arena and the Emirates Air Line cable car (which, now, finally, has a purpose thanks to this trail).
5. Dennis Severs’ House, 18 Folgate Street
Stepping into this atmospheric Georgian residence is like walking onto the set for a painting by an Old Master. That’s exactly the effect eccentric American Severs was after, when he turned the rooms into ten intimate scenes in the life of a fictional family of Huguenot silk-weavers, making them uncannily as if they’d only just walked out. Take a candlelit tour and be prepared to time-travel.