Hidden gems of Clerkenwell

The city of London is an incredibly beautiful area, and here at Gsdecorating, 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 that is 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.

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Situated in the heart of Clerkenwell, Exmouth market is a delightful little market street that is thriving with independent businesses from restaurants to a tattoo parlour. Dating back to the 1890’s, the history of the street 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 not only houses a number of lovely shops, but also has a lunch time food market Monday to Friday from 12 – 3pm. 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.

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This is a sweet little record shop turned cafe just next to the Exmouth Arms pub. Its perfect if you fancy a fresh Brick Lane bagel, with their interesting fillings sure to tickle your tastebuds. Their 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 cafe’s in this area. While your waiting you can also browse the collection of classic CD’s txt they have on display, or simply 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

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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 choice of meat down to the extent that you like it cooked.


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



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

8-10 Exmouth Market, London, E1C14QA



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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. With their edgy interior and friendly atmosphere, Barber Streisand is to go to hair specialists for anyone living in the Clerkenwell area. 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


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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 hand crafted 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 wont 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. It’s originality and style is a hard act to follow, not to mention their bubbly and bright staff.


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Botanique Workshop is based right in the middle of 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 work bench before they even get to hit the selves. As well as creating beautiful hand made bouquets and gifts, Botanique Workshop also provide a service designed for large events such as weddings and birthdays, so are the go-to store for all your flower needs!



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Borough Wines isn’t exclusive to Exmouth Market, but its Market store is definitely one of a kind. It’s cosy interior and use of props creates 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 now having six stores all around London.

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



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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 isn’t enough to lift your spirits, the interior sure will! The studios decor is truly one of a kind, filled with props and art work to leave you in awe while getting your first class ink.

The store also sells a variety of 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 that can be found on Exmouth Market. The store is truly one or a kind, so it is no wonder that it is one of London’s leading tattoo parlours.


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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 of which is produced and sold within the same shop. Using both modern and traditional goldsmithing techniques, McCaul create one of a kind pieces that are perfect for any special occasion.



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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 present of St Peter’s Italian Church. It was consecrated on the 16th of April 1863 and was the first Basilica-style church to be 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 the death of Karl Marx, the Marx Memorial Library and Workers School is a landmark for education, and a home for generations of scholars interesting 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.

decorating a front of a period propoerty

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 town house 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