Tower Hamlets Borough Guide

Your All In London guide to Tower Hamlets

In terms of diversity, you’d be pushed to find a London borough with more opposing moods than Tower Hamlets. Home to the famous curry houses of Brick Lane, the hip art gallery and the East London Mosque at Whitechapel, the fashionable shops and the market in Spitalfields, the financial district around Canary Wharf and of course the ever-developing Docklands area, it continues to grow with housing developments and skyscrapers.

Once upon a time some of London’s worst slums could be found here, and the closure of the docks along with the severe bomb damage suffered during World War II meant the 20th century was full of challenges for Tower Hamlets. While this remains one of the capital’s most deprived boroughs, funding is being poured into attracting business to the area. Structures tied to the 2012 Olympics like the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are part of the area’s regeneration.


Tower Hamlets is a small but very densely populated borough lying east of central London and enjoying a wealth of diversity. Almost half the population come from a minority ethnic group, one of the largest proportions in Britain! Nearly one in three people come from a Bangladeshi background and there are also significant numbers of Somalis, Lithuanians and Romanians in the borough. Tower Hamlets is a very young borough, with more than a third of the population aged between 20 and 34.

Immense wealth drawn in by the canary Wharf complex sits alongside serious poverty in Tower Hamlets. The continued development of the Docklands has brought much economic growth and many highly paid jobs into the borough with the average salary for people who work in Tower Hamlets increasing to £64,000. But unemployment remains high and almost two in five households live on less than £15,000 showing how gross the income differentials are.

Tower Hamlets Guide Video


Must see attractions in Tower Hamlets

Spitalfields Market

Commercial Street E1 6AA
V&A Museum of Childhood

Cambridge Heath Road E2 9PA

Regions & Neighbourhoods in Tower Hamlets

Bethnal Green
An East London gem, Bethnal Green is located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, primarily due to its excellent transport links. In the Vi...
Brick Lane
Famous Brick Lane is known for its great curry houses as well as being central to the city’s Bangladeshi community. Apart from the array of cultures and eateries found in the area, Brick Lane is als...
Canary Wharf
Famous for being the latest business development in the City, Canary Wharf is now growing rapidly in popularity. Canary Wharf itself is situated on the Isle of Dogs in London’s Docklands. Seen as th...
Shadwell
Situated between Wapping and Limehouse, Shadwell is part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is considered an important part of East London. It is thought that there were no inhabitants at all ...
Spitalfields
Located centrally in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Spitalfields has an enviable location close to both Liverpool Street Station and Brick Lane. The name Spitalfields is an abbreviation of the p...
Stepney & Bow
Another region of East London that suffered from bombing during World War Two and subsequent industrial decline; but Stepney & Bow is now starting to see considerable renewal mainly thanks to the deve...
Wapping
On the North Bank of the River Thames, Wapping has undergone rapid development, during the last decade. Situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Wapping is extremely popular with city professi...
Whitechapel
A large and built-up area of London located within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel is approximately three and a half miles out of the city centre. At the centre of Whitechapel is Whit...
Shadwell
Shadwell is a clear example of London’s gentrification, as this former slum’s Docklands location has resulted in the construction of new apartment blocks and conversion of old warehouses to accomm...
Mile End
Mile End’s most recognisable landmark is the brightly coloured Green Bridge, which links the two sides of Mile End Park. The area was fortunate enough to not suffer the extremes of poverty some its ...
Millwall
Millwall is probably most famous for its football team, even though they’ve in fact been playing at Bermondsey for the last century. Millwall the area is in the Docklands, just south of Canary Wharf...
Bow
Famous for the old saying of being born within the sound of Bow Bells (even though the bells referred to are actually from St. Mary-le-Bow church, in the City of London), this residential area is expe...

Neighbouring Boroughs

Hackney
Hackney did once have a bit of a bad reputation for being downtrodden and crime-ridden, but parts of Hackney have now been transformed into super-trendy hotspots where everyone wants to be seen; on th...
Greenwich
Beautiful and popular riverside area which revels in its maritime past; the region is full of naval sites and attractions including the Cutty Sark, Royal Naval College and the Maritime Museum. ...
City of London
Not just a borough but a City in it's own right, this is the Small but perfectly formed economic powerhouse of London, UK and Europe. Residential housing is sparce as offices and retail outlets domina...
Southwark
Southwark is an inner London borough that fronts the river Thames and is home to extensive commerce, business and entertainment. The north of the borough has been transformed in the past ten years. Th...
Newham
Newham has had its fair share of challenges throughout the 20th century. Due to its proximity to the Docklands, the areawas subject to bomb damage during World War II raids, destroying housing stock; ...
Lewisham
One of the youngest and most ethnically diverse communities in the country, Lewisham ranks as one of London's more affordable boroughs benefitting from the open spaces of Blackheath as well as the rec...

More London Boroughs

London Borough Map
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