Search for cheap hotels near East London
Eastenders, the popular London soap opera is set in Walford, a fictional part of London located in the E20 postcode area close to Bow and Homerton. The programme might be filled with dodgy 'geezers' and tatty markets, but don't let this put you off, because East London has become a very trendy part of London in recent years. From Hackney to Shoreditch, Mile End to Whitehall, where Jack the Ripper stalked his victims, cheap house prices and a louche laid back vibe have attracted a young crowd of students, artists, musicians and fashionistas and many independent couturiers, cafes, bars, and galleries have sprung up.
"Transport links are improving"
East London may not be quite as refined as the West as it lacks the elegant Victorian and Georgian town houses, instead offering gussied up 19th century warehouses and factories alongside former slums, new builds and shop conversions, which give the area an eclectic feel, which has its own shabby chic charm. The East is the place to come to watch gigs or visit an exhibition, and it offers fantastic people watching opportunities as many of the residents are often seen in outlandish outfits; however the epicentre of cool seems to be shifting further and further east towards Hackney Wick, Dalston and Stoke Newington as property prices rise, so Old Street, has become filled with more and more companies and young professionals and many of the design agencies and galleries have relocated to further flung parts of the east. Transport links in the east are improving, as many stations such as Stratford, Forest gate, Stoke Newington and Hackney can only be reached via over ground rail, although a new crossrail service will introduce a tube line in the next few years. Hotels in this area vary greatly in quality and can be cramped as they are usually in converted houses, but some offer quirky vintage decor or a sleek artistic ambience and offer affordable rates.
"Pearly Kings and Queens"
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets encompasses Bethnal Green, Bow, Poplar and Stepney and stretches down to The Docklands, West India Docks, Poplar, the Isle of Dogs, Limehouse and Canary Wharf further south. Although Pearly Kings and Queens are a rare sight nowadays and true cockneys, born within earshot of the bells of Bow, are submerged in a sea of many fake cockney accents and mannerisms; this is the area of London where you will be most likely to meet one of these icons of London's culture.
"The area now rivals the City of London as a vital economic centre"
The Docklands has a different atmosphere to the bohemian vibe in areas such as Shoreditch, with some of London's tallest buildings, a thriving finance and business district at Canary Wharf and very expensive properties in the recently regenerated area. Residents are largely professionals who work in the city, mixed with tenants of the council houses, which were once a prominent feature of the area, which suffered from terrible poverty due to overcrowding and lack of employment. Now, the area rivals only the City of London as a vital economic centre and is filled with Michelin starred restaurants, designer shops and bars crammed full of suits. The buildings do however offer fantastic views over London, so it is well worth visiting. Hotels in this area also vary greatly, due to the mix of gentrification and remaining social housing, so some areas are more pleasant than others to stay in. the Docklands and Canary Wharf area tend to be more expensive and largely suit visitors arriving to London on business, so leisure tourists may wish to stay further north or south.
"Home of the Olympic Park"
The East is also home of the Olympic park area, which has helped to bring gentrification to areas such as Stratford and London City Airport is situated in Newham. The new ExCeL exhibition centre is located in Custom House, which was previously a somewhat run down industrial district and North Woolwich is where you can catch the Woolwich ferry to Woolwich Arsenal, the football stadium. Upton Park and West Ham are also great locations for sports fans to visit as the West Ham Football Club is located at Upton Park and West Ham is famed for its rugby teams. Although many of East London's former rural areas, such as Waltham Forest and Epping Forest, the boroughs have nurtured some home grown talent, including urban groups such as East 17 (named after their London postcode), Blazin Squad and indie band Hefner.
"Government regeneration plans will see the east change over the next few years"
If you do want to find some remains of the green area this part of London used to be, you can visit London Fields, Hackney Marshes or Waltham Marshes, which are still parkland. The further towards London suburbs you travel, the more residential and green the areas become. Much of East London still needs development and there is still a great deal of poverty apparent in certain parts of the east. However, the arrival of the Olympics and government regeneration plans should see the east change a lot over the next few years. It may never rival the Victorian grandeur of the West End, but whether you're investigating the emerging arts scene, listening to a new urban, garage band or tasting some of London's stranger local delicacies, you will discover that the east has some charms all of its own.
"The area can be a mixed bag"
When it comes to deciding where to stay in East London, the area can be a mixed bag, with pockets of economically challenged areas, which are less vibrant and possess less of the shabby charm that makes the east so intriguing. Old Street, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green are all very good places to stay for culture vultures. If you are arriving in London on business, Canary Wharf will give you the opportunity to mix with the city's movers and shakers, or if you are a history buff, you may prefer to stay near Tower Hill, which is close to the Tower of London, the spot of many royal imprisonments and beheadings, where you can pick up some of the grisly facts about London history and shake hands with a Beefeater. Be careful you don't scare away any of the captive ravens kept there though, because local legend believes that "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it."