Bethnal Green is a funky, fun neighborhood in East London, not too far from Central London.  Conveniently located on the Central line of the Underground, sandwiched between Shoreditch, Dalston and Wapping, it is a mix of working class families, hipsters and young professionals.  Despite its close proximity to the polished Shoreditch area, Bethnal Green still has a little more grit and edge to it, probably like how Shoreditch was five years ago.  Granted, you still have to have a large bank account to afford to buy a flat, but that’s true of all of London nowadays.  There are museums, restaurants, bars, parks.  Let’s explore Bethnal Green!

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Regents Canal:  On the east side of Bethnal Green lies Regents Canal, the century old water way that snakes through all of London.  Lined with the colorful canal boats, it has paths alongside, making it a great place for a walk and to get some peace of quiet in the hustle and bustle of East London.

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Paradise Row: Right next to the Tube stop, Paradise Row comprises of a handful of restaurants and bars, situated under the arches of the elevated train rails.  This is a great place to grab lunch, an afternoon drink, or do some serious nighttime partying.  There’s the Japanese Canteen for inexpensive Japanese, Mother Kelly’s for some great craft beer, or the fantastic Mission, which has probably the best selection of unique Californian wines in all of London.  There is also ample outdoor space, with lots of picnic tables for some al fresco dining and drinking.

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Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood: Another free museum in London worth exploring.  Obviously geared more towards children and families, it is still worth a walk through.  There is a fascinating photography exhibit by Yvonne De Rosa and a showcase of some of the UK most intricate doll houses, if you are into that type of thing.Town Hall Hotel:  A fun boutique hotel in the heart of Bethnal Green.  Close to Paradise Row and V&A Museum of Childhood, it is a great place to stay, or simply visit for some dinner or drinks.  The hotel holds the Typing Room, which has become another hit for cult restauranteur Jason Atherton of the Social restaurant group.  Expect relatively expensive Modern British cuisine with a few twists.  If you are in the mood for some fancy cocktails, the Town Hall also has the Peg + Patriot, a mixology destination.  Rooms at the Town Hall start at around £180/night.

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Victoria Park:  Probably one of the best features of Bethnal Green is the fact that it borders the massive Victoria Park.  Ponds, lawns, running paths, cricket fields and football pitches.  London spent millions in renovations in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, giving Victoria Park a serious facelift.  During the Holiday season, it also holds Winterville, the counterpart to the hectic, touristy Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

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The Florist Arms:  I just wrote about this pub here, but it is worth mentioning.  Good draft beers, solid pizzas and tasty gluten-free options, it is a great place to pop in for a pint or grab a quick lunch after a walk through Victoria Park.

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