E2. Tower Hamlets. London Property Area Guide.
Quintessentially “Cockney” London
For me Bethnal Green will always be the quintessential heart of Cockney London. For others, particularly young media-savvy types it’s becoming a trendy hot-spot worthy of stealing the Shoreditch crown.
Bethnal Green will forever have its place in London’s gangland folklore. The neighbourhood plays on its’ seedy past and urban cool heritage. Once this location was somewhere locals dreamt of escaping but now it’s quite the opposite. An array of art galleries, museums and trendy bars are replacing the old guard boozers and greasy cafe’s and the area is seemingly undergoing a renaissance along with many similar areas of East London.
Slumdog to War Hero
Bethnal Green has long been one of London’s poorest areas, to the point that part of the area was declared the worst slum in London. In 1900 the first ever UK council estate was built here – now known as the Boundary Estate at Arnold Circus. The estate changed the lives of families in the local area. Through hard and turbulent times in the 1900s there always remained a strong sense of community and pride, particularly notable during the Blitz. Bethnal Green and surrounding areas suffered badly during WW2, with 80 tonnes of bombs decimating Property in the area and causing the biggest civilian disaster at Bethnal Green tube station.
Bethnal Green now boasts a fabulously convenient location on the Central tube line and just a short walk into the City Square Mile (financial centre) and Liverpool Street Station. A myriad of buses serve the area and there are numerous routes into the West End. Proximity together with the range of cultural, shopping and leisure facilities make Bethnal Green a new spot on the map for prospective families starting out and young people with a healthy income.
Roman Road to Brick Lane
Shopping within the area is quite diverse – Bethnal Green High Street and Hackney Road offer the usual high street shops, traditional markets such as Roman road or more exotic and cosmopolitan markets including Brick Lane and Whitechapel are all close by.
Sundays see people travel far and wide to arrive at Columbia Road Flower Market – London’s most exciting, and colourful market! Guaranteed to entertain, there is nothing quite as uplifting as the market trader’s cries mixed with the street entertainers lively music – and occasional dancing – to wake you up on a Sunday morning! It’s not just the flowers on offer here, numerous boutiques, cake shops and antiques shops have sprung up and dot the pretty Victorian streets.
Children will love Victoria park the oldest public park in Britain. This pretty lush park is a haven in the local area and locals love nothing better than spending a weekend here. In recent years, the area is more often referred to as Victoria Park Village, and you’ll find pretty boutiques and smart yet casual restaurants to while away a couple of hours. On summer weekends the park plays host to popular music festivals – with BBC music events furnishing the local residents with priority tickets.
Haggerston Park and Hackney City Farm are also close by and provide ample opportunity for kids to let off steam.
Looking for a more authentic way to exercise than your local identi-kit gym? York Hall, the boxing arena originally made famous by the Kray Twins is now a much treasured fitness and leisure facility in the area. With a multi-million pound facelift, you can now mix in some punch-bag action with all the facilties from a large gym, spa and huge swimming pool.
Bringing Bethnal Green higher in the stakes for the evening entertainment scene is ‘Rich Mix’ – an arts/cultural venue which includes a 3 screen cinema. An up-and-coming Arts scene thrives here, with the Brick Lane Gallery, Geffrye Museum and V&A Museum of Childhood.
If it’s nightlife you’re after it’s perfect too – just down Bethnal Green Road you’ll find Shoreditch, which has the highest density of bars and clubs east of Soho. Bethnal Green itself isn’t badly off for traditional pubs (some more spruced up than others!) and new bars that have started springing up over the last few years. We personally love, The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. As the name suggests it could be something out of a 1950’s gangster movie, there really are no frills here, just lots of fun, good music, dancing and the odd nipple tassel!
Reports of “Guardian newspaper readers” and moca-choca frappe lovers invading the area have been doing the rounds for the last decade. This is perhaps due to the many positive points the area has to offer along with canal-side developments springing up and investors eyeing up potential goldmines in the once fading properties on the likes of Cyprus Street, Gore Road and Quilter Street – all offering strikingly pretty houses. However Bethnal Green is not all Boho, barrow and ball, it still has it’s fair share of local authority housing which covers whole swathes of the back streets. The ethnic mix of the area is particularly interesting, proud working class Londoners who have lived in the area for generations reside in a borough which has the largest percentage of ethnic minorities in London. It is estimated that 41% of the areas residents are Bangladeshi.
Insiders Guide: Best of Bethnal Green
The most amazing Sunday roast in London. Period! The Royal Oak, 73 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
Try an insanely delicious bagel at the 24hr East London Institution: Brick Lane Beigel Bake, 159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB
For a night to remember: The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, 42 Pollard Street, E2
For a taste of Italia: Campania Gastronomia, 95 Columbia Road, E2 7RG
For hip kitchen designs: Keeping House, 144 Columbia Road, E2
Stylish Menswear: Anthem, 10-12 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP
Bethnal Green Location
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Bethnal Green, Zone 2 (Central Line)
Bethnal Green with services to Enfield, Chingford and Liverpool Street Station
Cambridge Heath with services to Enfield and Cheshunt
8: Bow – Oxford Circus
106 Finsbury Park – Whitechapel
254: Aldgate – Holloway
309 Canning Town – London Chest Hospital
388 Blackfriars – Hackney Wick
D3 Crossharbour – London Chest Hospital
D6 Crossharbour – Hackney Downs
N8: Hainault – Oxford Circus
N253: Aldgate – Tottenham Court Road
William Davis Primary School, Wood Close, E2 6ET
St John’s CofE Primary School, Peel Grove, E2 9LR
Lawdale Junior School, Mansford Street, E2 6LS
Globe Primary School, Gawber Street, E2 OJH
Elizabeth Selby Infant’s School, Old Bethnal Green Road, E2 6PP
Beatrice Tate School, St Jude’s Road, E2, 9RW
Raines Foundation School, Approach Road, E2 9LY
Oaklands School, Old Bethnal Green Road, E2 6PR
Darul Hadis Latifiah (Muslim School), 1 Cornwall Avenue, E2 0HW
Excellence Christian School (Independent), 59-61 Vyner Street, E2 9DQ