Even Brexit can’t seem to put the brakes on Shoreditch. The former rough-and-tumble East London neighborhood has transformed its nineteenth-century mills into work spaces, boutiques, galleries, and bars and is flush with tech money and a young, educated, and diverse crowd. Yet in the shadow of towering glass spires, you’ll also find elegant Georgian homes and quietly crumbling Roman ruins. It’s a tasteful mélange of new Britannia and Old England.
Though it lacks a traditional core, nothing feels more like the vibrant center of Shoreditch than Old Spitalfields Market, which dates back 350 years. High-end British outposts include Belstaff, Rapha, and shoemaker Cheaney, but the place to hunt for souvenirs is among the nearly 70 outdoor stalls in the football-pitch-size, glass-roofed market square. Designer Mei-Hui recently launched The Silk Series – a nod to the district’s woven-trades history – which takes place every Monday through Wednesday, with nearly 30 vendors focused on silk fashion and art. On Thursdays, the theme shifts to antiques; you’d be wise to poke through Malby Maps’ extraordinary collection of vintage cartography.
Stop by housewares designer SCP Ltd.’s home base in Shoreditch to pick up a Welsh woolen throw, a kitschy pillow, or a vintage lamp, desk, or chair to ship home. Its exclusive textiles are true finds as well.