Some of the most atmospheric sites in the capital are the city’s bustling markets. From food to flowers to vintage clothing, seek out the most celebrated of these marketplaces and bazaars, where you can soak up London life and pick up a souvenir at the same time. Follow our guide to the ten best markets in London.
Just moments from London Bridge, this food market is one of London’s most visited gastronomic haunts, and rightly so, with its outstanding offering of local produce. Try the UK and Europe’s finest dairy and charcuterie, eye-up the extraordinary selection of fresh seafood, and select some handmade preserves.
Borough Market: Monday to Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday 10am-6pm, and Saturday 8am-5pm.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Whether you’re there to buy flowers or not, Columbia Road is a worthwhile Sunday excursion. Each week, this morning market fills the small street with flourishing plants and shrubs, from English roses to exotic orchids and banana trees. While you’re there, call into Columbia Road’s independent shops for stylish homewares and coffee.
Columbia Road Flower Market: Sunday 8am-3pm.
Portobello Road Market
With the accolade of being the world’s biggest antiques market, Portobello Road attracts collectors from far and wide. In fact, more than 1,000 antiques dealers gather to showcase their collection of intriguing objects. A smattering of vintage clothing and food vendors set up shop, too.
Portobello Road Market: Monday to Wednesday 9am-6pm, Thursday 9am-1pm, and Friday to Saturday 9am-7pm.
Brick Lane Market
This East London stretch is best known for its abundance of curry houses, but it’s also the setting for an atmospheric Sunday market. Hop between stalls selling retro bric-a-brac and vintage items, as well as some fresh produce. Backyard Market and Sunday UpMarket in the Old Truman Brewery are offshoots of Brick Lane Market, showcasing arts and crafts, and a gastronomic array of food vendors.
Situated in the East London neighbourhood of Hackney, Broadway Market attracts style hunters each Saturday for its fashionable offering of vintage and designer attire. The market also draws in the weekend brunch crowd with vendors offering everything from pastries and gourmet burgers to artisanal coffee.
Broadway Market: Saturday 9am-5pm.
Covent Garden Market
Within the 19th century Piazza of Covent Garden, there are three markets to explore. Take a look around the Apple Market, East Colonnade Market and Jubilee Market for handcrafted gifts, artworks, confectionary and clothes, among other diverse goods.
Covent Garden: Monday to Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, and Sunday Midday-6pm.
Dating back to 1887, Spitalfields Market has long been one of London’s best-loved markets, with the addition of new boutiques and cafes around the market’s perimeters in recent years. Find vintage wares alongside handmade crafts, and coincide your visit with Spitalfields Arts Market – held over one weekend each month – or the Saturday Style Market.
Southbank Centre Market
Another market for food lovers is set up across an outdoor space at Southbank Centre, with both street food and fresh produce to tempt passers-by. A trip to the market can be combined with further exploration of the Southbank Centre, which continually hosts cultural exhibitions and events.
Southbank Centre Market: Friday Midday-8pm, Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday and Monday Midday-6pm.
Camden Town is home to a series of markets, encompassing an astonishingly eclectic array of goods to suit all tastes. Pick up some vintage clothes, handmade jewellery, music, or bric-a-brac. The market around Camden Lock features designers and artists, with a selection of international food vendors, too.
Maltby Street Market
Each weekend a gastronomic feast is set up beneath the railway arches of Bermondsey, with a street market stretch called the Ropewalk. Food vendors range from seafood and cured meat producers to local artisans selling their baked goods and homemade pickles and preserves. Aside from being able to sample local produce, visitors can pick up a gourmet coffee.
Ropewalk: Saturday 9am-4pm, Sunday 11am-4pm.
Get to know London a little more by taking a tour around the city’s most famous sites.
Header image: Borough Market © erasmus / iStock.