'Be prepared to see more of your friends'

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The Independent Online

For the urban single or couple, male or female, I can't think of a better place to live today than Shoreditch – which isn't just Hoxton Square!

For the urban single or couple, male or female, I can't think of a better place to live today than Shoreditch – which isn't just Hoxton Square!

Shoreditch lies between two boroughs: Islington and Hackney. It runs from Old Street to Islington, down to Bethnal Green Road and along to Spitalfields. It can be expensive if you want a penthouse (and there are plenty of them), but generally you can find a nice New York, loft-style apartment for no dearer than you would get in Fulham or Clapham.

If it's gardens you want, Shoreditch is not the place for you. All the properties are old warehouses converted into apartments. Roof terraces replace gardens, with spectacular views over the old city. If it's parks you want for those lazy summer Sundays, head down to Victoria Park in Hackney, a five-minute bus ride or 20-minute walk from Shoreditch.

I work in Soho and have a choice of a 25-minute bus ride to Oxford Circus (even in the rush hour), Northern Line from Old Street or Central Line from Liverpool Street. Whichever route, I'm there in half an hour. For mainline stations you have Liverpool Street for the east coast, or go to London Bridge or Waterloo for south coast trains. Walk to Bank, take the DLR and you arrive at Greenwich in under half an hour.

You can walk to many areas in and around Shoreditch: the old City, St Paul's, Clerkenwell, up to Islington or down to the River Thames, Tower Bridge, St Katherine's Dock. It's the most walked area in London – it even has daily guided walk tours.

Is it full of arty people? Not really. Sure, there are plenty of art companies renting live/work space and in Hoxton you'll find small, peculiar art galleries, but I wouldn't say all the residents are artists. They range from advertising, music, photographers, bartenders and sales to plenty of families who have lived here all their lives.

Shoreditch is buzzing with people at night, with many bars that have late licenses until 2am or 3am and some of the best clubs in London – 333, Cargo, Plastic People – or it's a short walk to Fluid or Fabric in Clerkenwell or 93 Feet East in Brick Lane.

For eating out and shopping, there are plenty of delis and patisseries, with new ones opening all the time. Go to Brick Lane for 24-hour bagels or Spitalfields Market for fresh fish stalls, organic veg and clothes (anything from second hand to small designers). There are plenty of off-licences if the bars and clubs don't take your fancy, as well as Tesco (Liverpool St) or a bus ride to Sainsbury's (Angel Islington).

Restaurants include the Great Eastern Dining Rooms, Cantaloupe, Home or Le Trois Garcon on Bethnal Green Road, and more curry houses than you can imagine on Brick Lane.

Be prepared to see more of your friends when you live here. Friday/Saturday night is a Shoreditch night – I've tried persuading them otherwise, but they just won't have it.

Sandy Reay

Next week: Camden Town. If you want to tell us in 500 words why you love the area, please e-mail brandhorst@talk21.com, attaching a photograph of yourself if possible

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