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SHOPPERS bored of the big chain stores and homogenous high streets can take advantage of the East End’s diverse selection of vibrant street markets and irresistible independent stores with the help of the latest edition of the Quirky Shopping Guide.

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Produced by Tower Hamlets council, the free guide is a celebration of east London’s huge range of individual, independent and innovative retailers.

The free guide features almost 150 different retailers, with a particular focus on Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Brick Lane and Columbia Road, and has a map at the back of the guide to help shoppers locate stores and stalls.

New mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “By highlighting the one-of-a-kind products and experiences that can be found in Tower Hamlets, the Quirky Shopping Guide celebrates the refreshing diversity that only truly independent shops can offer.

“It also helps to reinforce east London’s growing reputation as one of the city’s most lively and exciting places to visit, eat and shop.”

The featured shops are split across 10 categories, covering everything from fashion and accessories to furniture, food and music.

Practically every shop in the guide is independently owned, each with its own unique style and panache; plus there are one or two branches of small chain stores whose unusual or individual merchandise fits in with the ethos of the book.

The largest section in the guide is devoted to fashion, with 34 stores featuring designers’ own lines or hand-picked collections of unusual or cutting-edge styles, including Cheshire Street’s Dragana Perisic, Junky Styling in Dray Walk and Chica in Spitalfields Market.

The guide also contains information on the vibrant and colourful street markets of Spitalfields, Brick Lane, Columbia Road, Petticoat Lane, Roman Road and the various markets at the Old Truman Brewery.

There is also a listing of cafés and restaurants in each of the main shopping areas to tempt shoppers to linger over their purchases and make a day out of their visit to the area.

The guide is available free on request by emailing tourism@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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