London street markets are world-renowned and a fantastic way to get right under the skin of this diverse city. Have fun discovering a variety of stalls at numerous flea markets, antiques markets, and vintage fashion markets. Meet enthusiastic stall-holders offering everything from retro furniture to hand made crafts. Then finish your day by enjoying a delicious bite to eat from one of the numerous organic street food stands that are very in vogue right now.
Here are our favourites…
Alfies Antiques Market is London’s largest indoor market. It’s a vertiable treasure trove where you can buy a huge range of antique and retro goods from the 20th century, including vintage fashion and accessories, modernist furniture, costume jewellery and 20th century decorative arts.
Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce. It is a haven for anybody who cares about the quality and provenance of the food they eat – chefs, restaurateurs, passionate amateur cooks and people who just happen to love eating and drinking.
Brick Lane Market is a chaotic, bustling artistic hub which attracts a lot of young Londoners in search of second-hand furniture, unusual clothes and bric-a-brac. Finish your day with an inexpensive Sunday lunch in one of the many ethnic restaurants and cafes lining the street, which include authentic Jewish bagel shops and Bangladeshi curry houses.
Brixton Market is a community market run by local traders. It’s on a wide pedestrianised road near the tube, a street dotted with cafés and music sellers, with traders offering street food from around the world. Most of the time there are about 80 street traders, selling everything from saucepans and cheese graters to shoes, pineapples and kids’ toys. On weekdays there is food stalls. At weekends there’s a different kind of market each Saturday. And once in a while there are one-off events to bring even more people into Brixton.
Broadway Market on Saturdays is a kaleidoscope of tastes and cultures: stalls, shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes offering some of the best food and most original clothing in London all crammed into a little East End street between the Regent’s Canal and London Fields. Find organic meat, fruit and vegetables; fresh fish and smoked salmon and oysters; delicious bread, cakes and cheese. Scour the clothes racks for vintage bargains – then head to the lingerie stall for something small and expensive to wear beneath.
Camden Lock Market, by the canal, was the original craft market, established in 1974, but now has a much wider spectrum of goods on sale. Both this and the ever popular Camden Stables Market – centre of the alternative fashion scene, Camden (Buck Street) Market, the recently improved Camden Lock Village and Inverness Street Market – which thrived on local trade long before tourists discovered Camden, are all open every day, making the area well worth a mid-week visit. But it is at the weekend that the market scene jumps fully into life with all stalls and shops at the markets fully trading. The indoor fashion market at the Electric Ballroom opens on Sunday only.
Columbia Road flower market and shops are open on Sundays from 8am ’til 3’ish come rain, wind or shine and even on Easter Sunday. Columbia Road is in the East End sitting on the edge of the city with Shoreditch to the west and Brick Lane and Spitalfields nearby. On Sunday the street is transformed into oasis of foliage and flowers. A lot of the flower sellers grow their own plants or import flowers from around the world.
Discover London’s only historic market set within a World Heritage site. Surrounded by independent and boutique shops and a well established designer-maker trend means you are sure to find something different. Enjoy a relaxing day out with a great choice of take away food from the market and a range of gastro pubs, restaurants, cafes and wine bars within an easy stroll.
Old Spitalfields Market is renowned for its cutting-edge fashion. Contemporary or classic, you’ll be spoilt for choice with some of the best names in the Capital. Located just five minutes’ walk from Liverpool Street Station, Old Spitalfields market is the perfect shopping destination. Open seven-days-per-week, the impressive array of shops and stalls draws in shoppers from all over the South East.
Petticoat Lane Market is a fashion and clothing market in the East End of London. It consists of two adjacent street markets. Wentworth Street Market is open six days a week and Middlesex Street Market is open on Sunday only. Petticoat Lane Market continues to be one of Britain’s oldest surviving markets and an international tourist attraction on a Sunday. Operating since the 1750s, it’s named after the petticoats and lace once sold there by the Huguenots who came to London from France, cementing the East End’s association with the textiles industry.
Portobello Road Market is the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectible. Visitors flock from all over the world to discover one of London’s best loved landmarks which contains the most extensive selection of antiques in Britain.
This article is part of our series of London Guides.