If, as they say, London is a simmering cauldron of ideas, creativity and innovation, then the East End must be the fire that keeps it bubbling. With its many hangouts, markets and hidden gems, all seasoned with a generous dash of quirky charm (very much alive despite rampant gentrification), the East End won me over when I first set foot in the hood five years ago. And much of the credit goes to one of its most celebrated and imposing landmarks, the Whitechapel Gallery (77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX). The gallery has whetted my appetite for art, boasting some of the finest shows ever held in the capital. From Brit stars including Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing and Richard Wentworth, to rising European stars such as Wilhelm Sasnal and twentieth-century masters such as Hannah Höch, the Whitechapel’s programme of exhibitions is nothing less than uplifting and stimulating. Next up are films by Palestinian artist Emily Jacir, opening September 30. Needless to say, the Whitechapel Gallery isn’t the only art venue in the neighbourhood; within walking distance is the beautiful Raven Row (56 Artillery Lane, E1 7LS), which is housed in two elegant Huguenot houses. Opening Thursday September 24 are films and watercolours by playful Belgian conceptualist duo Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys. When you want to stop for a bite or a pint, you’re also spoilt for choice: from Beigel Bake (159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB) to the legendary George Tavern (373 Commercial Road, E1 0LA), a must-go for all artsy souls. What more can you ask for?
Jacopo Nuvolari, 32, editor, Stoke Newington. Jacopo was selected to write this article for our reader takeover issue, hitting the stands September 22 2015.