Updated: May 18, 2021
How is life in Aldgate? Answering questions such as, is it a great place to live, how is the ambiance, what’s the area known for, top places to visit and much more!
Aldgate is one of the oldest parts of London. In fact, it was one of the seven gates of the London Wall which border the original City of London. Aldgate was the gate for East London and it was the only gate that didn’t charge an entrance fee. Hence, the name ‘Alegate’ which means ‘open to everybody’. Today, Aldgate is nestled in Central East London, making it a part of Zone 1. Being one of the oldest areas, Aldgate is also home to some significant London attractions.
The most common stereotype East London has is probably “gritty and rough”. While that is not necessarily wrong, East London has been undergoing a lot of rebuilding. Aldgate is now an office-heavy area with quite a bit of school and university. Alongside that, tons of residential buildings start to be built as well. Aldgate is a very well connected area to some of the most significant areas and places in London such as Bank, Liverpool Street, and London Bridge and this might be the reason for its increasing popularity as a residential place.
Aldgate is a creative place rich in various entertainment, nightlife, restaurants, cafes, markets. Making it a ‘hubspot’ for young people - both students and professionals. You can have both a fancy and hipster experience here. For the former, take an example of the fine dining, afternoon tea, Sunday roast, Sunday brunch, etc available at Searcys, The Gherkins. For a hippier experience, consider visiting the Omescape - an escape room, and Brick Lane markets on Sunday whereby you can find various markets.
It’s not rare for ‘up and coming’ things to originate from East London nowadays.
We’ll continue talking about more places to see and visit later on.
Best places to visit in or near Aldgate and Aldgate East
1. The Whitechapel Gallery
Address: 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX
Opening Times: Mon, CLOSED. Tue-Sun, 11 am - 6 pm.
Contact: 020 7522 7888
The Whitechapel Gallery is known internationally for its modern and contemporary art. It has held art from some of the most notable artists such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pullock, Richard Long, and much more. But they also have beautiful galleries, exhibitions, artist commissions, collection displays, historic archives, education resources, and inspiring art courses. There is no admission fee to enter the gallery.
WFF Tips: The Whitechapel Gallery also has a lovely cafe to dine and drink. Look at their menu and opening times here!
2. Bricklane markets
Address: Brick Ln, London E1 6QR. (Make sure to check the exact market's opening time).
Opening Times: Mon-Fri, CLOSED. Sat, 11 am - 6 pm. Sun, 10 am - 5 pm.
It consists of five different markets - The Sunday UpMarket, The Vintage Market, The Boiler House, The Team Rooms, and The Backyard Market. Each market specifies different things. You can expect a wide range of markets from vintage markets to street food. What needs to be noted is that not all the markets are open on weekdays. So, make sure to check the opening times before you plan your visit!
WFF Tips: The best time to visit is on a Sunday around 12 pm - 3 pm
3. Jack The Ripper tour
Address: Multiple, click here for more information
Opening Times: Usually, it starts at 7 pm
Contact: 020 8530 8443
Based on history’s (possibly) most famous serial killer that identity is still mysterious until today, this tour has been operating since 1982. The story does not only interest a lot of Londoners or historians but also people from all over the world with all sorts of interest. Their tour guides are beyond ordinary storytellers - they are internationally recognised authors. Grab a friend and experience the thrill yourselves!
Book your ticket here!
4. Dennis’ Severs House
Address: 18 Folgate St, Spitalfields, London E1 6BX
Opening Times: Mon, 12 pm -1:15 pm, 5 pm - 9 pm. Tue, CLOSED. Wed, 5 pm-9 pm. Thurs, CLOSED. Fri, 5pm - 9 pm. Sat, CLOSED. Sun, 12 pm - 3:15 pm.
This is a place where time stands still in the 18th century. Located just a street away from Spitalfield market, Dennis Severs House is a ‘still-life drama’. It brings you into what life would have been like inside for a family of Huguenot silk weavers. People who have been here said that it’s not just like visiting a museum but it magically really takes them back in time as if they are living there and then.
Dennis Severs House is one kind of attraction in the hustle and bustle of London. Book your visit and immerse yourself in this piece of art!
