Sunday Spitalfields Historic Itinerary: If you’re looking for lovely things to do in Spitalfields on Sunday or you want to explore the East End of London, you’ll love my Sunday Spitalfields Historic Itinerary. The tour includes a visit to Petticoat Lane Market, Old Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane Sunday Market, the Dennis Severs’ House and historic streets in Spitalfields. My dining recommendations feature breakfast at the English Restaurant and Fish and Chips at Poppies. I hope you have a splendid Sunday!
Old Spitalfields Market and Christ Church
- Bag a bargain at Petticoat Lane Market (open 9 am until 2 pm)
- Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the English Restaurant (served from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm)
- Take a tour of the famous Dennis Severs’ House (open 12 noon until 4 pm)
- Admire the historic buildings on Elder Street, Wilkes Street, Fournier Street and Princelet Street (at your leisure)
- Wander along Brick Lane and shop at the Sunday markets (10 am until 5-6 pm)
- Browse the stalls at Old Spitalfields Market (open 10 am until 5 pm)
- Tuck into traditional fish and chips at Poppie’s (open 11 am until 10.30 pm)
Sunday Spitalfields Historic Itinerary Details
Petticoat Lane Market: Bag a bargain at the fashion street market which dates back to the 17th century. Buy reasonably-priced bags, shoes, coats, clothing and fashion accessories. Mum remembers the market from when she was a girl. She bought a coat and jumper last week; she loves a bargain! The market is open on Sunday from 9 am until 2 pm.
Petticoat Lane: Middlesex Street London E1 7JF
English Restaurant: After your shopping spree you’ll be hungry, so you should head to the English Restaurant. Set inside a historic townhouse dating back to 1670, this listed building has an atmospheric and cosy interior. The walls are clad in wood panelling while the floor has salvaged oak from Christ Church Spitalfields. I ate breakfast at the English restaurant in Spitalfields with mum and Homeboy last Sunday. The menu includes a full English breakfast with a vegetarian option along with Porridge and Crumpets. Breakfast is served from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm, and it is advisable to book a table.
English Restaurant: 50-52 Brushfield Street E1 6AG
Dennis Severs’ House: After your hearty breakfast, you can join the queue at 18 Folgate Street. Dennis Severs was an artist who lived in the terraced Georgian House near Spitalfields Market between 1979 and 1999. The property was built in 1724 and has Grade II listed status. Severs created an ‘art installation’ in the ten-room house for an imaginary family of Huguenot Silk Weavers (17th Century French Protestant Refugees). Each room has been staged as though the family members have just left. The tours are conducted in silence by candlelight in groups of approximately ten people. Sunday tours take place from 12 noon until 4 pm with the latest entry at 3.15 pm. No booking is necessary, and the entrance is £10 or £5 for concessions. Tours last approximately 45 minutes. For more information read my Dennis Severs’ House Tour article.
Dennis Severs’ House: 18 Folgate Street, E1 6BX
Historic Street Tour: When you exit the Dennis Sever’s House you can conduct a self-guided tour of the historic streets in the Spitalfields area. Start with Elder Street, which is close by. The houses date back to the early eighteenth century built as one room deep. A Blue Plaque commemorates painter Mark Gertler at 32 Elder Street.
14 Wilkes Street is a Grade II listed building due to it being an important survival from the early 18th-century development of Spitalfields. It was built by Carpenter James Pitman. Wilkes Street (formerly Wood Street) was part of the Wood-Mitchell Estate.
Princelet Street is another beautiful road to admire historic Georgian architecture. It was designated a Conservation area in 1976. A Blue Plaque commemorates textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite at 2 Princelet Street.
Fournier Street has gorgeous townhouses with wooden window shutters. Artists Gilbert and George currently live at number 12.
Gilbert and George 12 Fournier Street
Number 2 Fournier Street was the Minister’s House built by Nicholas Hawksmoor (assistant to Sir Christopher Wren) who designed the beautiful Baroque Christ Church on Commercial Street.
The Ten Bells Pub on Commercial Street was named as a reference to Christ Church only had one bell. It now has twelve bells because it was competing with the St Brides Church in Fleet Street.
Ten Bells Pub
If you have time have a look at Puma Court which is an alley off Commercial Street. You will see the Norton Folgate almshouses with pretty pale green window shutters. Opposite the almshouses are a few houses, one called the Old Barber’s House, and the others were likely lived in by weavers.
Brick Lane Markets: Wander along Brick Lane, and you will discover a mix of Bagel Shops, Curry Houses, Coffee Bars, Vintage Clothing Shops and Market Stalls. Take pictures of the colourful street art painted on the side of buildings, shop shutters and doors. Look out for the iconic Truman Brewery Chimney. On Sundays, you can buy second-hand wares from hawkers, clap your hands to street performers and pick up something tasty to eat from one of the stalls lining the street. The Sunday Market is open from 10 am until 5 pm. The Sunday Up Market at Truman Brewery 91 Brick Lane is open from 10 am until 6 pm. Products for sale include fashion, homeware, gifts and art from designer-makers.
Brick Lane Markets
Old Spitalfields Market: If you want to do more shopping head to Old Spitalfields Market, which is opposite Christ Church. The start of this site operating as a market dates back to 1638 when King Charles awarded the licence. Historically the market sold livestock along with fruit and veg. Today, you can eat street food from permanent vendors and food trucks. The general market sells an array of goods from independent designer-makers including fashion, gifts and homeware. On Thursdays, the antiques and vintage market takes place. The first and second Friday of each month is the Vinyl Market. On Sunday the general market is open from 10 am until 5 pm. You can find toilets on site should you need them. Make sure you take time to look at the Victorian market roof and the original fabric of the building.
Old Spitalfields Market: 16 Horner Square, E1 6EW
Poppie’s Fish and Chips: Stop off at Poppie’s, the traditional fish and chip restaurant on Hanbury Street or the food stand at Old Spitalfields Market. The restaurant’s proprietor is Pat ‘Pop’ Newland who brings you a touch of East End hospitality in his 1950s retro-styled chippie. The walls are covered in memorabilia, and the waitresses are dressed in fifties clothing and the music will have you rocking around the clock! I recently ate a vegetarian pasty, chips and mushy peas, it was delicious, and pops cleared away my dirty dishes afterwards! Poppie’s is open from 11 am until 10.30 pm on Sunday.
Poppies Fish and Chips: 6-8 Hanbury Street E1 6QR
Spitalfields East London Information
Spitalfields is in East London (E1), within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The closest station to Spitalfields is Liverpool Street. Other stations nearby include Shoreditch High Street, Old Street and Moorgate. Spitalfields is named after the Priory of St Mary Spital, a hospital. Building in the vicinity began after the Great Fire of London with around 2000 houses being built by 1700. French Huguenots settled in Spitalfields which created a thriving silk weaving industry from the late 17th century. Waves of immigration have included the Irish, Eastern Europeans and the Baltic Jews and more recently the Bengali community. It’s an exciting place to explore, from the cobbled streets lined with gorgeous Georgian houses and their colourful shutters to the street art and sprawling markets. For more historical information about the area, read the Spitalfields Wikipedia Page. Enjoy your Sunday!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Mum and Homeboy for visiting with me.
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