Made notorious in the 1960s as the stomping ground of gangster twins The Krays, it’s an area where the old east end and modern urban life seem to coexist well, keeping the locals to hipster and young professionals balance in check. Nods to its grittier past still exist, York Hall was once a famous boxing hall, now a gym, pool and one-off arts events share the space with the boxers. Eating and drinking options are plentiful, and suit all tastes and budgets. There is an ever-growing number of cocktail bars, cool pubs and minimalist restaurants. But if no-nonsense grub is more your thing, try E Pellucci, a Grade II listed greasy spoon that has been serving locals since 1961. Visit the V&A Museum of Childhood for free, and see childhood objects from the 17th Century to present day.
Bethnal Green has decent nightlife too. All play and no work is the vibe at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, hosting some of London’s most interesting and weird club nights including a David Lynch inspired cabaret, entry is usually around the £5-£10. Take a walk to the imposing industrial structure of the gasholders, and you will find the Oval Space, a multi-purpose arts space that hosts large public and private events, film nights, talks, exhibitions, and gigs.