Liverpool Street station and beyond
A step out of the ordinary.
Cross over to Brushfield Street for a whirl around Spitalfields Market, where young fashion designers and craftspeople set up under the Victorian glass ceiling. To the west of the marketplace, a glass platform looks down into a medieval charnel house, while to the east is the elegant spire of Christ Church, a Nicholas Hawksmoor masterpiece.
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St John Bread and Wine sits between two glorious old pubs, made famous by artists like Tracey Emin who used to live nearby. It’s also a top place for a bowl of mussels or roast-game lunch, everything served with local greens and aromatic sauces. Even if it’s busy, you can usually squeeze into a place at the bar.
Wind your way around Fournier, Wilkes and Princelet Streets, where the preserved Georgian townhouses and black-iron gas lamps hark back to Spitalfields’ Huguenot community. When the French Protestant exiles arrived in the 1600s, they worked here as silk weavers, several families to a house. Eventually Irish, Jewish and Bengali communities replaced them, before affluent professionals discovered the neighborhood.
Loop back to Worship Street past the Amazon headquarters and on your right, the residential tower The Stage overlooks the spot where Shakespeare first staged Romeo & Juliet.
The quiet streets north of the station come alive with clubs and cocktail bars at night. But for now, follow them to City Road and the leafy entrance to Bunhill Fields – remarkably calm behind all those double-decker buses. Rest your legs on the bench facing the cenotaph of poet William Blake, and try to recall England’s favorite hymn, Jerusalem.
Text by Ellen Himmelfarb