At the end of Summer I met a group of Makelight photography friends for an East London walk.
We began in Barber & Parlour on Redchurch Street which I recommend as the perfect starting point for exploring this area.
The gritty exterior gives way to a light and bright all day cafe where potted plants abound, alongside wooden furniture, comfy leather sofas and velvet chairs - in other words, it's a dreamy Instagram destination all on it's own.
Come here to photograph the Mid-Century, industrial interior with plenty of natural light to brightly capture your food and drink.
There are four Instagram icons I recommend in the East End. The first three are dotted along Redchurch Street and a bit further north on Boundary Street. The last site is further south, near Spitalfields Market (and it's actually a collection of intersecting streets).
I'll describe the route as we go, but there is a map at the end for more precise directions.
1. The first destination is Labour & Wait on Redchurch Street, just down from Barbour & Parlour. It's known for its jade and bottle-green tiled exterior. Gorgeous on its own, and it makes the perfect background for a portrait.
After you've taken your photos, it's worth a peak inside at their simple but strikingly traditional home wares.
From here travel west on Redchurch Street until it intersects with Boundary Street and you will reach the second destination.
2. Albion is a cafe and shop that's become Insta-famous for it's oversized awning and rustic wooden crates overflowing with colourful, just-pulled-from-the-patch vegetables.
From Albion continue north on Boundary Street to iconic blue and white Paper & Cup.
3. Paper & Cup is a coffee shop for book lovers and the exterior seems to pop up at least once a day in my Instagram feed.
From here, the goal is to find Brick Lane so you can begin your walk south to Spitalfields - where a collection of evocative Georgian row houses awaits!
You can make your way to Brick Lane by first walking east towards Arnolds Circus. If you find the street named Club Row, you can pop into the hidden garden of Rochelle Canteen for a quick coffee in their converted bike shed - it really is charming!
I also like to stop for a snack at Crosstown Donuts which you can find at 157 Brick Lane. They do quirky, pastel iced sourdough donuts in trendy flavour combinations which are a treat. (I like the apricot and lavender best!)
Brick Lane itself is a fascinating walk and you will definitely get images with a grittier vibe. Just keep walking in a straight line south. Look out for the storefront This Shop Rocks - also a cute capture.
Along the way, you also might want to get a few images at the charming indoor / outdoor florist called Grace & Thorn.
Follow Brick Lane past the Old Truman Brewary.
4. Find the cluster of streets named Fournier Street, Princelet Street and Wilkes Street.
This quiet residential area is lovely to take your time photographing. The architecture is always beautiful and has an especially haunted, wintry feel. It must be the heavy wooden shutters and smokey, muted colours: aubergine, hunter green, battleship grey and stormy navy blue. In December lots of the doors have old fashioned Christmas wreathes ... it really looks so perfect!
It's a historical wonderland, and I'm always astounded how this area - on the doorstep of London's financial centre - has remained so exquisetly preserved and intact.
If you want to continue on your photo walk, you're perfectly positioned to explore Spitalfields Market which is full of interesting shops, cafes, and restaurants.
You can also find a street called Artillery Lane. It's a moody, dark Dickensian-feeling narrow street that retains its atmosphere, even on a sunny day. The area has become dotted with some trendy shops and higher end places for food like a little Ottolenghi. It also brings you nearer to Liverpool Street Station if you're getting the tube.
You can wind your away around to the Denis Severs's House at 18 Folgate Street. The exterior has recently become another popular Instagram scene - especially when it's festooned with boughs of holly at Christmas!
If you take this walk, I'd love to know your thoughts and see some of your photos on Instagram. You can tag your posts #wanderforawhile so I can see your images.
If you have other favourites in the East End, I'd love to hear all about them in the comments below.
Please use the button to generate a map of the above route for your London Instagram adventure in Shoreditch and Spitalfields!