Street sign, fully heeded.

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I’ve been to London a good number of times. We usually go at least once a year, sometimes twice, and the total number of trips Rand and I have taken there are numbering close to a dozen. I’m started convincing myself that I’ve seen all the city has to offer. I’ve been to tons of its museums – mainstays like the British Museum and more obscure ones like the Old Operating Theater and herb garret and the London Transport Museum. I’ve visited the Globe, and the Tate Modern, and the Tower of London; I’ve spent way, waaaay too much time shopping in Covent Garden and wandering around Borough Market.

I figured I’d seen London. Been there. Done that. Eaten those. Right?

But sure enough, every time I go, I uncover another corner of the city that I never knew existed. Some magical neighborhood that I’ve never even heard of, much less seen. This time, it was London’s east end – a collection of hip and quirky neighborhoods packed with independent shops and restaurants, street musicians and giant murals.

It was a wonderful reminder that, despite all my trips there, I’ve seen only the tiniest bit of this massive, diverse metropolis. There’s always something new and magical to uncover. Stores to browse in. People to meet. Cookies to eat.

Here are ten photos from our trip to London’s East End.

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  1. Street sign for Brick Lane, as if the eponymous masonry wasn’t enough.
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  2. Cheeky self-referential street art.

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  3. Steaming paella near Notting Hill.
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  4. Dinosaur, Einstein, and eyeball murals.

    At least, I think it’s Einstein. I guess it could also be the Fonz.

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  5. Rand mashes a bagel into his face at Beigel Bake, on Brick Lane.

    “RAND …  chomple-gobble-smack … HAPPY.”

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  6. The most glorious door knocker, ever, near Columbia Road.
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  7. Taking the criticisms of a neon sign a little too personally.

    Oh, hush. It’s not about you. You only have one, and last I checked, it was rather clean.

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  8. If a book can have a chip on its shoulder, this one would.

    Disclaimer: half of the pages are blank. KIDDING! I’m kidding. Kidneys are delicious, y’all.

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  9. Bacon street murals.

    Note the total absence of bacon.

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  10. Obligatory snuggle photo of me and Rand, Columbia Road Flower Market.
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Full list of categories:  City Guide » Photos » Top Ten
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Comments (15)

  1. 02. May, 2013 / Camels & Chocolate:

    I’m in Europe right now for eight weeks and will be in London the last few days in June before flying out. Where do you recommend staying? Favorite neighborhood and/or hotel?

    [Reply]

  2. 02. May, 2013 / Aruna:

    The brick lane street sign in Bengali? (atleast that is what it looks like!)
    Surprising! Do they have other street signs in Bengali too? Do tell me.

    [Reply]

    Shohini Reply:

    I noticed that too … bengali’s representing :)

    [Reply]

  3. 02. May, 2013 / Jules:

    I totally read “giant street musicians” instead of “street musicians and giant murals.” I kept thinking a picture of a giant street musician would be next. These pictures are cool too – but I was really looking forward to a guy on stilts playing the drums or something. :)

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  4. 02. May, 2013 / mary:

    Hello – Just wanted to thank you for the delight your stories bring to my day … or what I like to call a mental margarita.

    I’ve recently moved back to Seattle, but had the fortune to live in London the last year+ and have enjoyed walking down memory lane as I read about your adventures in Portobello Road and Brick Lane. What a treat.

    On a future trip, if you haven’t visited the Highgate Cemetary … I highly recommend it. The history is fascinating and it’s in a lovely area of NW London. A friend recommended a book to me by Audrey Niffenegger (Time Traveler’s Wife) that took place in/near the cemetary. If you go, it’s a fun read to do beforehand. (Also I think a better book than Time Traveler’s if you read that one).

    Thanks again!

    [Reply]

  5. 02. May, 2013 / Andrea:

    I literally stared at the Bacon Street picture for a solid five seconds, I thought it was some kind of bacon-finding game, and there would be like a little bacon mural on the side. I think we all lost that game, when there is no bacon, nobody wins.

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    Jenny Reply:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Sat there trying to find the bacon and finally read the caption. Sigh. No bacon makes me sad.

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  6. 03. May, 2013 / Carine:

    Looking at all your pictures I realise how much I love living in London :) If you come back with Rand for Search Love (yes, I’m an SEO and I read both your blog and your husband’s) try http://kookybakes.com/: definitely in my top 5 for cupcakes in London!

    [Reply]

  7. 03. May, 2013 / Sam:

    I’ve never heard of Bacon street. How disappointing, the lack of bacon. :-(

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  8. 04. May, 2013 / jessie:

    i think it’s the fonz. AND, i completely covet that fox door knocker.

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  9. 05. May, 2013 / Jill Browne:

    Love those pics, and reading about your jaunt in the East End was fun.

    I love London. I’ve been there enough, and lived there enough, to have visited the mainstream attractions but I’ve been going back to them and realizing that the more I look, the more I see. Yeah, it’s trite to say that, but in London there are so many layers of history, and so many cross-currents of culture, that every physical place has countless stories. That’s a big part of what has me hooked on the place.

    Thanks for featuring London. I really enjoyed this post.

    [Reply]

  10. 05. May, 2013 / Teresa Roberts:

    I really love traipsing around London!

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  11. 06. May, 2013 / Mike:

    The picture of the paella looked amazing. Very funny one with Rand and that place in the background.

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  12. 03. Jul, 2013 / Krishanu:

    Do you know what is under the “Brick Lane” sign? It is a sign, in Bengali language/script that says “Brick Lane”! How do I know this? I’m a native Bengali speaker! What is a sign in Bengali doing in London? Clueless.

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  13. 02. Oct, 2013 / ebe:

    Absolutely loving your blog & these pics! We have a similar picture in front of Dirty Dicks – you can’t fight that impulse. I have a week-long work trip in the city coming up and I am mining your blog for unusual things to do as this is my 3rd visit. Thanks for all the great tips & posts.

    [Reply]

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