Our Future's Orange: Hoxton

The Geffrye Museum garden, underneath the arches of Hoxton Station
White Cube Gallery, Hoxton Square

Delicious London lanscapes

The only scary thing about Hoxton is the realisation that you are ten years older than everyone else


This is part six of our preview of the East London Line, profiling many of the stops along the new route, ahead of its opening this month.

Hoxton is the counterpart of Shoreditch, to the north of Old Street, although the name has seeped south thanks to places like the Hoxton Urban Lodge on Great Eastern Street. Hoxton Station seeks to avoid future confusion by planting the flag firmly in the north of its territory.

Hoxton carries so much cultural baggage – from the White Cube gallery to Nathan Barley – that the first time we went with the intention of reviewing it for the site, we were fearful that we were neither young, nor cultured enough to judge it. We gestured approvingly to our wife at the first bit of alternative high-culture we saw: a small theatre we spotted tucked away inside a brick doorway, which on closer inspection turned out to be a gay sex shop.

Despite the reported defection of many of Hoxton’s cultural settlers to places like Dalston and Deptford due to rising prices, the area remains one of the most exciting in London, with a dense concentration of nightlife and stunning architectural contrasts from every angle.

Hoxton Station (like a DLR station on steroids, built on brick arches) sets you down in an incongruously quiet little pedestrian street, just behind the Geffrye Museum, which is devoted to the history of the English home, built inside a pretty 18th century almshouse. The museum is free to enter and – like Brockley Central – much of it is given over to “Urban life and the middling sort.” That means it recreates a series of living rooms, from the 17th century to the modern era and provides a small but beautiful period garden. No museum of the middling sort would be complete without a cafĂ©, and the Geffrye’s is lovely, set in a new conservatory, overlooking the garden.

From there we travelled down Kingsland Road, the centre of Vietnamese cuisine in London, with standout venues including Viet Grill, Que Viet and Tay Do. Among the other places worth checking out along this stretch are the Flowers Galleries and Jaguar Shoes (a cut and shut of two former shops). We then turned down Drysdale, into the heart of poseur Hoxton.

On summer evenings, Hoxton Square is the closest thing central London has to a beach resort, with drinkers spread out on the small patch grass from day, into the evening. Unlike Soho Square, many of the bars face the square itself, with the sun terraces of venues like Bluu, the Hoxton Apprentice and Zigfrid creating a more intimate, self-contained atmosphere than Hoxton’s west end rival. Having said that, one of the area’s best bars, the Electricity Showrooms, is located just off the square.

Beyond Hoxton Square, head west for restaurants like Fifteen on Westland Place or pubs like The Eagle on Shepherdess Walk. Or sneak across the border in to Shoreditch for great streets like Rivington, home of day/night club Cargo, and Curtain Road, home to SCP, a furniture and garden shop, which will make you wish you had more money.

All this and yet no-sign of the drug dealers that some of our more imaginative readers had warned us the area was teeming with, ready to pounce on us as soon as the East London Line was up-and-running. The station did have handy step-free access and platforms on the same level as the train doors, for their pushchairs though.

More East London Line destinations:

Forest Hill
Crystal Palace
Shoreditch High Street
Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Surrey Quays
Dalston

21 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Do you think Lou could be persuaded to give Hoxton a try over The Kings Road?

Could this be a BC drink up destination? The annexation of the North London territories into SE4 starts with little (goose?) steps

The Cat Man said...

To complete the station reviews, will you be doing brockleys? :) newbies to the area might appreciated a round up if all good things in brockers!

On a different note, type in the mp area for Lewisham deptford in the BBC election site and brockers gets afairly decent mention!

Headhunter said...

I went to Tay Do on Sat with some friends! Funny you should mention it here. We took the tried and tested rout to London Bridge and walked from there, the Overground wasn't running

Brockley Nick said...

@hh - did you like Tay Do?

Headhunter said...

Yes, I did. Not the absolute best Viet food I've had, but there is a real cluster of Vietnamese restaurants round there, so there are others to explore...

Anonymous said...

How long did the conventional route take HH?

Anonymous said...

