Why We Love Clerkenwell
For anyone visiting the area of Clerkenwell, it’s natural to note an obvious charm, which leaves the best of us curious. Whether passing through on business or settling down to start a family, there’s so much to do and see it’s often hard to find reason to leave (though the exceptionally well connected transport links would make it a breeze...). A far cry from its roots, Clerkenwell is now home to the highest concentration of architectural and building professionals in the world and is an area seeping with creativity. So whether you’re working or wandering, you’ll seldom travel far before something catches your eye.
It’s remarkable how much the area has evolved throughout the years. Once an ancient parish dating back to the medieval times, the area later became a thriving hub for watchmaking businesses. The onslaught of the Industrial Revolution saw a multitude of taverns, breweries and distilleries pop up, many of which survive to this day (check out The Old Red Lion and Ye Old Mitre). Today the area has lent its functional history to the creation of a modern day home for families, businesses and, of course, design.
As with anywhere in this city, the best places are discovered first hand. However, for those who are new to the area and for whom time is of the essence, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite spots, conveniently located just a stone’s throw from The Nest.
Granger & Co
Best for: Family Friendly Food.
What is it? Clean and smartly furnished restaurant sat opposite Clerkenwell Green serving healthy, tasty food available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and most importantly, cocktails! Perfect weekend brunch spot with the wee bairns in tow, we recommend trying their sweet ricotta hotcakes… a little slice of honeycomb heaven!
Where is it? 50 Sekforde St, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HA
Image courstesy of: www.thelondonfoodie.co.uk
Best for: Culture
What is it? Grade II listed multi-educational art centre and phenomenal example of Brutalist architecture rolled into one, The Barbican regularly hosts a variety of cultural events including exhibitions, theatre, dance, conferences and film. Head over to Silk Street and you can find their fantastic cinema showing a variety of independent films including a well curated kid friendly film programme. Fancy bringing the kids along for a day outing? The Barbican hosts a variety of family friendly activities ranging from a soft play area, family workshops and its very own educational trail titled ‘Big Barbican Adventure.’ Home to London’s second largest conservatory, which is open on selected Sundays, sip on tea and afternoon cakes as you wander through over 2,000 species of tropical plants.
Where is it? Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Image courstesy of: www.thebarbican.org.uk
Ironmonger Row Baths
Best for: Year round swimming.
What is it? Originally built as a public washhouse in 1931, the baths have recently undergone a multi million pound restoration and are open to the public as a swimming pool, sauna, gym and Turkish bath. Open ‘til 9:30 at night, the baths are a great spot to hit for a post work wind down or as a fun activity with kids.
Where is it? 1 Norman St, London EC1V 3AA
Clerkenwell Design Week
Best for: Discovering new talent
What is it? Each year throughout the latter weeks of May, Clerkenwell hosts a world famous design fair which spreads all over the borough and features the work of some of the best craftsmen, designers and exhibitors in the world. It’s worthwhile checking out their programme before – a series of educational talks by industry leaders take place throughout the week and may well provide food for thought.
Where is it? Various locations thoughout Clerkenwell. Check out www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com for more details.
The Family Business
Best for: Your very own piece of (permanent!) artwork
What is it? World renowned tattoo parlour and home to some of the best in the biz, The Family Business has been operating since 2003 and is a go to spot if you’re planning a custom piece.
Where is it? 58 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QE
Image courstesy of: www.thefamilybusinesstattoo.com
Best for: Everything! (Food, shops, bars, pubs, restaurants, crafts and more.)
What is it? Drawing its name from the Exmouth Arms which lies smack bang in the centre (also a top spot for a tipple), Exmouth Market has been operating since the 1800s and is now home to hundreds of rotating and more permanent stallholders. Without a doubt one of the best spots in London to buy fresh produce, there is a real community amongst the knowledgeable and friendly stallholders. You can’t go far wrong in the area, but our shout out goes to Paesan for delectable itallian, Gail’s for out-of-this-world chocolate brownies and Coin Laundry for quirky 70s inspired food.
Where is it? Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4Q