Explore London like a Hipster

Definition: Hipster

Someone who considers themselves ‘trendy’ without trying.*

*definition by me

How do you identify them?

The bushy beard is synonymous with hipster men, you’ll find them sporting a lumberjack shirt or an ironic t-shirt with skinny jeans, and most likely thick rimmed glasses (they will have 20/20 vision but that doesn’t matter). Being hipster is as much about fashion as it is music and interests. They will most likely DJ or know a thing or two about it, and have a vinyl player. They seek shelter in vintage clothes and record shops. November (Movember) is their favourite month of the year. Hipster girls will have an eccentric wardrobe, think 80’s fashion trends, high-waisted stone washed jeans, bright and bold patterned crop tops and oversized shirts. They will carry a metallic or leather backpack, usually holding a multitude of comics or deep and emotive leather bound books.

London hipster
London hipster found on: theguardian.com

So you want to be a hipster?

For a weekend, you can be. My hipster hotspots – none of which are hidden gems by the way (I do occasionally go off-theme) but they are gems, and the areas I’m about to mention are rife with hidden treasures – cover three areas of London. Hipsters dwell in the coolest of haunts; up and coming east London, Shoreditch, the original hipster hub, Camden in north London, and cultural and quirky Brixton in south London.

  1. Shoreditch

Described as up and coming, Shoreditch is the hipster epicentre.

There is always something cool happening in east London, be it a food festival, pop-up bar or music day. Brick Lane brings the buzz, as well as all the Indian food you can eat, with a restaurant at every turn. Every Sunday, throngs of people flood into the street as the market sets up and spills out into adjoining roads. Bric-a-brac, junk from underneath the bed, rusty bicycles and unique handmade accessories and apparel is on display ready for a hipster like you to go buy it. If you want something that is different to add to your IKEA cladded house or Topshop/Man wardrobe, you will find something here to jazz it up.

Then there is the art, hipsters are creative creatures and Shoreditch is plastered in graffiti and street art. Take a tour, or simply wander around and spot the artistic creations and installations for yourself; from Banksy to Shok-1 there are some really prominent street artists dotted around.

Street Art

❤ Hidden Gem Find: Nomadic Community Gardens. Head towards a huge red bridge (you can’t miss it) just off Quaker Street. Walk under it and you’ll find Nomadic Community Gardens. It’s a plot of grassland built up by the community to include chairs, a homemade library, kids play area, fruit and vegetable patches and a huge graffiti wall. People from the community go there to relax, have a coffee, paint, hangout, dance or whatever they fancy. It’s the perfect spot to unwind away from the crowds. It’s only there for a few more months because it’s owned by some planners who haven’t yet started building on it but have allowed the locals to turn it into their garden in the meantime! Pretty cool, right?

Community Gardens

Inside community gardens

  1. Camden Town

You won’t be short of a photography moment here. From the scenery, buildings, eclectic stall collections to of course, the people, hipsters galore, but also a lot of other edgy and downright bizarre types too! Camden is the mecca of all things alternative.

Camden Town

Taking a walk down the street is like a visual assault on your eyes (in a good way), very colourful with large objects coming out of the buildings. Make sure you duck into Camden Market, there is a lot of competition with stalls selling similar items, so that means more competition and a lot of deals to be bartered. There you can deck yourself out with some ironic and bespoke clothes – hipster wardrobe, tick!

Camden market

Stroll along to Camden Lock, it’s affronted by a multitude of bright and cheerful stalls of cuisine, artisan décor and clothing and wander through the cobbled paths that diverge into new and cool settings.

Camden Lock

If you get peckish, Camden food market is your answer. Dozens of international dishes are served up; you want Peruvian ceviche – you got it, a German Bratwurst – no problem. Wash it down by heading up top with views on the market and canal where you’ll see a couple of pubs serving tasty Camden craft beer.

Food market

❤ Hidden Gem Tip: Stroll up Regents Canal, and ‘live it barge’ by having a drink or some brunch on a barge amongst all the quirkiness! Trés hipster.

Psst. Do not forget your camera!

  1. Brixton

South London’s cultural melting pot, and an area of recent regeneration is popping with colour thanks to the strong Boho art scene that has flourished over the years. Head to Brixton Village; crammed with vintage clothes shops, delicatessen, art galleries and quaint eateries. A lot of the restaurants are BYOB (bring your own booze) so saddle yourself up with wine or whatever takes your fancy and take it along with you!

❤ Hidden Gem Tip: New to London? Try out Franco Manca (it’s the original pizzeria) in Brixton Village that offers great value for money raised by its tasty pizzas.

Popups are also popular with the edgy elite, and in January 2015 Pop Brixton was developed, an area made of shipping containers, barrels and planks of wood fashioned into restaurant stalls, chairs and tables. It’s an initiative to support the local community and as well as serving food and alcohol it also puts on special events such as workshops, arts and crafts, and music gigs.  Recently Brixton Bloc opened, a creative community space for locals residents and artists, which puts on music, performance arts and visual arts. It’s just by well know Stockwell Skate Park. I’ve not been to Brixton Bloc but was recommended it by one of the local graffiti artists, so I though it worth mentioning!

Pop Brixton
Pop Brixton
Inside Pop Brixton
Inside Pop Brixton

Evening Escapades

A 1920’s cinema converted into a brilliant music venue, Brixton O2 Academy is housed here. Line up with the stylish swarm and gawk at your favourite Indie band. Or if you’re a hipster type that enjoys electronic music, scour the Electric Brixton website for some killer electro DJ acts. Fancy a more peaceful evening? Sit back and catch an independent film at the Ritzy Cinema. It first opened its doors back in 1911 making it the oldest picture house in South London. Watch the velvet curtains pull back, take in the musty smell, and enjoy your arty pick.

Klangkarussel at Electric Brixton
Klangkarussel at Electric Brixton

There you have my top 3 picks for experiencing hipster life for a weekend in London. I love these areas of London, and I hope you do too! And just to make it perfectly clear, I did this post in jest, I have nothing against hipsters – hey, maybe I am one! 😉

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