neighbourhood watch: whitecross street, ec1

my favourite places in london tend to fall into one of two categories - either they are so quintessentially english that they make you feel as though you're part of a working title film, or they make you feel as though you're in a totally different city altogether.

whitecross street, just off of old street in ec1, is a part of the latter group. essentially a part of the barbican district, the street is surrounded by soviet-inspired tower blocks and construction cranes, which gives the street a sort of eastern-bloc vibe, and actually does make it seem as though you're on holiday in a foreign country.

the shops, too, are quite atypical of london - most notable is bread and honey, whose utilitarian streetwear is reminiscent of that found in london or tokyo (but doesnt totally leave out the hipsters and girly-girls - is still a great place to stock up on skinny black lees or not-so-innocent chiffon dresses like this sweet leopard print one from laura lee)

a small, continental market is open on the weekends, which usually isn't too inspiring, selling not much more than 3-for-a-fiver 'pashminas' and cheap leather satchels - but it sometimes is transformed into an upscale food market along the lines of exmouth for special occasions like christmas - check the website for details

finally, there have been some fantastic small gallery openings on the street over the past few years - madder rose gallery always has consistently exceptional shows from emerging artists, while newcomer ancient and modern is definitely one to watch - their inaugural exhibition included works from the likes of jeremy deller and ricky swallow.

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