5. Bank of England Museum.
Address: Bartholomew Lane, London, EC2R 8AH
Opening Times: Currently, online only (They hope to be back welcoming visitor early 2022)
Contact: 020 3461 5545
Established in the 17th century, it holds the history of golds, banknotes, and other artifacts regarding the Bank. It was founded by The King and Queen of the time, William and Mary, who were the two stockholders. The bank’s motto is to ‘promote the public Good and Benefit of our People’. Although it originated as a private bank that would act as a banker to the Government, today, it has transformed into the UK’s central bank.
Click here to read about their online collections!
There are two tube stations in the area, Aldgate East and Aldgate Station. Aldgate has a Circle and Metropolitan line while Aldgate East has a District and Hammersmith & City line. Both stations are one stop away from Liverpool Street station where you can go pretty much anywhere around the city and beyond.
Tower Hill, Tower Gateway and Shadwell stations are also nearby. Here, you can access lines that are not in Aldgate East or Aldgate:
Tower Hill: Circle and District line
Tower Gateway: Dockland Light Railway (DLR)
Shadwell: The Overground and DLR
For more information and details regarding the different lines, click here.
There are many buses running from, between, and to Aldgate and Aldgate East. Most importantly, a lot of the buses run directly to central London. Some examples include bus numbers 15, 115, 135.
To find your nearest bus stop, click here.
Places to eat/cafes
1. Emilia’s Pasta
Address: 77 Alie Street, Aldgate, London, E1 8NH
Opening Times (Temporary): Mon–Thurs 5 pm - 10 pm. Fri–Sun 12 pm - 10 pm.
Contact: 020 7702 9944
If you love good pasta, Emilia’s is the place to go. It has been critically acclaimed as one of the best places to eat pasta in London by both Timeout London and Evening Standard. Whether you fancy a quick lunch or dinner with wine, Emilia’s serves all.
Click here to see what more they offer!
2. Pizza Union
Address: Aldgate: 29 Leman Street, London, E1 8PT. Spitalfield: 25 Sandy’s Row, London, E1 7HW.
Opening Times: Mon-Sun, 11 am-11 pm
Pizza Union is definitely that one go-to pizza place for people of all ages and occupations. What more can you ask other than a good stone-baked pizza at an affordable price, innit? Luckily, Pizza Union is also available in a lot of other places (i.e. Dalston, Hoxton, and King’s Cross).
WFF Tips: Pizza Union also has some amazing deserts like Gelato and Sicilian Cannoli!
Address: 9 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1DU
Opening Times: Mon-Sun, 7 am-10 pm
Grounded serves a lot of different menus. If you ask us, it’s that ideal homey brunch place! Think about Smoked Salmon & Poached Egg on Toast, Shakshuka, French Toast, and Buttermilk pancake. Grounded also serves one of the best coffee in East London. Their coffee is freshly roasted each morning at a local East London coffee roasting house.
WFF Tips: Their Vegan Pancake is for the win!
Aldgate: Portsoken Pavilion, Aldgate Square, EC3N 1AF (Currently, CLOSED)
Brick Lane: 135 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB
Aldgate: Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm (Currently, CLOSED)
Brick Lane: Mon-Fri, 9 am - 5 pm.
Sat-Sun, 9 am - 6 pm
Contact: 020 7998 1388
Kahaila’s tag line is “for anyone who wants to belong, regardless of who they are” and they have been doing a really good job at manifesting that in their operation.
However, what makes Kahaila special is that it’s beyond a cafe - it’s a charity. They want to address issues that affect people locally, nationally and beyond. Some of the efforts Kahaila does is supporting independent businesses and social enterprises across London by getting their range of cakes, pastries and sweet treats.
Address: 83 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX.
Opening Times: Mon-Sun, 7 am - 8 pm.
Contact: 020 7377 1010
Founded back in 2012, Exmouth was established by an unbeatable combo for a Cafe - a coffee specialist and a chef. They started Exmouth because of a shared passion and values through culinary. Today, Exmouth creates various cakes, pastries, quiches and other culinary dishes that are perfect for either brunch or tea time later in the afternoon. Or, coffee time! Exmouth is one of the few coffee shops in London that roast its coffee in-house.
