Greenwich Park overlooking Canary Wharf, two very safe places to visit in East London.

Is East London Safe? Advice, Tips & Things To Do When Visiting

Thinking about visiting East London? Read on for the BEST info!

East London is one of the most vibrant areas in the UK capital, but is it safe for tourists to visit? This London Borough is a very popular place, with famous trendy spots such as Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Greenwich.

But there are certain neighbourhoods in East London that have a bad reputation for crime, and it is such a huge region of London that it can be hard to know which places you should avoid.

As a Brit who visits London several times each year, I have plenty of experience when it comes to exploring hidden gems in East London and knowing where to go and where to avoid.

In this blog post, I’ll be taking a look in detail at which parts of East London are safe to visit, top things to do when visiting and the best places to stay in the region as well.

Is East London Safe?

So, is East London safe to visit? Well, it all depends on which area of East London you’re focusing on.

Overall, yes East London is a safe place to visit and you shouldn’t be concerned about crime when there. If you stick to the main boroughs that are popular with tourists then you’ll have nothing to worry about.

The region is a very large area within Greater London, starting in Shoreditch and covering several boroughs, ending in North Ockendon which is the furthest east within the city.

In total the area of East London has around 2 million inhabitants. It’s a vibrant area known for it’s multiculturality and different ethnic backgrounds. There are a lot of culturally rich places that are really interesting and worth a visit.

The River Thames in East London.
The River Thames in East London.


Unsafe Areas of East London

There are a few neighbourhoods in East London that are notorious for having high crime rates and are definitely best avoided when visiting London as a whole, including the following places:

Hackney

Hackney has a very high crime rate, with thousands of street crimes being reported each month.

On average it has a 14% higher crime rate than London as a whole, and a 30% higher crime rate than the rest of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Tower Hamlets

Another borough within East London well known for having a high crime rate is Tower Hamlets. This is the poorest, most deprived borough in all of London, so it’s no surprise that it has so many crimes happening here.

Newham

Newham is also a poor borough that has an extremely high crime rate and is best avoided. It features in the top ten of most dangerous boroughs in the whole of London.

It is reported to have 33.8 crimes per annum, which is an extremely large amount compared to the rest of London and the UK.

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    Safest Areas in East London

    Okay, that’s the bad parts of East London you should definitely avoid, but what are the safest boroughs? Let’s take a look at three of the safest areas worth visiting in East London:

    Greenwich

    The Royal Borough of Greenwich is one of the nicest areas in all of London and has a crime rate that’s on average with the rest of London.

    Greenwich feels like a totally different place compared to the rest of London, it feels like it’s own separate city and has a similar vibe to Oxford or Cambridge.

    I’ve visited Greenwich several times and always feels relatively safe – it’s a top choice when visiting East London.

    Canary Wharf

    Also known as the City of London, Canary Wharf is the business heart of the city and a very safe place within East London.

    It’s crime rate is below average compared with the rest of the city, and is a thriving place full of apartment blocks, restaurants and cafes.

    Shoreditch

    One of the trendiest places in all of London, Shoreditch is also one of the safest regions in East London too.

    The crime rate here is higher than the average for the whole of London, but not nearly as high as other regions in East London.


    Best Things to Do in East London

    Now that you know about where to visit in East London, let’s take a look at some of the best things to do when visiting:

    📍 Visit Greenwich

    As mentioned, Greenwich is a lovely part of London. It takes around 30 minutes to get there on the train from London Bridge but it is definitely worth the trip.

    There’s plenty of restaurants and bars in Greenwich, as well as it’s famous market and of course Greenwich Park, which is a huge place and ideal for a leisurely stroll.

    Greenwich Park is a beautiful area that offers stunning views of the city skyline, especially Canary Wharf. It’s amazing to see the skyline at night as well.

    Greenwich Park with Canary Wharf on the horizon.
    Greenwich Park with Canary Wharf on the horizon.

    Greenwich is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Royal Observatory and the Prime Meridian Line which is a really cool place to experience.

    The Prime Meridian Line is the geographical reference point for everywhere else in the world and has a longitude of zero degrees.

    You can also see the famous Cutty Sark while in Greenwich. The Cutty Sark is the famous historical ship that was built back in 1869 and was one of the fastest ships of it’s time.

    The Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich, London.
    The Cutty Sark ship in Greenwich, London.

    📍 Check out trendy Shoreditch

    Probably one of the most popular places in East London to visit is Shoreditch. This is known as the trendy part of London and it’s full of hipster cafes, bars and restaurants full of colourful art.

    Shoreditch is also known for it’s street graffiti. Everywhere you walk in Shoreditch you’ll see walls covered in some stunning street art, and there’s every chance you’ll see some art being created whilst there as well.

