While in London, if you want to visit historical, multi-cultural and hip areas all in one day, I recommend you follow the 2 mile long Spitalfields-Shoreditch Shuffle walk described in the Lonely Planet London book.
It begins at the Liverpool tube station and ends at the Old Street tube station. You can do the walk any day of the week, but if you like food, music and people-watching, go on a Sunday as there are many street markets and buskers that day.
On my way to the start of the walk, I passed the Hamilton Hall pub with reveling Southampton `The Saint` football fans. Everyone was enjoying the singing and shouting, even the police officers standing nearby.
You will start the walk on Middlesex St. Up until 1830 this used to be called Petticoat Lane because of the lacy woman’s undergarments that were sold there. However this was considered too risqué, so it was changed to Middlesex St.! You will walk through part of a street market that has occurred every Sunday for 400 years. The majority of the items sold here are low-cost new and vintage clothing, jewelry, footwear, and some food.
Then onto Widegate St., then to Artillery Passage which is about 4 feet wide and lined with historic store fronts and pubs, then Gun St., then the Old Spitalfields Market. Don`t let the name fool you! The clothing and food items sold here are very artisanal and upscale.
Then out onto Commercial St. where across the street is the Ten Bells pub. This pub has been in existence in some form or another since 1755. It is famous for its connection to two of the Jack the Ripper murders. The pub`s name is in reference to the bells of the Christ Church next door. Built in 1729 the heavy baroque appearance of this church is very impressive and could be on the set of the 1927 German film Metropolis.
Head down Fournier St. This Georgian style street is very charming and noted for the unusual address numbers; one address is Eleven and a Half.
Follow the scent onto wonderful Brick Lane! It derives its name from the brick and tile manufactures started in the 15th century. Today it is the heart of London`s Bangladeshi community and is famous for its curry houses. As you make your way down Brick Lane, you will come across graffiti on the corner of Hanbury St., many cafés and bars and trendy vintage shops.
The mix of the spicy smells from the curry houses and musty smells from the vintage shops that waft onto the street is heady and intoxicating.
Walk a bit further down and you come to The Boiler House Food Hall. With 30 stalls of international cuisine, you are sure to find something to please the palete! Once you get your food, go outside and plunk yourself down on the curb of the sidewalk along with everyone else. Just make sure your feet are inside the yellow lines or else they may get squished by one of the passing cars!
Once you have eaten your lunch, continue on down to the end of Brick Lane, cross Bethnal Green St., down Redchurch St., Club Row, around Arnold Circus, left onto Calvert Ave., cross Shoreditch High St.; all the while passing interesting art installations, historical buildings and locations all well-marked with information signs.
Finally left onto Rivington St. with its warehouses and factories converted into trendy art galleries, shops, clubs, and restaurants. Certainly fun to visit when everything is open; but an advantage of going when it is quieter is that it is possible to get a good look at all the graffiti by famous artists such as Banksy and Eine.
Then onto Great Eastern St. and then left onto Old St. which is originally a road dating back to Roman times. Look for the distinctive arcs to the entrance of the Old Street tube station and voilà you are done!
It takes about 1.5 hours to do without any stops, of course longer with stops. The Sunday Shuffle is a great way to visit an interesting and fun part of London.