Address: 37 Shad Thames, London, SE1 2NJ.
Opening Times: Mon-Fri, 7am-6pm. Sat-Sun, 8am-6pm.
Contact: 020 7407 0000
As its name, this coffee shop was established in a 19th-century watchhouse of St.Mary Magdalene’s Church Graveyard on Bermondsey Street. Since then, Watchhouse has grown into seven different locations. The closest one to Aldgate being at Tower Bridge and Spitalfields.
For those of you who buy coffee with craft and quality in mind, this your place. Watchhouse dedicates itself to transparency, ethical coffee & food supply chains and sourcing seasonally from the best producers around the world. Not only that, but they also provide top-notch coffee beans, a home brewing guide and equipment to ensure you could have good coffee daily!
7. The Breakfast Club
Address: 12-16 Artillery Ln, Spitalfields, London E1 7LS
Opening Times: Mon-Sun, 8am-4pm.
If we’re thinking about breakfast and brunch that involves pancakes, bacon and eggs, The Breakfast Club is one of the first places on the list. In fact, they are best known for their weekend brunches that are served until 5 pm - the queue proves it all. Therefore, plan well and book your spot beforehand!
However, The Breakfast Club is also a lively place to visit in the evening with its bar and drinks.
WFF Tips: The Breakfast club also has its own separated bars scattered throughout London - The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town (Spitalfields), Dr. Kluger's Olde Towne Tavern (Canary Wharf), Call Me Mr. Lucky (Southwark), The Kings of Ladies Man (Battersea).
8. Old Spitalfield market (Established in 1638, it is one of the oldest markets there is in London)
Address: 16 Horner Square, London, E1 6EW
Opening Times: Mon-Wed, Fri,10am-8pm. Thurs, 8am-6pm. Sat, 10am-6pm. Sun 10am-5pm. These are the opening times of the market not the individual stores.
The Old Spitalfield market is one of the oldest markets in London - roughly has been standing around 350 years. Built with Victorian architecture it’s now home to various food & drinks, jewelry, fashion, etc stalls and shops.
Either you want to grab a quick bite at lunch break on weekdays or looking for a place to eat while hanging out with your friends, Spitalfield caters all.
Aldgate is also a place full of some of the best nightlife experiences - pubs, bars and clubs.
1. The Castle
Address: The Castle, 44 Commercial Road, London E1 1LN.
Opening Times: Sun-Wed 4pm-12am, Thu 4pm-1am, Fri-Sat, 4pm-3am.
Contact: 020 7481 2361
The Castle is divided into three different floors. One floor is dedicated to a pub and two for music space - the ground floor and top floor. The pub itself is a cozy space perfect to hang out and chill while having a drink with your friends or colleagues. On the ground floor, you can find notable DJs blasting unique music. Some DJs that have played there include Ben UFO and Skream (pictured), house and techno stalwarts like Lee Foss, Jane Fitz and Evil Eddie Richards, and drum and bass luminaries such as Doc Scott, D Bridge and Alix Perez. While on the top floor, it’s more about live music and comedy nights.
Click here to see what they have coming up!
2. Leman Street Tavern
Address: 31 Leman St, London E1 8PT
Opening Times: Mon-Sat, 11 am - 11 pm. Sun 12pm-10pm.
Contact: 020 3437 0001
Leman Street Tavern has five areas - The Snug, Lounge Bar, Back Bar, The Pass and The Chambers. You can have a casual Saturday Brunch and Sunday Roast or host private meetings, parties, or even a small wedding reception. They pride themselves on both the wide range of beers and wine - think about 30 whiskies dominating one corner of the bar and another 200 wines displayed, as well as hearty British classic dishes. Click here to see the menus and here to book a table.
WFF Tips: Stop by their beer garden if you get a chance! Don’t worry, it’s heated and covered - very considerate of the British weather.
3. The Hoops and Grapes
Address: 47 Aldgate High St, London EC3N 1AL
Opening Times: Mon, 5pm-11pm. Tue-Sat, 12pm-11pm. Sun, 5pm-11pm.
