Old Street Area Guide
It’s no surprise to find that the name ‘Old Street’ has ancient origins: this city thoroughfare started out as a Roman road, built to connect London with Colchester in Essex. Today Old Street runs from Clerkenwell to Shoreditch High Street. Lined with offices, restaurants and convenience stores, it forms part of a buzzing business district on the fringes of the city’s Square Mile.
In spite of its ancient beginnings, these days the area is associated with innovation. Old Street roundabout has been nicknamed ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in recognition of the huge number of start-ups and tech companies based here. You can expect to meet London’s brightest young talent hard at work (and at play) in the streets close to Old Street Roundabout and in neighbouring Shoreditch and Hoxton.
In the 1980s these areas were characterised by neglect and decay, but their transformation began in the 1990s when famous artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst moved in.
Leisure and fitness
You can stay fit at Shoreditch Fitness and Wellbeing Gym in Batemans Row. This bright and airy studio with its own swimming pool, offers 70 classes a week, from Body Conditioning to Bootcamp. Alternatively enjoy the hot yoga experience at Fierce Grace in East Road, near Old Street Station.
This is an area dotted with relaxing green spaces where you can chill out after a busy day. Bunhill Fields, off City Road, is a memorial ground, now managed as a public garden, while Allen Gardens in Shoreditch is an open space with a children’s playground, perfect for alfresco gatherings. The 19-hectare Shoreditch Park is equipped with an adventure playground, football and rugby pitches, tennis courts, a beach volleyball court and even an amphitheatre!
Whether you are into clean cuisine or you simply want a good burger with all the trimmings, this area has restaurants, cafes and bars to suit all tastes. Top recommendations include the Jones Family Project steakhouse, the Tramshed (with an art gallery in the basement) and the Book Club, which attracts media and creative types. Visit Brick Lane for Bangladeshi cafes selling everything from curries to fried chicken.
Shopping opportunities range from the quirky pop-up mall Boxpark, at Shoreditch Station, to essential stores such as supermarkets, greengrocers and newsagents found on Hoxton Street.
Getting out and about
Old Street Station is on the Northern Line, with direct tube trains going north towards Kings Cross or south to the City and south London. Old Street also has a mainline train station, with Great Northern trains that run to Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. Shoreditch and Hoxton are both on the overground, with services to Highbury and Islington, Clapham Junction and West Croydon, while buses include the 21, 43, 55, 76, 135, 141, 205, 214, 243 and 271 together with night buses N55 and N205.
Parents with young children will be pleased to discover that this area offers a number of good state run primary schools, including Whitmore Primary School which Ofsted has rated as ‘Outstanding’: there are also several independent, fee-paying schools such as the Christian School of London and the Rosemary Works Schools that have been rated ‘Good’. Secondary schools are more widely spread, but the Bridge Academy in Hackney and the City Academy in Islington have been rated ‘Good’.
If you want to live in an energetic, youthful part of the city with an arty vibe and great nightlife, then this area is for you. Whether you’re looking for an apartment to let in Hoxton, or a family house for sale in Shoreditch, Fraser & Co’s award-winning service can guide you to the best properties.