It’s time for a wander. I’ve been out and about in the city lately, and I want to share another self-guided walk in London with you. Life has taken me back to Spitalfields a lot and I love this London neighborhood’s markets, side streets, and street art. So today I bring you another free walking tour of London in the form of A Lady in London’s self-guided walk in Spitalfields.
Spitalfields is one of east London’s most vibrant areas. Historic houses sit next to contemporary street art, markets offer vintage treasures, and new pop-ups open all the time. It’s an exciting area to explore, and given how fast it’s changing, each visit brings different sights and experiences with it.
Self-Guided Walk in London’s Spitalfields
My self-guided walk in Spitalfields will show you around the neighborhood’s most colorful streets and markets. Sunday is the best day to do this London walk, so I recommend going then.
This is because Sunday is market day on Brick Lane and the street comes alive with the sights and scents of the stalls. But even if you go another day there are lots of cafes, pubs, and restaurants where you can stop for a break if you need to.
This free walking tour of London starts at Liverpool Street station. When you get there, exit onto Bishopsgate and cross the street in front of you. Once you’re across, take a left and walk up to Brushfield Street. Turn right and you’ll soon find yourself in Bishopsgate Square.
The square leads into Old Spitalfields Market, where you can spend time browsing the stalls and shops in the covered plaza. There’s a lot to take in here, so make sure to leave yourself plenty of time.
After exploring Old Spitalfields Market, exit onto Commercial Street. Cross the street and make your way to Puma Court (you will turn left or right on Commercial Street depending where you exit the market, but Puma Court is on the same block as the market). Puma Court is a little alley where you can see beautiful alms houses on the left side.
At the end of Puma Court, turn left on Wilkes Street. Here you’ll start to discover the area’s historic houses, many of which were lived in by French Huguenot weavers who came to London as refugees at the end of the 17th century.
Turn right on Princelet Street and you’ll start to see more of the colorful buildings Londoners love to photograph (the red one is all over Instagram).
At the end of Princelet Street, turn left on Brick Lane. Here you’ll start to get a taste of the market scene. This street was mostly Bangladeshi restaurants a decade ago, but now more hipster cafes and restaurants are taking over.
Take your first left on Hanbury Street (don’t worry, you’ll be back on Brick Lane soon) and go a block down to Dray Walk. Don’t miss the good coffee shops and street art along the way.
Turn right into Dray Walk and soak up the food vendors and sculptures dotting the courtyard. The street will curve around, revealing more pop-ups and shops.
If you want to (and if it’s open), you can head into the Old Truman Brewery to explore the maze of vintage stalls in the market.
When you’ve finished exploring the street and market, exit onto Brick Lane. Turn left and walk all the way up to Bethnal Green Road. Along the way you can pop into various buildings that house Sunday markets, including more vintage markets and world food markets.
The street itself will also be filled with market stalls, so you’ll have plenty to keep your eyes and nose occupied while you walk.
When you get to Bethnal Green Road, turn around and retrace your steps. Brick Lane will eventually lead you back to Hanbury Street, which has some of the best street art in London. Turn left and walk down Hanbury Street until you reach the corner of Spital Street, then turn around and head back to Brick Lane.
Once at Brick Lane, turn left and walk down until you get to Fournier Street. Turn right on Fournier Street and soak up more of the colorful details as you go.
Once you get to Commercial Street, cross over, take a quick left, then a quick right on Brushfield Street. You’ll be back by Old Spitalfields Market now, and able to take in the historic buildings alongside it.
Walk along Brushfield Street until you reach Bishopsgate, then turn left, cross the street, and head back to Liverpool Street station. Your free walking tour of London’s Spitalfields ends here.
Time: 1.5 hours (including time in the markets)
Map of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/emRGy9axhAk
Further afield: Shoreditch, Columbia Road Flower Market, City of London
I’ve published more London walks and compiled them in my London walking tours blog post. There are additional great walks outlined in London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it here.
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