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Best Things To Do In Bethnal Green – From A Local!

Bethnal Green is one of London’s trendiest enclaves and there are many great things to do here! I’m a Bethnal Green local (even though I left London many years ago), and whenever I come back here it’s like I never left home.

This is true East London – unpretentious, a true mix of nationalities, a bit run down in parts yet unapologetically chic and hip and full of soul and warm people. There is a great vibe here and there are always new trendy places popping up.

Whether you’re heading to Bethnal Green for the day or you’ve just moved to the area here are all the best things to do in Bethnal Green!

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E. Pellicci Cafe

Known by cockneys everywhere as the best greasy spoon in East London hands down. Located on Bethnal Green Road, Pellici Cafe has been run by an Italian family for generations, and Nev and his family are just wonderful.

Pellici’s is also a bit of a hotspot for famous Londoners to pop in for a brekky – which you’ll notice with all the signed photographs of celebrities on the walls.

Danny Dyer and half of the Eastenders crew have dined here (our Patsy Palmer was a Bethnal Green girl born and bred so before she set off for greener pastures in Malibu she was frequently here), and even those pesky Kray Twins used to frequent this gaff back in the day.

Pellici’s gets insanely busy on weekends with queues coming out the door, so try to get here early to get a spot inside! Go for the full English Breakfast, you won’t be disappointed! Prices are very reasonable and the staff are very friendly.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium located close to Brick Lane on Bethnal Green Road was London’s original cat cafe and is a great place for cat and animal lovers!

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is themed over two different floors and the gorgeous cats here are all rescue cats! Have afternoon high tea or just pop in for a coffee and cake and enjoy stroking the cats here.

The admission fee is £15 for 90 minutes and then you pay for your food and drink on top. It’s recommended to book in advance as it can get quite busy!

Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters

Located right next to the famous Columbia Road Flower Market, Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters is a great place to go for some great Colombian Coffee!

Two Colombian brothers started this coffee shop and they now have several cafes across London!


Museum Of Childhood / Young V&A

Previously known as the V&A Museum Of Childhood, the Young V&A as it is now known is a great place to take the kids and adults who want to take a trip down memory lane! Admire the impressive collection of toys, from Old Victorian toys to more modern toys.

There are lots of toys to play with and many interactive displays, so it makes a great place to visit if the weather isn’t on your side.

Entrance is free and there are often events held here. The Museum Of Childhood is located on Cambridge Heath Road close to Bethnal Green tube station.

Currently the Young V&A is closed for restoration but will be open again in Summer 2023!

The Royal London Hospital Museum

Located just down the road from Bethnal Green in Whitechapel is The Royal London Hospital. Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant Man” lived and died here at The Royal London Hospital, and in the adjacent museum you can see a full-size replica of his skeleton.

The Royal London Hospital Museum is open from 10 am-4 pm Tuesdays through to Fridays. Entrance is free to visit but donations are appreciated. 

Jack The Ripper Tour

Whitechapel is the infamous place where Jack the Ripper killed most of his victims. The Jack the Ripper walking tours are educational and interesting and will show you where the murders occurred. 

The Jack the Ripper Walking Tour is a great way to learn about the history of Whitechapel. Tours cost £10 per person and start at 7 pm each night.


Sunday is without a doubt the best day to explore the local markets around Bethnal Green. There are several famous markets nearby all open on Sundays, including:

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road is a charming street that is a must-visit when in Bethnal Green.

Whilst you can visit Columbia Road on any day of the week and browse the many independent shops here, the outdoor Columbia Road Flower Market only runs on Sundays from 8 am-3 pm so this is the best time to visit.

columbia road flower market Bethnal Green

On Sundays Columbia Road is transformed into a stunning oasis of flowers! This is London’s most popular flower market and is definitely something you can’t miss.

columbia road flower market

Prices here are very reasonable, get here early so you don’t miss out on the best flowers and plants!

columbia road flower market best things to do in Bethnal Green

Also make sure to stop by in one of the cafes or bakeries as well as the cute artisan boutique shops in between browsing for flowers!

columbia road flower market   

The Birdcage Pub garden is a good place to stop off afterwards for a pint if it’s a sunny day!

Old Spitalfields Market

Old Spitalfields Market is one of London’s trendiest markets, filled with upmarket boutique stores open daily. However make sure to visit here on a Sunday when there’s a great atmosphere!

Brick Lane

Located on the famous Brick Lane, which is a 15 minute walk from Bethnal Green tube station, Brick Lane Market is a great place to visit on a Sunday.

brick lane Bethnal Green

There is a really lively atmosphere down here as people browse the market stalls in search of all sorts of weird and wonderful bargains.

Stop off in one of the many cafes on Brick Lane afterwards, head to the famous Beigel shops, or cross off that bucket-list item of having a curry on Brick Lane aka: ‘The Curry Mile!’. Brick Lane is the most famous area in London to go for a curry!

The largest community in this part of East London is the South Asian and Bengali community.

As a result there are many fantastic curry houses on Brick Lane and the neighbouring streets serving excellent Indian and Bengali cuisine at reasonable prices. Many of the restaurants are fairly small and basic, but the food is good!

Bear in mind the staff standing outside the restaurants will all be trying their best to get you to eat in their restaurant and they are very persuasive so don’t feel like you have to eat at the first curry house you come across! Have a browse around first!


Being a melting pot of different cultures, Bethnal Green has long had a vibrant mix of rich cuisines. And due to its location it is also very close to the restaurants of Shoreditch and even Liverpool Street, meaning you’ll always be able to find the exact cuisine and type of restaurant you’re after.

East London is full of great restaurants, from humble ones to Michelin Starred ones. 

As a local I would often enjoy the many restaurants in and around Bethnal Green. Here are a few of my favourites:

Indian Food:

Whilst many visitors to London’s East End will love to eat on Brick Lane as walking down the famous ‘Curry Mile’ is a really exciting experience, locals often prefer to visit the curry houses just off Brick Lane such as the no-frills and inexpensive Tayyabs just off Whitechapel Road that serves fantastic food.

For something a little more upmarket head to the popular Dishoom restaurant on Boundary Street, Shoreditch. Dishoom serves upscale Indian street food in a very impressive setting and pays homage to Bombay’s elegant Iranian cafes.

Dishoom is frequently voted as one of the best restaurants in East London. They have great breakfast, lunch and dinner options, so feel free to go whenever you fancy!

Latino Food:

For some delicious Peruvian food visit Andina in Shoreditch.

Alternatively, the nearby Sushisamba rooftop restaurant in Liverpool Street also serves great Latino and Japanese food fused together, with an incredible view of The Gherkin!

Where To Stay In Bethnal Green

My favourite boutique hotel to stay at near Bethnal Green is New Road Hotel in neighbouring Whitechapel.

Over 10 years ago three local brothers bought this building, which was a former textile factory. They completely renovated it and turned it into the stylish boutique hotel New Road Hotel.

The building holds a real significance for them as their father worked in that very factory in the 1960’s after he left Bangladesh and moved to London!

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Saturday 25th of February 2023

This article offers a lovely unique perspective on the area that is both informative and engaging!