    Some street art graffiti in Shoreditch, London.
    Some unique street art in Shoreditch, London.

    📍 Go for a curry in Brick Lane

    Situated in the East End of London is the famous street known as Brick Lane. Here you will find countless Indian, Bangladeshi and other international restaurants as well as more street art, speciality shops and historical sites.

    Brick Lane dates back to the 1500’s and over the many years a lot of Jewish and Bengali immigrants settled in this East End region from the 19th century onwards, and you can still see traces of this rich history today.

    If you visit Brick Lane then it really is worth visiting one of the many restaurants it has, especially if you’ve never tried an authentic curry before – just don’t order anything too spicy!

    📍 Eat Well at Old Spitalfields Market

    Located in Shoreditch, Old Spitalfields market is a massive indoor food and clothing market, and is one of the best markets in all of London in my opinion.

    London is full of really fascinating food markets, from the touristy and often crowded Camden Market, to the historic Borough Market.

    Old Spitalfields Market has everything you could possibly want from a London market, you are absolutely spoilt for choice with countless food stalls offering all types of fantastic international cuisine.

    👉 Pro Tip: I recommend visiting the market during a weekday, which is less busy compared to weekends when the place is totally bustling with hordes of hungry shoppers.

    I visited Old Spitalfields Market on a Saturday recently and couldn’t believe how busy it was!

    The absolutely huge Old Spitalfields market.
    The absolutely huge Old Spitalfields market.

    📍 Check out some Art at Whitechapel Art Gallery

    One of London’s most prized art galleries is the Whitechapel Art Gallery. This gallery is based on Whitechapel High street (right next to Whitechapel underground station) and is not too far away from Brick Lane.

    This is a public gallery meaning it is completely free to visit to the public. It’s much more intimate compared with some of London’s other popular galleries like the Tate Modern, but this makes it all the more special.

    It is home to some really amazing art exhibitions from around the world and the building it is housed in dates back to 1901. It’s open from 11am to 6pm from Tuesday to Sunday, excluding Bank Holidays.

    The entrance to Whitechapel Art Gallery.
    The entrance to Whitechapel Art Gallery.

    East London FAQs

    Still not confident about visiting East London? Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions people have:

    How to get to East London?

    The best way to get to East London (and the best way to travel in London in general) is to use the London Underground.

    A lot of tourists can be put off by using the underground as one look at a tube map can be confusing to say the least.

    But it’s really not as daunting as it first appears, and you will soon get the hang of the different coloured lines and where to go.

    To reach anywhere in East London then you need to catch a train on the East London Line, which is part of the London Overground system.

    The over ground focuses more on the outskirts of central London and are used by more traditional trains rather than the underground metro trains.

    This covers most of the main places in East London such as Shoreditch High Street, Hoxton, Dalston and more.

    👉 Pro Tip: To make your life easier when using the Underground, I recommend downloading a tube map app on your phone before visiting. This can be really useful to plan your route ahead and will save you a lot of time.

    Catching a tube at a London Underground station.
    Catching a tube at a London Underground station.

    When is the best time to visit East London?

    As with the rest of London, the best time to visit East London would be during any of the summer months if you want to experience the warmest weather when you visit.

    You can expect temperatures to be in the mid 20 degrees Celsius during the summer in London, perhaps over 30 degrees some days too.

    This can be quite a sweltering experience, especially when using the London Underground which can get quite sweaty with no real air conditioning.

    Late spring months such as May and June are good options too, and early autumn such as September is also a good choice and temperatures will be quite mild and won’t be too cold.

    Plus, these months are during the off peak season, so visiting London during these periods you can expect cheaper prices when it comes to flights and accommodation.

    Is East London considered a posh area?

    No, East London has never been considered as ‘posh’ or a rich part of London. It’s always contained some of the poorest areas of London in fact dating back to the 19th century.

    If you want to experience the posh side of London then you need to head to West London, which is home to celebrities, and is considered the glamorous, wealthy part of the city.


    Conclusion: Is East London Safe?

    So that is everything you need to know about East London and safety concerns you may have when visiting.

    The area does contain some parts where the crime rate is high compared to the rest of the city, but this shouldn’t deter you from visiting as it’s one of the most interesting parts of the capital.

    A lot of people may think that London is overrated, but it will always be a fascinating city, with plenty of cheap and hidden gems to discover, such as the lovely Greenwich or trendy Shoreditch.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about why East London is a safe place for tourists and include it in your itinerary for the next time you visit the UK’s capital.

    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using Booking.com
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use Kiwi.com for the best prices on flights

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