The geographical lines between Hoxton and Shoreditch are somewhat blurred, and when you think of the area I wouldn’t blame you for jumping to Nathan Barley-esque hipsters. However, Hoxton has much more to offer than ironic fashion and craft beer. It has a strong sense of community, is full of creativity and is constantly evolving. On that note, here are a handful of great things to do in Hoxton that you might not know about, from monster shopping to mushroom tripping.
Stock Up On Supplies
Parallel to the bigger, better known Kingsland Road is Hoxton Street, the home of Hackney’s oldest street market. The general market on Saturdays is great for grabbing some household bargains and fresh produce, and there’s a smaller street food market on weekdays. Also on this street lurks the charming and unique Hoxton Street Monster Supplies. Here you can buy quirky gifts for the monsters in your life, from Fang Floss to Cubed Earwax. Even better, you’ll be supporting the charity Ministry of Stories when you do, which helps kids discover and develop their creative writing.
For humans there’s also an abundance of brilliant places to eat and drink on Hoxton street. 100 Hoxton offers both sunny brunches outdoors and cosy dinners with a menu of fusion tapas. If you fancy a taste of the East End try a traditional pie and mash from F Cooke, or if you’re brave enough, a jellied eel.
Drinks wise there’s everything from the great local boozer Howl At The Moon, to the fancier cocktail bar Super Lyan, sister of Dandelyan (AKA best bar in the world).
Search For Secret Gardens Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of Kingsland road are (at least) two amazing gardens. Behind the Geoffrey Museum is a slice of tranquility in the form of its beautiful Herb Garden. Centred around a bronze fountain is a beautifully organised selection of over 170 herbs, as well as insect-attracting roses, honeysuckle and lilies. Equally as close to Hoxton station is the harder to find St Mary’s Secret Garden, tucked away on Pearson street. In this community garden there are beehives, a small pond, a wild flower meadow, plus fresh plants and produce to buy.
Go Round The Square
At the bottom of Hoxton street is Hoxton square, which continues our grub/bar crawl. A square patch of greenery is bordered by a dozen delectable places to eat and drink. The Red Lion on the corner possesses a precious rooftop terrace and cheap pizza. On the other side of the square and opposite in style is the high end basement bar Happiness Forgets. Out of view and down the steps, this brilliant little place has a speakeasy feel and delicious cocktails.
Next door and above ground is 8 Hoxton Square, sister of the acclaimed 10 Greek Street restaurant in Soho. On a weekend avoid the large queues that form yards away at the Breakfast Club and try this little number for brunch instead.
Run Away With The Circus
Just outside the square you can jump in the ring at the National Centre for Circus Arts. Their Circus Experience Days are truly unique, and in these half day workshops you can try your hand at the likes of juggling, flying trapeze, tight wire and acrobatics.
Go On A Mushroom Trip
Hoxton is full of street art, but if you’re only looking at the walls you’re probably be missing out. Sitting on top of buildings and infrastructure are Christiaan Nagel’s colourful mushrooms, which have become part of East London’s rooftop landscape. You can spot them around Hoxton at Electric Showroom, Red Market, Village Underground and along Kingsland Road. Ditch the organised street art tour and go on your own mushroom trip. Just don’t get too high.