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