Further recommendations include Cay Tre (another Vietnamese but away from the others: on Old Street), The Reliance, an old-school pub with a bit of an edge also on Old Street opposite Cay Tre), Callooh Callay on Rivington Street for cocktails and The Rivington Bar and Grill for reliable British food. Some of those may technically be classed as Shoreditch but no-one much cares for such fine distinctions. Other good shops are City Beverage (independent wine merchant next to Cay Tre) and (mung bean alert) the Food Hall, which does hot and cold take-away food as well as spendy organic groceries (better than the also-expensive Grocery on Kingsland Road).

Ben said...

My last few comments have come up as Anonymous. Chap could get a complex... Anyone else having Blogger problems I wonder?

Headhunter said...

Not sure how long the route took - we didn't really do it the conventional way, we took a train to London Bridge, wandered around Borough Market for 30 mins before we got bored of the crowds and then just walked fairly gently across the river, nattering to each other, then through the City and out to Kingsland Rd, so the only bit of public transport we used was the usual Brockley to London Br bit

Headhunter said...

I've been to Callooh Callay as well, for someone's birthday a year or so ago...

NXG_Resident said...

If you want Vietnamese, you could always look a little closer to home. Deptford is the place to go people. Both Viet Rest on Deptford High Street and Panda Panda on Deptford Broadway serve up a host of authentic, delicious dishes.

Ben said...

The walk from London Bridge to Hoxton Square takes about half an hour. My main source of exercise!

Talking of which, there's a gym just off Curtain Road called Market Sports. Not sure how it compares in terms of facilities/prices with other gyms but it claims to have the only 25m pool in/around The City. (The public pools at Ironmonger Row and London Fields Lido are both bigger but are a bit further off the beaten track.)

Brockley Nick said...

If you want Hoxton Square specifically, then I think Shoreditch High Street station is slightly closer.

Lady said...

I take the conventional route to Vyner Street galleries on a Saturday...the train to LBG then a 20ish minute bus ride (48 from outside the station) takes 40 mins in total usually, even with a wait. Vyner Street is good fun, so is Broadway Market (as much choice and much more chilled than Borough) just a short walk down the canal from there. Think the best stop for both will actually end up being Haggerston. At the other end of Broadway Market is London Fields, for great open air swimming at the Lido, heated don't you know. I can't wait for the weekend overground :))

Brockley Nick said...

@Catman - I wasn't planning on it. I've written a few over the years, but maybe I will...

We're definitely doing Wapping as part of this series, but if there are any other destinations that people think are must-write-abouts, please let me know why you think they deserve it.

I've been thinking about Croydon, just because it gets such a bad rap from so many people. But it does mean I'd have to go there for no other reason...

mg said...

Nick, when you do Wapping swing by Wiltons Music Hall (it's between Wapping and Shadwell). It's a wonderful place with a really varied set of events (theatre, gigs, cinema, cabaret... currently a cracking all-male Pirates of Penzance) or just hang out in the bar (free music on Monday nights!). I volunteer there and it's going to be sooo sweet to get home on the ELL now, no more messing about at bus stops in Peckham in the middle of the night!

Brockley Nick said...

@mg I'm not going to be writing that one - we're going to get it from a Wapping insider. However, I will pass that on, thanks.

Hugh said...

Did you get your hair gelled into a fin, Nick?

Headhunter said...

Anyone noticed that the Javelin trains from Kent announced with great fanfare about a month ago and possible cause for the termination of all trains from Brockers at London Bridge, have already been cut back?

The Evening Standard has said that South Eastern has cut the length of the trains due to excess capacity, passengers have complained that they are too expensive (they cost a third more than standard trains) and are uncomfortable.

Anonymous said...

@Nick - I reckon you need to do NXG as part of the ELL series. I mean it's lovely to get a spin on what's on the line but it'd be nice to see what there is to the great negelected north of brockley ...

NXG_Resident said...

@Anon

A fairly big Sainsburys, Goldsmiths, a few decent boozers, Cafe Crema, the NX Boutique, the crazy hellhole known as The Venue, the serenity of Telegraph Hill, murder hotspot Ludwick Mews, and copious internet 'cafes' and Western Union money transfer joints.

Seriously though, it's not that bad. Just don't go north of Fordham Park and everything will be dandy.

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