It may have been one of London's first suburbs back in the 1300s, but there's little about East London's Mile End that feels suburban today. Gritty, creative and increasingly gentrified, it's a true city area with great transport connections and a diverse mix of residents.
With Queen Mary's University located right in the heart of Mile End its always had a reputation for being popular with student renters, but there are more and more young professionals moving into the area to make the most of lower rents than Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, as well as a speedy commute into the City and Central London.
Cheaper rents aren't the only highlight of Mile End though - the area is surrounded by a long stretch of greenery via Mile End Park and Victoria Park, the latter of which is famous for holding a variety of festivals during the winter and summer.
There's a budding food scene here too, with impressive Scandinavian restaurant Ink and unusual meat specialists Greedy Cow to name a few. Rather than busy clubs the streets of Mile End are filled with relaxed pubs and bars, so it's surprisingly peaceful at night as those looking for a party head into Shoreditch or Hackney instead.
On a map
Mile End is located in the borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. It is situated to the east of Bethnal Green and south of Hackney, and covers the postcodes E1 and E3.
History of Mile End London
The first records of Mile End come from the late 1200s, when it was known as La Mile end due to it’s position a mile away from Aldgate in the City of London. It was one of London's earliest suburbs, and Mile End Road has long been a major route out of the city into the east of England. The area played a role in the Peasant's Revolt of 1381, when the Essex rebels camped out here on their way into the city, and King Richard II rode out to meet them here the next day. Most of the rebels were later executed for their role in the uprising.
Like many parts of East London, Mile End was badly damaged during the Second World War by bombing raids. Some damage can still be seen in the area, and a live bomb was actually found here in 2007, leading to 100 residents having to be evacuated while it was deactivated.
Transport from Mile End London
Mile End benefits from great transport connections, with Mile End Underground Station covering the Central, District and Hammersmith & City lines. A journey to Bank takes 8 minutes, while a journey further west to Oxford Circus takes 16 minutes.
The are also has lots of bus services during the day and night, and for Overground connections Cambridge Heath is around a mile away.
Cost of living in Mile End London
Properties in Mile End are largely a mix of Victorian terraces, ex local authority buildings and a few shiny new modern developments. Despite it's great location, rental prices here are on average cheaper than those in nearby areas such as Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Victoria Park, and only slightly more than in Bow.
As of April 2016, the average rental price for a two-bedroom property in Mile End is around £1900 per month, although similar properties can be found starting at £1350.
Restaurants in Mile End London
Bringing Scandinavian cool to East London, this hip Swedish restaurant on Palmers Road offers a modern menu (complete with foam, powdered and artfully-arranged plates) in a minimalist setting. Chef Martyn Meid’s seven or five course tasting menu changes regularly, but you can expect the likes of 148 hour salted cod, sticky pork belly and a surprising chocolate salt on your culinary journey.
Address: 44 Palmers Rd, Suttons Wharf South, London E2 0TA
Phone:020 8983 6634
There’s nothing quite like sitting outside a fantastic park cafe on a spring day, and the Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park is no exception. Overlooking the boating lake, this casual and friendly eatery has a great menu packed with classic brunch dishes, sandwiches and interesting salads, as well as homemade cakes and a range of soft and alcoholic drinks.
Address: Corner Old Ford Road, Victoria Park, London, E9 7DE
Phone:020 8980 0030
Branch out from your usual steak and try a more unusual kind of meat at the Greedy Cow on Grove Road, where the menu stretches as far as kangaroo burgers, camel meat and even wild boar. They also serve the usual beef, chicken, lamb and fish if you aren’t feeling quite up to an edible safari.
Address: 2 Grove Rd, London E3 5AX
Phone:020 8983 3304
Shops in Mile End London
Blend in with the trendy inhabitants of E1 with some pieces from this sleek designer boutique, which stocks both men and women’s fashion, accessories and a curated selection of home decor. It’s a great place to discover a new brand (they stock a lot of Scandinavian designers) or pick up an eye-catching item from their own African-inspired line.
Address: 451 Roman Rd, London, Bow E3 5LX
Forget about popping into the off-licence for a bottle and get to know your Sancerre from your Sauvignon at Vinarius, a popular local wine merchant on the Roman Road. As well as a vast range of wines from all over the world, they also sell craft beers, charcuterie and cheeses, and you can even enjoy your bottle in the shop with some nibbles and a £5 corkage fee if you can’t quite wait to get it home.
Address: 536 Roman Rd, London E3 5ES
Phone:020 3302 0123
Pick up a memorable present at this contemporary gift shop, where the shelves are stacked with a a wide array of quirky, creative gifts and design-led accessories. Be it a knitted T-Rex, a pineapple print bag or a graphic print, the options are almost endless.
Address: 465 Roman Rd, London E3 5LX
Phone:020 8617 8944
Things to do in Mile End London
Situated in a former 1930s vinyl factory, this innovative non-profit gallery in Mile End specialises in promoting and supporting emerging and under-represented artists, many of whom go on to achieve great critical success. Former artists who have exhibited at the Chisendale Gallery include Sam Taylor-Wood and Paul Noble, so it’s a great place to spot new talent.
Address: 64 Chisenhale Rd, London E3
Phone: 020 8981 4518
Think you’ve got what it takes to survive a day at a Victorian school? Pay a visit to the Ragged School Museum on Copperfield Road and find out! Once a public school for destitute local children, it was later transformed into a museum, where visitors can now attend a Victorian school lesson, visit an Edwardian kitchen, and see an exhibition on what life used to be like in the East End.
Address: 46-50 Copperfield Rd, London E3 4RR
Phone: 020 8980 6405
Founded in 1841, this pretty park was a cemetery for East End residents until it was closed for burials in the 1960s. After years of neglect, it was finally transformed into a local nature reserve in 2000 and is now a great spot for a history-filled walk - just make sure to step carefully in case you trip over a long-forgotten headstone!
Address: Southern Grove, London E3 4PX
Phone: 020 8983 1277
Main image credit: Jim Linwood