A first-timer’s guide to London’s East End

From head-turning street art, mouth-watering curry houses, world-famous street markets and an unfortunate Jack The Ripper connection, it’s no mystery why London’s East End has fascinated both visitors and historians for centuries.

Thanks to its diverse combination of places to visit, today London’s East End draws in lovers of food, art, history and music to this one incredibly unique area of London, which is as diverse and complex as the many streets it consists of.

So if you’re looking for the quintessential “Eastenders” experience during your next trip to London but you don’t know where to start in your travel research, here’s a few must-do activities to keep in mind:

Shop around the famous street markets

No visit to London’s East End would be complete without checking out its countless street markets, some of which have been around for hundreds of years.

The Old Spitalfields Market (AKA“the staple of East London”) the Sunday Upmarket, and the Brick Lane Market (which is especially lively on a Sunday) are hands-down the top three street markets London’s East End has to offer; but there’s also the Roman Road Market, the Backyard Market, and the Columbia Road Flower Market which are all worth checking out as well.

Dine at a curry house along Brick Lane

For many years Brick Lane (one of the most famous streets in the East End) has been considered the home of London’s best curry, so sampling at least one delicious curry dish in East London before you leave is an absolute must

Aladin (at #132) is arguably the best curry house on Brick Lane, but the good curry doesn’t just stop there. There’s also The Monsoon (at #78) which offers some delicious Chilli Chicken Balti, or Bengal Village (at #75) which has amazingly mild chicken tikka. (And let’s not forget about City Spice at #138 which claims to be the “King of Brick Lane!”)

Learn about London’s morbid Victorian history

Long before the clubs and bars started popping up all over Shoreditch, London’s East End was considered a no-go zone for many of the locals. And that was because of one man and one man only: Jack The Ripper.

And because the identity of the world’s most infamous serial killer still remains a mystery, people flock to the area from all over the world just to visit the Jack The Ripper Museum or go on a free Jack The Ripper walking tour to not only learn more about “Jack” and his many unfortunate victims, but also get a glimpse of what life in London’s East End would have been like during the Victorian ages as well.

Party at some of its best bars and clubs

Sure the south has the Ministry of Sound and there’s many a pub crawl in Camden and around London’s West End, but it’s the East that has become the “party capital” of London in recent years – and anyone who’s partied it up in the East End wears the experience like a badge of honour.

From Dalston’s rave scene that has attracted the rich and famous since the 1980s, to the countless alternative and quirky bars all over Shoreditch (like XOYO, Village Underground and Trapeze, just to name a few), no matter what kind of night you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it in London’s East End.

If you’re hoping to party it up like a local, head to Dalston to get your drink on with the local university students (especially at places like The Alibi, the Railway Tavern or the Dalston Superstore) or any of the bars and clubs along Old Street in Hoxton, the western edge of Shoreditch.