Clerkenwell has really seen some changes over the years. What used to be a bit of an industrial wasteland, has now become one of our favourite areas in London and host to a buzzing restaurant and entertainment scene.
What’s more, it’s the area home to City Academy’s office – where we run our operations, hold classes, and meet students signing up to our course programme.
We love Clerkenwell so much, that we’ve decided to give you a list of our favourite things to check out when you're in the area…
1. Coin Laundry | 70 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QP
A new hangout featuring a restaurant with a 70s & 80s menu (think chicken kievs as a signature dish), a bar which serves fizzy Soda Steam cocktails and a ‘common room’ playing host to regular events.
2. Hollybush Gardens | 1–2 Warner Yard, EC1R 5EY
A small art gallery, but a forward-thinking one. Hollybush Gardens showcases multi-disciplinary work from a modest selection of contemporary artists. This secluded corner of Clerkenwell offers an eye-opening diversion from the hustle and bustle elsewhere.
3. Pizza Pilgrims | 15 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD
Pizza Pilgrims have decided to bring their faultless pizzas to Exmouth Market. Just Google ‘The Best Pizza in London’ and they’ll show up in most of the search results. We highly recommend their Margheritas, Nutella-filled dough rings and their pizza soup (yes really) which is exclusive to this branch.
4. Museum of London | 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
The ideal place for those who want to learn everything there is to know about the history of London and its people. From pre-historic London, to the Tudor Times, to Medieval London – MoL has got it covered with their fun and informative exhibitions.
5. Exmouth Market | EC1R
There are PLENTY of restaurants on Exmouth Market, both old and new, to cater for every palate (plus it’s one of London’s Top 100 cheap eats). Restaurants aside (for a moment), the street food scene will blow you away. Grab some Ghanaian stews from ‘Spinach and Agushi’, Buckwheat crepes from ‘Crepes & Galettes’, gourmet burritos from ‘Freebird’, delicious Thai curries, authentic salt beef sandwiches from the ‘Jewish Deli’ and Moro’s stall for some decadent tapas. For the best coffee break in the area – Caravan is your best bet.
6. Novelty Automation Museum | 1A Princeton Street, WC1R 4AX
The definition of a hidden-gem (pictured; top). Here you’ll find pier arcade games, eccentric artistry and a popular ‘Money Laundering Machine’. Admission is free and you only pay for the tokens used to bring these fun games to life. We recommend the Wallace & Grommit game where a lamb’s fate is in your hands.
7. The Eagle | 159 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3AL
Billed as the ‘original’ gastropub, The Eagle will rarely disappoint in terms of food, booze and atmosphere. Whether you’re new to the English pub scene or want somewhere to pass the time after work or (one of our classes) then fly to The Eagle and grab some Mediterranean fare.
8. Into You | 144 St John Street, EC1V 4UA
This Tattoo & Piercing studio has been around for more than 20 years and is one of the best in London. They also sell a selection of jewellery, t-shirts and books.
9. Magma | 117-119 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5BY
It’s small, but it manages to pack a lot in! Magma is an art/design/publishing shop that showcases handsomely-produced print pieces (books, magazine, art-prints, and pamphlets). All this at a time when bookshops are supposed to be on the wane – well worth a look.
10. Smithfield Market | 225 Central Markets, EC1A 9LH
Although it has a pretty dark history, Smithfield market is THE largest wholesale market in the UK and the place to go to snap up some of the best meat (almost every cut), poultry and provisions. If their meat is good enough to supply to some of the best restaurants in the city, it’s good enough for us. Plus they’re open until 2am (do what you will with that information).
CITY ACADEMY VENUES IN THIS AREA…
33 Eyre Street Hill – for Filmmaking, Writing and Private Singing Lessons
Old Diarama Arts Centre – for Photography
Finsbury Town Hall – for all kinds of Dance classes