Markets are a main part of London life. Historically, they were the place to go for the weekly shop as well as somewhere to hang out and catch up with friends. Of course, our habits have somewhat changed since then – but both locals and tourists continue to visit the capital's most well known markets for fashion or homewears as well as groceries. Nowadays, there’s a huge range of markets across London, from farmers markets and fashion markets to street food, vintage and antique markets. But if you’re only in town for a quick visit, any one of these are worth making a beeline for. Here’s our pick of the very best markets in London.
1. Old Spitalfields Market
After being renovated in the 2000s the covered market opposite Liverpool Street Station has become a main shopping and eating destination in London. Open seven days a week The market sells all kinds of things from vintage clothes to makeup and of course food. The market is also just a short walk from brick lane.
2. Greenwich Market
Found in the historic grounds of Greenwich the market is made up of around 120 stalls selling furniture, clothing, jewellery and gifts. The market is open monday to sunday, after visiting the market you are also able to visit the Greenwich park grounds, the Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory or you can get a riverboat back across the Thames into central london.
3. Covent Garden Market
Found in the heart of Covent Garden you will find the market, offering a range of beauty, lifestyle and high end fashion stores it is classes as one of Londons best luxury shopping destinations. The market features brands which are both global and independant so you are boud to find something to fit your every shopping need. On Mondays the market is filled with stalls selling selling collectables and antiques and for the rest of the week it offers everything from handmade soaps to jewellery. The market has also recently opened up a piazza, perfect for socially distanced meet ups with friends.
4. Brick Lane Market
Only open on Sundays Brick Lane Market has the streets of East London lively with visitors and stall owners. From bargain prices on fruit and veg yo household items and electrical products, the market is known for being unpredictable. One week you can eat all the food you like and the following week walk away with as much thrifted clothing as you can carry. Visit Backyard Market for arts and crafts, Sunday Upmarket for street food and interesting gifts, The Tea Rooms for vintage bric-a-brac, and the Boiler House Food Hall for more snack and drink stalls. Brick Lane’s various Sunday markets surely have something for everyone.
5. Camden Market
Technically being made up of several different markets that stretch from Camden Town tube station to the Regent's Canal, Camden market is one of London's most popular visitor attractions. Open seven days a week and usually very busy when social distancing isnt a thing around 250,000 people come here to shop, sample street food and soak up the distinctive, still-grungy atmosphere. Camden Lock Market is an arts-and-crafts haven while the Stables Market is a trendy spot for everything from quirky furniture to fetish clothing. Nearby Buck Street Market on Camden High Street (the one under a sign that reads ‘The Camden Market’) is best for T-shirts and touristy trinkets.
6. Columbia Road Flower Market
Situated just off Shoreditch’s main drag, this weekly flower market is an East End gem. Every Sunday from 8am-3pm (roughly), the picturesque cobbled street is packed with traders selling bulbs, herbs, shrubs, bedding plants and bucketfuls of cut flowers. Surrounding the stands are around 60 interesting independent shops and cafés, many open only at weekends.
Notting Hill houses one of the world’s largest antiques markets, an area that manages to feel diverse and surprising despite heavy gentrification (how Hugh Grant in that movie could afford a one-person flatshare despite working in a bookshop is beyond us) in the ’90s. Portobello Road Market is really five markets in one, with different sections dedicated to second-hand goods; clothing and fashion; household essentials; fruit, veg and other food; and the main event: antiques. You’ll find a range of antiques stalls as well as characterful cafés, shops and drinking spots. It is worth a visit any time.
8. Broadway Market
Since being relaunched in 2004, this Hackney street market is packed with arty students and East End creative types who come to fill their tote bags with organic groceries, vintage clothes, fresh flowers, coffee, books and unusual handmade gifts. Broadway Market has so many street food options, it’s practically impossible to go hungry here. The only downside is how busy its gets, especially on sunny Saturdays, so arrive early to beat the hordes.
9. Brixton Village and Market Row
Brixton is one of the capital’s most vibrant and culturally diverse neighbourhoods, and these adjacent indoor markets reflect its unique and varied flavour. In recent years they’ve become a place for food enthusiasts to come from far and wide to visit. Hungry visitors can grab a table at places serving seafood, superior pizza, Portuguese cuisine, Mexican food, Jamaican/European fusion and all manner of Caribbean delicacies. But they contain plenty for shoppers, too. A leisurely walk through the arcades reveals independent outlets selling clothing, jewellery, homeware, art, antiques and unusual gifts. Brixton Village and Market Row are open from 8am to 11.30pm every day, except for Monday, when they close early at 6pm.
10. Borough Market
Last but certainly not least, nestled next to London Bridge, this iconic food market has existed in some form since at least 1014. Although it still operates as a wholesale market in the early hours, it’s now best known as a foodie’s paradise where Londoners come to buy top-quality meats, fish, fruit and veg, fresh-baked bread, cakes and sweet treats, oils and vinegars, and pretty much anything else they desire. There’s also an amazing array of street food along with a new communal dining space The Borough Market Kitchen, and a dedicated covered area to chow down in. Borough Market is open Monday to Saturday, but you’ll find the full selection of stalls from Wednesday to Saturday.
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