Greater London can proudly boast more than 85 street markets, ranging from a few simple stalls on a Saturday morning to large covered markets that operate every day. Food, flowers, clothing, antiques, books and bric-a-brac – you’ll find everything for sale at a London market; colourful characters, cockneys, London accents and voices from all over the world mingle with the smells and sounds of exotic food, barrow boy calls and live street music. In short, it’s irresistible – a vibrant slice of London life.
There are more markets sprinkled across Greater London than we can do justice to, but here’s a rundown of the most famous and fantastic; these are the markets you simply have to visit.
- Covent Garden – the old fruit and vegetable market now hosts a smart shopping complex, with a wide range of market stalls offering crafts, fashion and souvenirs.
- Piccadilly Market – this runs six days a week in the courtyard of St James’s Church, just off Piccadilly. Go on a Monday for food, Tuesday for antiques and bric-a-brac and Wednesday to Saturday for arts and crafts.
- Farmers’ markets – Marylebone, Pimlico, South Kensington and Bloomsbury.
- The Old Truman Brewery – just off Brick Lane, this piece of London’s industrial heritage hosts a range of vintage and antique clothing sales at the weekend.
- Old Spitalfields Market – this is a brilliant intersection of fashion, vintage, crafts, design and mouth-watering food. Open six days a week.
- Petticoat Lane – one of London’s oldest surviving markets, this is the place for fashion on a budget.
- Bermondsey Antiques Market – more than 50 stalls of intriguing, weird and wonderful antique goods have given this London institution an international reputation. If you’re a serious buyer and you know your stuff, it really pays to get there early in the morning. And by early, we mean 4.00 am on a Friday morning!
- Brick Lane – there has been a market here since the 17th century. Today you will find bric-a-brac and food stalls.
- Columbia Road Flower Market – surely London’s most colourful market, come here on a summer Sunday to see the world in bloom. Glorious cut flowers and a huge range of plants and trees, all with an earful of gardening advice thrown in for free. Sundays only.
- Borough Market – open every day but Sunday, this is where London’s foodies come for their fix of all that is tasty.
Specialist ingredients, artisan produce and a plethora of tasting options mean that you’ll go home with full shopping bags and a full stomach.
- Broadway Market – as Hackney has become gentrified, Broadway market has upped its game. It’s now sells a range of mouth-watering food, vintage clothes, home-made cakes and fun fashion.
- Farmers’ markets – Broadgate, Queen Mary (Mile End).
- Brixton Market – this market has had a recent revival as foodie heaven, with more than 20 cafés and restaurants running stalls here. Open seven days a week, and until midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
- Greenwich – a great place for eclectic arts and crafts and intriguing antiques.
- Farmers’ markets – Brixton, Balham, Wimbledon and Blackheath.
- Portobello Green Market – This Is London’s biggest treasure trove of vintage clothing, accessories and jewellery. It runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but if you’re a serious fashionista get there early on a Friday morning for serious investment dressing. Buying for fun? There are more vendors and things tend to be cheaper at the weekend.
- Portobello Road – tourists and Londoners alike flock here on Saturdays and Sundays but don’t expect a bargain. Browse the stalls of amazing antiques, haggle if you want to or see if you can spot the famous blue door from the movie Notting Hill.
- Farmers’ markets – Ealing, Chiswick, Notting Hill and Parson’s Green.
- Camden Market – fashion, music, military surplus and boho attract a youthful crowd. Smell the incense, haggle over a gypsy skirt you fall in love with and then spend what you saved at one of the fantastic food stalls. Remember to check out the Stables Market for a little piece of retro heaven.
- Camden Passage – on Wednesdays and Saturdays this tiny alleyway in Islington plays host to London’s smartest antiques market. Come here on Thursdays to buy books and on Fridays for fashion and accessories.
- Exmouth Market – if you’re looking for lunch with a difference this is the place for London’s best street food. The international offerings range from Spanish to Moroccan, Gujarati to Ghanaian, Mexican, German or French. And they all taste good.
- Kerb – just north of King’s Cross Station, this relatively new food market offers a daily changing menu of superb street food from around the world.
- Farmers’ markets – Islington, Swiss Cottage, St John’s Wood and Queen’s Park