Twenty-four hours in Shoreditch, London

A bar interior.
A person holding a bicycle.

London member and photographer Hal Haines spends a weekend in Shoreditch, using Redchurch Townhouse as his home base

Hal and Ed stayed in room 33

A man riding a bicycle.
A person eating a takeaway burger.
Takeaway picnic food in boxes.
Two men reflected in a window.
A clothing shop window.
Above: we explored the neighbourhood by bike before stopping for a picnic lunch in Boundary Gardens.

‘We set up our picnic on a bench in Boundary Gardens: boxes of calamari, Padrón peppers, potato salad, burgers and fries, all washed down with Press juices’

Discover Shoreditch with photographer Hal Haines and his boyfriend, screenwriter Ed Moustafa, as they cycle around east London, enjoy a picnic in Boundary Gardens and fill up on plenty of pizza and pasta at Cecconi’s.


10.30am: check in

I get to Redchurch Townhouse early, because I always overestimate how long it will take to cycle across the city. Fortunately, my room is ready and waiting for me, so I take the lift up and make use of the rainforest shower and Cowshed potions. I try out all the sitting spots, robes, and radio and TV, before Ed arrives to find me looting the minibar.

12pm: bike ride and picnic

At midday, we head over to tokyobike to borrow some Mini Velos for the afternoon. We pick up a takeaway lunch from Shoreditch House and ride to Columbia Road. Then, go back to Hoxton before eventually settling in Arnold Circus. We set up our picnic on a bench in Boundary Gardens: boxes of calamari, Padrón peppers, potato salad, burgers and fries, all washed down with Press juices. We talk about a shop I used to like on Calvert Avenue, one of the arms that protrudes from the Circus, and share anecdotes about visits to the area over the years. The sun peeks through the trees above, children laugh nearby, and the traffic murmurs in the background.

3pm: Negronis in the bath

When we get back to the hotel, it’s finally time to run the bath. Ed preps the water with more Cowshed goodness, while I call up reception for ice and revisit the minibar to prepare the premixed cocktails. With Sade on the aux, we soak for an hour or so.
A cocktail next to a bathtub.
A bathroom.
A man in a bath.
Condensation on a mirror.

‘With Sade on the aux, we soak for an hour or so’

6.30pm: dinner at Cecconi’s

I love Cecconi’s – for the decor and the friendly staff, not to mention the entire menu. We sit at the open window, and after two Eastern Standards, we of course over-order: pizza, pasta, meatballs, roast potatoes and focaccia, followed by profiteroles and the most delicious tiramisu. An enthusiastic puppy friend of the maitre d’ yaps and dances about outside as cyclists look in, enticed by the spread on our table.
Pizza and profiteroles.
Above: our spread at Cecconis, topped off with profiteroles for dessert

8.30pm: the deck

We head up to the Shoreditch House rooftop for a nightcap on the deck – only one Eastern Standard this time, plus a Negroni. As the DJ fades ‘Golden’ by Jill Scott into the mix, we lay back on the loungers and look out at the skyline, appreciating it, as if seeing the city for the first time.
A roof terrace and city centre reflected in a window.
A person drinking a cocktail.
People in a dark room.
Above: cocktails on the deck and an early evening in our room.

9pm: early night

Tucked up in our pillowy cloud, we watch Incredibles 2 in the twilight (and fall asleep before the end of the film).
A cookie being dunked into a cup of tea.
Looking through curtains at a sunset.
A cooked breakfast on a table.
A tea set on a bed.
A man asleep in bed.
Above: we started the morning with tea in bed, before ordering a big breakfast at Shoreditch House.

‘It’s so quiet, with only the sound of guests swimming laps in the pool and the kitchen team working away’

8.30am: good morning

It’s such a treat waking up without an alarm, soft blinking into consciousness. We lay in bed for ages – much longer than we would normally be permitted to – just talking and sipping tea. Through the curtains, the city comes to life around us.

10am: breakfast on the Roof

We walk back over to Shoreditch House for breakfast. It’s so quiet, with only the sound of guests swimming laps in the pool and the kitchen team working away. Coffees first, then two veggie breakfasts with a side of sausages and fresh orange juice.

12pm: check out

It’s time to pack up the nest we built for ourselves over the past 24 hours and head back to the real world. Bye for now, but not forever.

Stay at Redchurch Townhouse

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