Hustling, bustling markets rich in hidden treasures – and colourful characters – are deeply woven into the tapestry of English culture. London alone has more than 250 street markets and the scene is only going get better, thanks to keen support from the city’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
With historic markets more alive than ever and major investment into market regeneration under way, the city's vibrant markets are a must-do if you’re visiting London. Let’s take a walk through some of the best market experiences on offer...
Authentic World Flavours at Borough Market
Chow down on the mouth-watering griddled Spanish Alejandro chorizo buns at Brindisa Spanish Foods, Borough Market. Spiced with paprika oil and complemented by silky red capsicum and peppery rocket, these Borough Market favourites are worth queuing for. Yes, you may have to. But oh, those buns.
While often crowded, Borough Market is something you don’t want to miss. It’s London’s oldest food market, having existed in one form or another for around 1,000 years and is today unofficially known as London’s Larder. More than a foodie’s paradise and the place to go for specialty ingredients, Borough Market is a dynamic gathering place for people with an active interest in what we eat and where it comes from. The conversation here is as good as the food.
Where: Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London. Nearest Tube: London Bridge
Gorgeous and Green at Columbia Road Flower Market
Tiptoe through tulips, lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, hippeastrums and more at the spectacularly colourful and fragrant Columbia Road Flower Market. One of the best places to go on a sunny Sunday morning in London, Columbia Road is a delight for the senses, overflowing with buckets of cut flowers and everything related to gardening. This Victorian street is also lined with boutique and vintage shops, as well as cupcake shops, cafes and delis.
Where: Columbia Road Flower Market, Columbia Road, London. Nearest Tube: Old Street
All Things Eclectic at Camden Lock Market
Soak up the street culture at Camden Lock Market on a Saturday. One of the world’s most famous markets and also one of London’s first crafts and antiques markets, Camden Lock Market is still the place to go for artisan creativity. Not to mention skull rings, lava lamps and Dr. Martens. It’s a great place to pick up some super cheap jeans, classic vinyl or find a true vintage treasure. Keep an eye out for ageing punk rockers.
Where: Camden Lock Market, 32 Camden Lock Pl, London. Nearest train stations: Camden Town, Chalk Farm, Camden Road.
Finders, Keepers at Portobello Road
Nab yourself an antique treasure at Portobello Road. A market since the 1800s, Portobello Road in Notting Hill is hugely popular with locals and tourists alike. Although famous for its outstanding array of antiques, Portobello Road is in fact several markets in one and includes fashion and bric-a-brac, as well as plenty of food stalls. Saturday is the day when all markets are in full swing so if you want atmosphere, this is the day to go. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a collector, you may well become one after poring over Portobello’s historic gems.
Where: Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill. Nearest Tube stations: Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill Gate, Westbourne Park
On-Trend Design at Spitalfields
Discover one of London’s future fashion stars at Spitalfields’ Saturday Style Market. Lying in the heart of the East End, Spitalfields is known for its spirit and strong sense of community – characteristics that still come through in today’s revamped destination. While now a busy seven-days-a-week precinct complete with upmarket shops and restaurants, the real star of the show is the Saturday Style Market. Many of the market’s 100+ stalls are run by London’s up-and-coming fashion designers, making Spitalfields the go-to for a bit of cool-hunting. Open every Saturday from 11am to 5pm.
Where: Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, Spitalfields. Nearest Tube station: Liverpool Street Station
*Featured image: Getty