A guide to living in East London
Against the backdrop of the biggest skyscrapers in the UK and a myriad of converted warehouses that now house London 's swelling masses, the renaissance of East London over the last twenty years is nothing short of staggering.
Having dragged itself from the pit of economic despair this hitherto run-down and neglected area of London has become the fastest growing district in the capital. Whilst pockets of it remain antiquated and decaying, the balance of the new over the old is being tipped in favour of the former, with some ubercool areas to boot.
Getting around the East of London
East London has seen considerable improvement with transport in recent years and has been the focus of further development of new stations and the refurbishment of older ones in preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games and beyond.
Existing rail connections already include the London Underground services of the Central, Jubilee, District, Hammersmith & City Lines as well as the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) that connects the East of London with London City Airport , Stratford and Lewisham in the east, with Bank and Tower Gateway in the City.
Transport for London are currently developing the East London Transit scheme for the district as well an East to West London rail route, known as Crossrail which is planned to run from Shenfield and Abbey Wood, through Canary Wharf, the West End and The City and all the way as far as Heathrow and Maidenhead.
Alternatively, the A12 and A13 trunk roads have been considerably upgraded and have made road travel throughout the district flow more easily.
Eating, drinking and shopping in East London
When it comes to shopping in London , most people's attention will make a beeline for the more famous locales in the West End and Central London . By dismissing the retail offering that is East London , these same people are missing a huge slice of the capital's overall shopping experience.
From the comfort of familiar high street names to the unusual and exotic, the East End of London has them all. North of Whitechapel lies one of the capital's most loved areas, Spitalfields. And at its core is the infamous Old Spitalfields Market. Having been regenerated in 2005, Spitalfields is the ultimate antithesis to the traditional high street shopping experience, with the latter's lack of individuality and – some would say – atmosphere. Spitalfields, for its part, has both of these qualities in abundance. Alongside the market are a number of independent shops selling a range of products from design and interiors to fashion and food. Whereas Brick Lane , which runs from Spitalfields at the north end down to Aldgate at the South is famed for its vibrant and multi-cultural street market.
The London Bridge area boasts two key shopping areas - Hays Galleria and St Katharine Docks – which have a choice selection of fashion boutiques and general shops, though their main emphasis is on eating and drinking, which isn't such a bad thing and is certainly worth a visit.
But by far the best choice of all is to be had at Canary Wharf . With over 200 designer shops, independent and high street stores based principally in its three malls - Cabot Place, Canada Place and Jubilee Place – all shops are located underground.
And when night time falls, East London has its fair share of places to eat and drink. And one of the advantages of going out in the East End is that prices are slightly less expensive than the pricier City and West End districts. Canary Wharf has a dozen or so notable establishments to eat and drink, notably the swanky Corney & Barrow, Pizza Express and Wagamama .
Elsewhere, Spitalfields and Brick Lane , as befits the area, offer diners a diverse offering of quirky cafes, spicy curries, and the best of British. Whilst Bethnal Green isn't shy either and has a good choice of international cuisine alongside a number of more familiar chains, including Nando's.
But if all you want is a good old spit-and-sawdust traditional boozer, Wapping and Limehouse are your best bet. Of note is The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping, London 's oldest and one of the most famous riverside taverns in the capital. Whilst The Grapes in Limehouse, was a regular drinking hole for Charles Dickens. And The Narrow which is Gordon Ramsey's newest venture in East London .
Although there are few major attractions in East London , there are still plenty of things to do other than shopping, eating and drinking. Premiership outfit West Ham United play at Upton Park, while Milwall FC play their game a couple of divisions lower at The Den in Bermondsey; Walthamstow Stadium is the home of g reyhound racing; and the Royal Victoria Docks offer a range of water sports such as sailing and dragon boat racing.
Or if you prefer to break a sweat, you can walk or cycle along the Thames Path, from the London Eye to the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, passing the Pool of London, Docklands, Greenwich and the Thames Barrier. Alternatively there are a number of public leisure centres and several private health and fitness clubs throughout the district.
Main residential area
East London is today an area of regeneration, with a rising population. The redevelopment of the Docklands area began in the early 1980s, and the Thames Gateway project is now extending regeneration further east, with the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation responsible for planning and delivery of the project in East London.
London 's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympics has kick-started regeneration programmes in the area, and is likely to have an impact on house prices. This was been evidenced recently when East London was one of only three places in England and Wales to have increases in property prices.
Take a closer look
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can see some images from in and around East London below.