London’s most popular markets
Visiting London’s markets is one of the best ways we know to explore the city. The choice is vast, from foodie havens such as Borough Market to the floral blooms of Columbia Market and from popular markets that are a must-see item on the tourist trail to lesser-known local community events. We’ve rounded up our top 10 London markets to help you find the best bargains in London!
Columbia Road Flower Market
Set off early for this Victorian cobbled street where bargain blooms are on display every Sunday. Sweet-smelling herbs, bedding plants and banana trees and stall holders keep visitors entertained most of the day with their East End patter.
Lining the street are around sixty independent shops, featuring vintage clothes, art and antiques. Pop into a deli or café for a coffee and cupcake or pick up a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel at the long-established Café Columbia.
Sunday, 8am – 3pm. Columbia Road Flower Market, E2.
Discovered long ago by tourists, Camden Market is one of the busier, better-known markets. Encompassing Camden Lock Village and the Stables Market, this is the place for hand-crafted accessories, vintage clothes, trinkets, curiosities, food stands and goth shops – your teenagers will love it. Open every day.
Camden Market, Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF
The original wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market was relocated and renamed New Spitalfields Market in 1991. Old Spitalfields Market underwent a complete transformation into its current, somewhat more manicured collection of smart shops and eateries.
A good spot on a rainy day (everything’s under cover) with some interesting stalls.
Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, E1 6DT.
If food is your thing, this is one for you. Located in the heart of central London and sitting in the shade of Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market is London’s oldest market. As if to illustrate London’s incredible global outlook, there’s British food in abundance but also great Swiss, Italian and French cheeses and cured meats, Mexican specialities and superb Spanish chorizo. Go hungry and enjoy the tasters but don’t expect any bargains when it comes to purchases.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Mon-Weds: Limited Market days with some stalls and shops open; Thurs-Sat: Full Market days.
Brick Lane market is a large East End flea market, just a stone’s throw from the more gentrified Spitalfields. The market gets our top vote for atmosphere – this is the place to grab a Bangladeshi curry or an authentic Jewish bagel from the cafés and restaurants that line the street although there are also artisan food stalls offering everything from tapas to dim sum.
The shops in Brick Lane are open throughout the week but the big attraction is the Sunday market when there are genuine bargains available amongst the stalls selling bric-a-brac, fruit and vegetables, retro furniture and vintage jewellery. The street is also home to some world-famous street art.
Brick Lane Market, E1 QR.
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market Shops and fruit and veg stalls along Portobello Road open daily but Saturday is the day when the antique dealers swing into action, resulting in what is now thought to be the world’s largest antiques market. Vintage fashion and furniture, emerging designer clothes, collectable vinyl and a street food market make this a great place to soak up the vibe and track down clothes from up-and-coming fashion designers.
Portobello Road, London W10 5TA
London’s off-the-beaten track local community markets
Smaller and less frenetic than Brick Lane, Broadway Market is in the heart of Hackney, East London. Home to market traders since the 1890’s, this little East End street now features independent shops and trendy cafés. The Saturday Street Market, set up in 2004 with around 40 stalls, has scaled up to 135, featuring vintage clothing stalls, arts and crafts, fresh farm produce and authentic street food.
Broadway Market, E8 4QL
Cabbages & Frocks
Located in the grounds of Marylebone Parish Church, this pocket-sized market has a good mix of stalls. Thanks to its somewhat local feel, it also provides a nice contrast to the glitzy shopfronts on nearby Marylebone High Street. The market features cute children’s clothes, arts and crafts and retro and vintage clothing, alongside food speciality stalls. Open every Saturday (11am-5pm),
Cabbages & Frocks Market, Marylebone Parks Church Grounds, Marylebone High Street, W1U 5BA
With a slightly different feel to some of its larger counterparts, this former bric-a-brac market has shifted a notch in favour of food lovers. Flowers, fruit and veg are still around but the Italian delis and curry kiosks market make it a great lunch stop.