Bus Route 25: Bank, Brick Lane and Mile End

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Finance, food and fresh air: starting from Oxford Circus, the 25 bus takes you from the West End to the East End and beyond

  • Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

    Route 25.jpg Starting from Oxford Circus, the 25 bus route heads past St Paul's from where it's a short walk to the Museum of London, then through Bank's busy commercial zone and est to Stratford. After Bank the fun begins: places with colourful histories line funky streets like Brick Lane, world-famous markets bustle, and the route swings by some proper East End boozers along its way. The 25 bus also serves hidden city farms and much-loved green spaces, offering some unexpected tranquility just ten minutes from the City.

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    Grand Café & Bar

    Bank
    Bank is a perfect gateway to east London. Defined by its rich history and centuries of commerce, it is far more than just a business district. Among the grand buildings of Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England Museum is a few steps from the bus stop (entrance on Bartholomew Lane, EC2R 8AH, 7601 5545), and well worth checking out before you head further east. There is a well-heeled feel to the shops and cafés of nearby Royal Exchange, where you can pick up everything from bespoke handcrafted pumps to chocolate-smothered apricots. It’s a great spot for dining, too. Try the Grand Café & Bar in the Royal Exchange’s graceful courtyard (7618 2480), which serves platters of Cornish crab claws and brown shrimps for sharing.

    Aldgate and Whitechapel
    Take the bus east, past Tower Hill to Aldgate East tube. Down to earth and full of vivid East End life, Aldgate and Whitechapel couldn’t be more removed from the gold-lined streets of Bank. On Sundays, you can explore Petticoat Lane Market on Middlesex Street, just north of Aldgate tube station (map: R6). Be sure to look beyond the bustling stalls to find great fabric shops like D & Lee Textiles (57 Wentworth St, E1 7TD, 7247 7222), with an impressive array of lace, saris and African prints. Then there’s Brick Lane (map: S5-6). Stretching north into Shoreditch, it has a great vibe, is famed for Bengali food and culture, and buzzes with a lively creative scene (see Route 8).

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    Bank of England Museum

    Whitechapel is a brash collection of bargain-basement clothes shops and egalitarian art spaces like the revamped Whitechapel Gallery (80-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX, 7522 7888). Artists themselves stock up at Atlantis Art Materials, off Whitechapel Road on Plumber’s Row (7377 8855) and draw inspiration from the living theatre of Whitechapel. Wander the area and you’ll find a mix of ancient streets and post-war housing with shiny new towers. Get a taste of cockney life – literally – with jellied eels at legendary booth Tubby Isaac's (Goulston St, E1 7TP), a five-minute walk from Whitechapel tube.

    Mile End Road
    Jump back aboard and head further east, as Whitechapel Road becomes Mile End Road. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful gems in this East End heartland, including the 1939 landmark the Genesis Cinema (93-95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ, 0870 060 6061), one of London’s few remaining independent movie houses. Here you can regularly see first-run films, plus it’s a venue for the East London Film Festival every April. The real draw around Mile End is the green spaces for nature lovers. Jump off just after the Green Bridge, its yellow underbelly visible from the bus, to enjoy a day out in Mile End Park. Or stroll over to Tredegar Square, one of London’s finest intact Georgian quadrangles. While you’re there, have lunch in the beer garden of the Morgan Arms (43 Morgan St, E3 5AA, 8980 6389).

    timeouteast004728timeouteast0047362_crop_nick ballon.jpg Bow and beyond
    Far from being the gritty end of the city that it’s often painted as, Bow is full of hidden cultural gems, especially art spaces. Blink and you’ll miss the unobtrusive Bow Arts Trust (183 Bow Rd, E3 2SJ, 7538 1719) tucked down an alley. Make time to explore this exciting mix of studios and gallery spaces opposite beautiful and historic Bow Church. Afterwards, take a stroll in nearby Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. This oasis of tranquility became Tower Hamlets’ first Local Nature Reserve in 2001. Today it is 33 acres of woodland and meadow, attracting birds, bees and butterflies.

    Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

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Whitechapel is a brash collection of bargain-basement clothes shops and egalitarian art spaces like the revamped Whitechapel Gallery (80-82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX, 7522 7888). Artists themselves stock up at , off Whitechapel Road on Plumber’s Row (7377 8855) and draw inspiration from the living theatre of Whitechapel. Wander the area and you’ll find a mix of ancient streets and post-war housing with shiny new towers. Get a taste of cockney life – literally – with jellied eels at legendary booth (Goulston St, E1 7TP), a five-minute walk from Whitechapel tube. Jump back aboard and head further east, as Whitechapel Road becomes Mile End Road. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful gems in this East End heartland, including the 1939 landmark the Genesis Cinema (93-95 Mile End Rd, E1 4UJ, 0870 060 6061), one of London’s few remaining independent movie houses. Here you can regularly see first-run films, plus it’s a venue for the every April. The real draw around Mile End is the green spaces for nature lovers. Jump off just after the , its yellow underbelly visible from the bus, to enjoy a day out in . Or stroll over to , one of London’s finest intact Georgian quadrangles. While you’re there, have lunch in the beer garden of the Morgan Arms (43 Morgan St, E3 5AA, 8980 6389).timeouteast004728timeouteast0047362_crop_nick ballon.jpg Far from being the gritty end of the city that it’s often painted as, Bow is full of hidden cultural gems, especially art spaces. Blink and you’ll miss the unobtrusive (183 Bow Rd, E3 2SJ, 7538 1719) tucked down an alley. Make time to explore this exciting mix of studios and gallery spaces opposite beautiful and historic Bow Church. Afterwards, take a stroll in nearby Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. This oasis of tranquility became Tower Hamlets’ first Local Nature Reserve in 2001. Today it is 33 acres of woodland and meadow, attracting birds, bees and butterflies.Route 8 | Route 25 | Route 135 | Route 149 | Route 277 | Route 394

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