The Best Markets In London
As one of the shopping meccas of the world, London is home to every type of shop and label imaginable, from the flag ship high street stores of Oxford Street to the tailors along Saville Row and the eclectic boutiques in Camden Passage. Whatever your interests are, one of the best ways to experience London’s vibrant shopping scene is at the various markets around the city. These are just some of my favourites:
To truly get a feel for how multicultural London is, you’ve got to visit Brixton and namely, Brixton Market. Featuring temporary market stalls on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as permanent markets within Brixton Village and Market Row, Brixton is always a buzz with different things to do and more importantly, eat. Caribbean cuisine is a stand out in the area, but you can also find food from all over the world including Japan, Cuba, Italy, France, Mexico and more. There are also independent clothing and homewares boutiques, and cocktail bars within the village and market row too, while on Sunday the street becomes home to a farmers market.
Closest tube station: Brixton
Columbia Road Flower Market
If you’ve ever wandered around east London on a Sunday to find locals carrying bunches of flowers, chances are those flowers have been snapped up at the Columbia Road Flower Market. One of east London’s most popular Sunday morning activities, the flower market is filled with the latest seasonal blooms, ranging from peonies in spring to dahlias in autumn. To see it all in action, the best thing to do is arrive early (between 9 to 11 ideally), bring cash, and, once you’ve bargained with one of the classically east London stall owners, head for a coffee or brunch at one of the nearby independent cafes. Do be warned though, the market is so popular that you will end up being in a traffic jam of people for much of the experience, so if you don’t like crowds this one isn’t for you.
Closest tube station: Bethnal Green
Undoubtedly London’s most famous market, Borough Market is THE place to visit to taste the best of London. Dating all the way back to 1851, the stalls at Borough Market range from fresh fruit and vegetables to seafood, flowers, baked goods and food trucks. One of the stand outs though are the various cheese stalls available, and yes the market is incredibly generous when it comes to offering samples. The market is open from 10am till 5pm Monday through Saturday. To make the most of our visit, visit on Wednesday through to Saturday when all of the market stalls are open, arrive before midday to avoid the crowds and bring cash with you as it’s pretty impossible to visit without wanting to buy something.
Closest tube station: London Bridge
Maltby Street Market
While Borough Market is a fantastic place to visit, it’s mainly for the tourist crowds. Instead, more locals head to nearby Maltby Street Market. Much newer and smaller than Borough Market and also relatively crowd free, Maltby Street is a fantastic place to head for lunch with delicious stalls and food trucks serving everything from fresh smoothies to cheese toasties, German sausages and exotic burgers. Be sure to leave some room for dessert as the Bad Brownie stall here, in my opinion, is where you’ll find the best brownies in London. Surrounding the market is also a range of gin bars, wineries and antique stalls, so it’s a fantastic place to head for a bite to eat followed by a leisurely drink.
Closest tube station: Bermondsey
If ever you find yourself in London on a rare yet sunny Saturday, you should make your way to Broadway Market in Hackney. The east London market is the perfect place to go for a stroll, find something delicious for lunch and take it for a picnic in London Fields just nearby. Reflective of east London’s colourful and multicultural community, Broadway Market features delicious cuisine ranging from Vietnamese to French, Japanese and even Scottish grilled cheese sandwiches. Be sure to make room for some baked goods too; Claire Ptak who is making the royal wedding cake began her bakery, Violet Bakery, with a stall at Broadway Market. The market is also surrounded by unique boutiques, restaurants and bars, making it the perfect place to spend a leisurely Saturday.
Closest tube station: Cambridge Heath overground station
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market is most famous for being the largest antique market in the world but, depending on the day, it’s also home to fashion, bric-a-brac, fruit and vegetable, and food market stalls too. All of these items are available on the Saturday, the most popular day for the market, and also the busiest. If you visit on this day, be prepared for large crowds. If you’re serious about antique shopping though, it’s best to visit on Fridays when the antique stalls are open but the crowds are slightly lesser. Be warned, Portobello Road’s popularity has meant that parts of it have become a tourist trap in recent years. When shopping, be sure to look around at multiple stores before making a purchase and don’t be afraid to bargain. Also keep your eyes on your bags at all times as pickpockets are common in the area.
Closest tube station: Notting Hill Gate