Contact: 020 7481 4583.
Sometimes, you just want a traditional pub with classic pub food where you can relax comfortably. People who have visited love the (especially) wide range of menus, be it their food, beers, gins, and wines it offers. Hoops and Grapes is one of the lucky pubs that didn’t get destroyed by the Great Fire in 1666. It is one of the few pubs left with original timber-framed buildings to survive from this period. Perhaps, that’s what gives Hoops and Grapes a special vibe.
WFF Tips: Don’t forget to ask for their cask ale if you’re a fan of unfiltered beers!
4. Jin Bo Law
Address: 14TH Floor Dorsett City, 9 Aldgate High Street, London EC3N 1AH
Opening Times: Mon-Wed, 5pm-11 pm. Thurs-Sun, 12 pm - 11 pm.
Contact: 020 3947 2582
This one is for the wilder night - nope, we didn’t just say that. They aim to make your evening a remarkable one through entertainment, Asian-influenced cocktails, and other mixology. Jin Bo Law is one of the best sky bars in London. It is located on the 14th floor of Dorsett City Hotel and it is blessed with the view of some of the city’s most popular skyscrapers such as The Shard, the Walkie Talkie, the Gherkin and more.
WFF Tips: The space is also available for private hire.
If we’re talking about landmarks, Aldgate is lucky to be very close to a lot of some of the most notable ones the city has. Here are the top three you should visit:
1. Tower of London
Opening Times: Wed-Sun, 10am-6pm (last admission 16:30).
Address: Tower of London, London, EC3N 4AB.
Contact: 020 3166 6000
Possibly one of the most popular buildings in London, if not the world, the Tower of London has held a significant role in history. It has served the City as a lot of things - a fortress, royal palace, infamous prison, and much more. It is located just by the Thames River and near the iconic Tower Bridge. The Tower of London also contains the oldest building in the city - The White Tower, which was established in the 1070s by William the Conqueror.
Today, the Tower of London is both one of the tourist’s and Londoners' favourite attractions. It is definitely a place to visit at least once in a lifetime. Click here for more details.
2. Tower Bridge
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London, SE1 2UP
Opening Times: Mon-Sun, 9:30am-6pm (last admission at 5pm)
Contact: 020 7403 3761
The biggest misunderstanding about this bridge is that a lot of people call it ‘London bridge’. However, it’s not. London bridge is a couple of bridges away from Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge has become a world-famous bascule bridge since its establishment back in 1876. Its Neo-Gothic architecture and lifting central sections are the major attractions. It took more than 400 people to build during the time spent of eight years. Today, the bridge doesn’t only serve as a landmark but also a functional bridge that is used by more than 40,000 people daily.
You can also get inside Tower Bridge and walk through a glass floor between the two towers. Find more information here.
WFF Tips: It’s an amazing place to catch the sunset!
3. The Monument
Address: Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
Contact: 020 7403 3761
Two of the most remarkable times London had undergone happened during the 17th century. Firstly, the Great Plague in the summer of 1665 killed 15% of the population at that time. Secondly, The Great Fire of 1666 that last for 4 days and destroyed ⅘ of the City. Miraculously, only six people were claimed dead by the incident but more than 10,000 private dwellings were destroyed. Hence, The Monument was built on the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill which is 61 metres away from the spot where the fire first emerged - Pudding Lane, in remembrance of The Great Fire.
The Monument is now a place that attracts the interest of people from all over the world. Although you have to climb no less than 300 steps up, you’ll have an amazing panoramic view of London from the top of The Monument. Click here to see the ticket prices.
WFF facts: The height of The Monument is the distance from where the fire first starts to where The Monument is.
If we could sum up Aldgate in one pro and con, it would go something like this:
Pro: Overall, Aldgate is a well-connected area that has been going through a lot of development. Be it office spaces, entertainment, or residential buildings. It is a lovely area noted for the mix of both the old and new.
Con: It could be slightly overwhelming for some as it is a busy area - there are a lot of offices, schools and unis. The hustle and bustle in Aldgate could either create pressure or motivation.
So, what do you think about Aldgate?