Hidden gems of Clerkenwell

Clerkenwell, a hidden gem in London, is home to several delightful spots worth exploring. Exmouth Market, dating back to the 1890s, is a thriving street with independent businesses.

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Hidden gems of Clerkenwell

The city of London is a lovely area, and here at Gsdecorating painters and decorators in London, we are lucky enough to be located in a very central, but equally secluded sweet little area known as Clerkenwell. Although we are surrounded by some of London’s well-known locations, such as Holborn, Angel and Old Street, Clerkenwell is a somewhat residential area hidden between the three. Although its seclusion means that it is a little harder to find, the area is full of character and history; here are some of the hidden gems of Clerkenwell that you might like to explore.

In the heart of Clerkenwell, the Exmouth market is a delightful little market street thriving with independent businesses from restaurants to a tattoo parlour. Dating back to the 1890s, the street’s history is a classic tale of urban gentrification: a run-down area whose old warehouses and factories were colonised by publishing, design and architecture firms in the 1990s. Today, it houses several lovely shops and has a lunchtime food market Monday to Friday from 12 – 3 pm. It is worth trying each of these tells when you get the time, but if your looking for somewhere to sit and have lunch, keep scrolling for a review of some of our Exmouth favourites.


This is a sweet little record shop turned cafe just next to the Exmouth Arms pub. It’s perfect if you fancy a fresh Brick Lane bagel, with their interesting fillings sure to tickle your tastebuds. They rang of mouthwatering cakes are also sure to entice you, all for a reasonable price considering what you’ll often pay at some of the other cafes in this area. While you’re waiting, you can also browse the collection of classic CD’s txt they have on display, or take a seat and enjoy the sun on the street tables or in the garden. They’ve also just set up Brill nights, an evening of music, alcohol and summer snacks every Friday from 6.

Instagram – www.instagram.com/brillcafe


This restaurant is an example of Italian excellence. The menu might seem a little confusing at first, but the funny and knowledgeable staff will be able to talk you through it so that you’ll be able to experience the range of flavours that the restaurant has to offer. The extensive wine will is also created to complement each meat choice down to the extent that you like it cooked.


Hummus Bros is an exotic change from your everyday sandwich if you’re looking for a light and healthy lunch. Inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, this restaurant does exactly what it says on the tin. It is the only place in the UK to concentrate soul on hummus, exhibiting the individuality found on this thriving market street.


This cafe is the sweet little replacement of Strada that once occupied this space at the Exmouth Market entrance. Fortunately, all traces of the mass-market chain are now gone. The cafe resembles a typical Provençal bistro, where all of the elegant associations of French cuisine can be found in abundance.

8-10 Exmouth Market, London, E1C14QA




As well as the variety of beautiful restaurants that can be found on Exmouth Market, it is also home to one of the trendiest unisex barbers in London. Barber Streisand is to go to hair specialists for anyone living in the Clerkenwell area with their edgy interior and friendly atmosphere. Filling the streets with alternative looks, Barber Streisand steers away from the norm with creative shaves and cuts for men and sharp and short styles for the ladies.

25% Student discount Mon to Fri 2-5pm,  25% key worker discount at all times


Exmouth market wouldn’t be the same without its one-off designs and exclusive gift ideas. Space is a store that stands out in style not simply for the interior and the bold design of the shop front, but the content of the sore itself is busting with creative, one of a kind trinkets and gifts.

Space specialises in handcrafted Greetings cards, unusual gift ideas and your not so typical ‘bits and bobs’. If you’re looking for that ‘remember forever’ present for any occasion you can guarantee the recipient won’t have received anything like a gift from Space. To name just a few of their iconic products, Space holds on-trend jewellery, fun-filled books and stylish stationery, lava lamps and pristine china plates, not to mention its quirky sweets and snacks.

It’s safe to say that Safe is the definition of a stocking filler on Exmouth Market. Its originality and style is a hard act to follow, not to mention their bubbly and bright staff.


Office painting exterior
Exterior Shop Decorating

Botanique Workshop is based right in the middle of the Exmouth market, delivering natural beauty and individuality right from the heart. Botanique is an artisan store and florist, and all of their products are made on the same day of purchase at the counter or in the downstairs studio, making your experience even more fresh and delightful. With their humming sewing machines and upbeat staff members, you won’t be able to help yourself! Most customers even grab their items straight from the workbench before they even get to hit the shelves. As well as creating beautiful hand made bouquets and gifts, Botanique Workshop also provides a service designed for large events such as weddings and birthdays, so are the go-to store for all your flower needs!


Borough Wines isn’t exclusive to Exmouth Market, but its Market store is definitely one of a kind. It’s the cosy interior, and props create a distinctive atmosphere filled with warmth and depth. Beginning as a small stall on London’s Borough Market in 2002, Borough Wines holds onto its market routs, despite having six stores all around London.

The range of wines that they offer is still all handpicked, but now include around three hundred bottles—including several naturals, organic and biodynamic choices—and a diverse selection of local and international craft beers boutique spirits. Borough Wines also creates the environmentally friendly wine and beer refill system as displayed in the photos above.


With their trade make style and extreme talent, Exmouth Market is also home to one of London’s most famous tattoo artists if the upbeat personalities that can be found within the shop aren’t enough to lift your spirits, the interior sure will! The studios’ decor is truly one of a kind, filled with props and artwork to leave you in awe while getting your first class ink.

The store also sells various interesting pieces from women’s clothes to books, cards and accessories, with the artists own personal designs often printed on the front. Their personal portfolios are all available on their website as well, archiving their outstanding lifetime work.

The Family Business Tattoo Parlour pride themselves with unique and powerful work that is a true expression of the individuality found on Exmouth Market. The store is truly one of a kind, so it is no wonder that it is one of London’s leading tattoo parlours.


McCaul Goldsmiths is a wonderful alternative to your everyday jewellery store. Since 2009 they have been introducing one of a kind, handcrafted jewellery to Exmouth Market, all produced and sold within the same shop. Using both modern and traditional goldsmithing techniques, McCaul creates one of a kind pieces that are perfect for any special occasion.

Chiesa Italiana di San Pietro – St Peter’s Italian Church

As well as the local restaurants that can be found, the reminisce of Clerkenwell’s Italian migrant history can be observed by the presence of St Peter’s Italian Church. It was consecrated on the 16th of April 1863 and was the first Basilica-style church found in the UK. In the middle of July, they also run The Our Lady of Mount Carmel procession, London’s largest Italian catholic procession, that parades through the streets of Clerkenwell and includes musicians, icons, religious statues and floats with tableaux showing Biblical scenes. The aroma of beautiful Italian food can also be expected to be found!

Marx Memorial Library and Workers School

Founded in 1933 as a memorial to mark the fifteenth anniversary of Karl Marx’s death, the Marx Memorial Library and Workers School is a landmark for education and a home for generations of scholars interested in studying the history of Marxism. The library now holds over 43,000 books, pamphlets and newspapers, and since 2009 also houses ‘The Printing Collection’ that consists of the archives of the printing and papermaking unions of the UK and Ireland. If this is something you might be interested in, there are guided tours that allow people to view this historic house.

The Clerkenwell Walk

If you want to really experience the history of Clerkenwell, we have our very own walk that discovers everything from the only existing Tutor townhouse in London that overlooks a place thought to be a mass grave from the Black Death, to who the Three Kings of Clerkenwell were. For more information visit http://www.london-walking-tours.co.uk/clerkenwell.htm

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