From antiques to gourmet food to vintage clothing, you can find it all in London’s best weekend markets. A tradition since medieval times, these colourful markets are delightfully overwhelming with hoards of people, food from all over the world and things for sale ranging from useless to rare. For me, there is no better way to spend a weekend morning than strolling through vendors, browsing through racks of handmade dresses while juggling a bag of fresh produce in one hand and a delicious spinach and feta gozleme in the other. If that’s not your cup of English tea, however, here is a little more about what some of London’s best markets can offer…
Tucked under the railway viaducts between the river Thames and Borough High Street, this market is a food lover’s paradise. Here you can join chefs, amateur cooks and people who just love to eat filling their baskets and bellies with some of the best food in London and beyond. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 130 rotating vendors offer everything from fresh falafel made with hemp seeds to white truffle oil. It sounds gourmet – and it is – but this doesn’t necessarily mean sky high prices. With so many deals and samples you can enjoy the magic of the Borough market on any budget.
Brick Lane Market(s)
Brick Lane on a Sunday is a one of a kind experience. Be sure to go hungry to this famous curry street because you’ll have a difficult time limiting yourself to just one option. In addition to the many restaurant promoters calling out irresistible deals and the outdoor market food stalls there’s also the indoor markets serving up every kind of international food imaginable. After eating your fill of pumpkin chicken curry and empanadas (and maybe a cupcake or two) its time to shop! Both of the indoor markets (located in the Old Truman Brewery) have great artwork, new fashions and vintage clothing for sale. Along Brick Lane you’ll find blankets spread on the ground selling everything from a single sweater to a pile of African Masks.
One of the most famous markets in the world, overtakes Portobello road every Saturday and attracts crowds of Londoners and tourists alike. It is probably most famous for its antiques but the market also offers much more than that. You’ll find over two miles of road lined with vendors selling fruit and veg, new goods, second hand goods, trendy fashion and plenty of great street food. The market runs right through the heart of Notting Hill, a cool area that is worth checking out any day of the week.
Funky and original, Camden market is a colourful collection of all kinds of goods and all kinds of people. The shops here are open all week and offer great shopping for those with an alternative style. They are also great if you’re looking for some cool vintage pieces. Sunday is the main market day and this is when stalls gather selling absolutely everything at good prices – especially if you’re willing to haggle. With lots of character and a freaky style, Camden market is the place to get your goth on.
A renovation a few years ago changed this market’s vibe from rough and gritty to more modern and trendy. This started a tug of war between loyal market goers as to whether the Spitalfields market is better than ever or a shadow of what it used to be. Regardless, the market holds irresistible charm and is a popular place to shop all week long with lots of quaint shops, cafés and restaurants. On Monday to Wednesday and Saturday too you’ll find just the permanent shops open, selling unique goods by individual designers. Stalls on Thursdays feature antiques and vintage, on Friday you’ll find fashion and art and the Sunday market day is the busiest with all the shops and stalls open for business.