I was recently asked by non-profit UK-Japan Learning Net to guide a group of Japanese students around East London, and give them a flavour of our multicultural city.
I want to share with you the route we took, because it’s one of my favourite walks around London, and I hope that you get the chance to experience it too.
London – Multicultural and Diverse
Why talk this journey? Because you can walk from the biggest banks to the smallest market stalls in 10 minutes. You can see how London changes from smart suits to street art as you cross the street. You can meet trendy London hipsters and market stall owners from Pakistan. Here’s the route on Google Maps
Liverpool Street Station
Start on the edge of the financial district at Liverpool Street Station. Walk to the Royal Bank of Scotland, and think about all the Government money they’ve used up. Don’t dally too long, or they may ask you for your spare change.
Head right into Spitalfields Market. Grab some ice cream, or gelato if you like. Browse the market stalls and chat the owners. Find out where they are from. We even found one from London! Hard to believe, but true. See if you can too.
Cross Commercial St, and notice the difference. You are much more likely to see a tattoo and a beard that a suit around here. Find the street art in Dray Walk, then take a right and you are on the world-famous Brick Lane.
Here you’ve got about one million Indian restaurants to see. Some will be Pakistan influenced, some Bangladesh, but all will have some one out side trying to get you inside. Top tip – you can get a starter, a main, any naan bread or rice and a bottle of wine for £10 at almost any restaurant here, if you haggle. Don’t tell them I told you. It’s a pretty great deal, and I’ve found the food to be generally fine.
Turn off Brick Lane at the end of it and walk back towards Bishopsgate Street via Wentworth Street. If you are lucky, there will be a really cheap, local clothes market going on here. Perhaps you can buy a cheap souvenir – I found I love London T-shirts for £3!
Gherkin and home!
If you have time, make sure you take a quick detour to visit the famous Gherkin building – 30 St Mary’s Axe, and then head back to Liverpool Street Station. And there you have it – a diverse and multicultural city walk in about 2 hours. My guests certainly seemed to enjoy it!
“The students enjoyed your tour and like you (Richard)!”
Sachiyo Nomura, Associate Professor
Faculty of Business Administration
From the students: “I had a precious experience that I have never had in Japan” “Friendly! “Lovely!” Don’t believe me? Here it is on a funny vine video.
If you’d like to work with me for this tour, please get in touch through the contact page.