Because it’s one of the capital’s major Overground railway stations, Liverpool Street station (which lies in the City of London and on the cusp of the East End) has, in recent years, become the centre of a thriving area full of attractions. There’s everything from bars to clubs and galleries to markets here – and, owing to the obviously fantastic transport links in the district, they’re very easy to get to as well; not least if you’ve made your place of stay one of the hotels near Paddington Station London, perhaps the Park Grand hotel Paddington…
(30 St Mary Axe EC3A 8EP)
Nicknamed ‘The Gherkin’ (thanks to its shape and the greenish hue of its predominantly glassy exterior), this example of outstanding 21st Century innovation in architecture is to the City of London what the similarly dynamic and glass-dominated Shard is to London Bridge area just across the river. At the very top of the building, which opened just over a decade ago now back in 2004, tenants can enjoy a cool coffee in a café that boasts a full 360-degree view of the whole London skyline. Sadly, few architectural lovers who aren’t lucky enough to work in The Gherkin get the chance to visit this or any of its other 40-odd floors; however, you may get lucky – who knows; during your stay in the city, the building’s owners may be holding one of their guided tours around it for the general public…
Old Spitalfields Market
(16 Horner Square, London E16EW/ open daily; times vary)
Believe it or not, just a few moments’ walk away from the hustle-bustle of the station in question is a hustle-bustle of an altogether different kind; the true diversity of this open-seven-days-a-week, age-old market, which offers various stalls depending on the day of the week. Their wares include antiques, vintage and retro items, fashion, artworks and excellent food (fresh and pop-up street-food-style). Music lovers should especially make a beeline for this venue on the first and third Friday of the month, as it’s then taken over by stalls vending rare and new records, highly collectable vinyl undoubtedly among it all.
The Old Truman Brewery
(91 Brick Lane E1 6QR/ open 24 hours a day)
A multi attraction location, this is a significant arts and media venue for the East End – a few minutes’ walk then from Liverpool Street station, in the environs of the multicultural miasma that’s the Brick Lane district. And it very much belongs in that culturally diverse, happening area, hosting as it does everything from independent galleries to restaurants and boutiquey shops to markets. It’s also a favourite locale for fashion shows and music video shoots now and then, while also being a serious nightlife haunt for the hip and young, thanks to the café and club combo that’s Cafe 1001 and the really rather awesome All Star Lanes bowling locale.