A little bit of history
To say Clerkenwell has a rich history would be something of an understatement. Located on St John's Lane, The Gate of the Order of St John dates back to 1504, and the area has been considered a fashionable place to live since as early as the 17th Century. By the 1830s, Clerkenwell made its literary mark as the base for Charles Dickens' famous novel 'Oliver Twist', with Saffron Hill playing home to Fagin's boys and Bill Sykes' favourite pub. And the 1840s saw the arrival of Farringdon train station, part of the Industrial Revolution sweeping the city, the warehouses and industrial buildings from which have been rapidly converted into stylish warehouse apartments ever since the early 1990s.
Need to know
Locals can sign up for an EC1 card, which provides discounts at all kinds of local bars and restaurants. Check it out at www.ec1local.com.
Unlike much of London, Clerkenwell is full of independent shops, so it's a great area whether you want to pick up a gift or your groceries. Gift-wise, our top picks have to be Magma on Clerkenwell Road, which sells beautiful design and photography books. And Exmouth Market, which is home to jewellers, gifts, furniture, homeware and bike shops, as well as the city's best children's bookshop. As for your groceries, there are butchers galore around Smithfield Market ' brilliant places to pick up a suckling pig or Christmas turkey at a great price. With Farringdon once being known as 'Little Italy' it should come as no surprise that there is no shortage of fantastic Delis. We recommend Gazzano's on Farringdon Rd, Olga Stores, Alford's Deli and Le Comptoir Gascon. And you must try the ice cream at Veneticus
UNLIKE MUCH OF LONDON, CLERKENWELL IS FULL OF INDEPENDENT SHOPS, SO IT'S A GREAT AREA WHETHER YOU WANT TO PICK UP A GIFT OR YOUR GROCERIES.