Top 5 markets to visit in London
In a city like London, you simply cannot miss out on the famous markets, where you can easily spend a full day shopping, browsing and finding some seriously good bargains. In my experience, I can assure you that some of the goods you’ll find will be authentically curious, exotic and beautiful. Items that you wont find anywhere else, and ones that you'll cherish as a precious memory of a fabulous city.
The problem is that like most things in this great city, there is such a wide variety of choices on offer. With markets for all tastes, some with designer clothes, others with food, antiques and others specialising in music, how can you decide which is for you? With the aim of making your life easier, I have decided to draw up a list of the best 5 markets in London, with their respective schedules and the goods offered by each of them.
PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET, WEST LONDON
· Opening : Saturdays from 8am to 5pm
· Underground Station : Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove
Silverware and vintage clothing are the specialties on display here. Also in the market of Portobello Road, you can find works of art and anything else related to the antiquarian.
Every Saturday, the famous flea market on Portobello Road, perhaps the largest antique market in the world, displays its goods in the London borough of Notting Hill.
The prices of the goods vary and even if you do not find your bargain buy, the visit will have been worth it, since it is always very lively and has a fantastic atmosphere. It's a unique experience; in fact even if it's just strolling through the parades and observing the objects and trinkets that have past histories to unravel, then you would have spent a fulfilling day in London.
Nearby is also the Notting Hill Market, with milk, cheeses, yoghurts, fresh fruit and many other delicious specialties displayed at stops outside the subway station.
CAMDEN TOWN MARKET, NORTH LONDON
· Opening : Everyday, but Saturdays & Sundays are when every stall is open & the crowds draw in from 10am to 6pm usually.
· Underground Station : Camden Town or Chalk Farm Station ( Camden Town is closed for entry between 1pm & 5pm on Sundays), so if you finish up in the markets early, you wont be able to access the underground here.
. Web: http://www.camdenlock.net/
This is without doubt the most extravagant market on offer, and one of the largest in the world, with a mixture of all kinds of tastes and a theatre of people and things to photograph. This is the place to people watch, and take great photographs. You will see people buying goods & sitting in the cafeterias deep in conversation,or simply walking and hunting for novelty gifts and antiques. Punk rockers and music fans with giant rainbow coloured mohawks and leather jackets also occupy the streets of Camden. It really is a spectacle.
This is the Camden Town marketplace: colourful and eccentric. In its 5 zones (some open air, others indoors) food can be eaten in kitchens from all over the world, from China to Mexico, Italy to Morocco. You’ll come across stops and shops of all kinds and there’s something for everyone to buy.
From retro clothes, to handmade items, memorabilia for Beatles fans, records, furniture from around the world or historical and might I add, strange clothing.
Now I’ll tell you a little about the three markets that I have highlighted above, so that you have an idea of what you can find in each one. The Camden Market specialises in alternative clothing, jewellery and accessories; The Camden Lock Market on the other hand, offers fashionable clothing, textiles and accessories, and in the Camden Stables Market - in my opinion the most varied and visual of the three, you will find paintings, statues and vintage clothing, as well as antiques and souvenirs.
COVENT GARDEN MARKET, CENTRAL LONDON
· Opening : from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm
· Underground station : Covent Garden or Leicester Square
. Web: http://www.coventmarket.com/
The Covent Garden Market takes place in the city centre. It’s world famous, expensive, but it's also unmissable.
Every day, thousands of people visit the Covent Garden Market, not only for the goods and fashionable objects there, but because this is the oldest covered market in the heart of London and is a real theatre of talent and artists: There are more than 200 people, including artisans, singers, acrobats, tenors, painters and many other professional street performers who entertain those that flock to one of London's most famous markets.
All this for free! You can’t go too far wrong here.
BOROUGH MARKET, CENTRAL LONDON
· Opening : every Friday from 12pm to 6pm and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm
· Underground station : London Bridge
. Web: http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/
The delicatessen and food lovers cannot miss this wonderful market near London Bridge to Market Borough, one of the largest food markets in London, where all tastes are catered for.
Among the stops are fresh and tasty local products but also specialties, often cooked and served at that moment, from all corners of the globe.
The market itself incorporates a glass cover and cast iron columns - a work of art itself - and although the earliest historiographical references of the date of its existence go back to 1276, according to tradition, it was born several centuries earlier.
The quality of the products is of the highest standard, from freshly baked bread to countless selections of cheeses and other delicacies.
OLD SPITALFIELDS FLEA MARKET/BRICK LANE MARKET, EAST LONDON
· Opening : Monday to Friday from 11am to 3pm, Sunday from 10am to 5pm
· Subway stop : Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East ·
Perhaps not as super famous like the others, this old flea market remains a historic covered market, where antiques come at bargain prices with increasingly popular and trendy restaurants and boutiques offering the best new finds in the city. It is a covered market where you can find practically everything from antiques, through to clothes of young designers and delicious restaurants to take a break and eat at. Probably the most remarkable thing about this market is the price of antiques, where authentic bargains are frequently unearthed, and specialised ornaments and accessories haggled for.
Not far from Spitalfields Market, we find Brick Lane Market, another famous London market which is in the same area as the first. Therefore, if you only spend one day visiting the markets, I recommend you go to these two, because of their proximity to each other, their history and great variety of products for shopping.
The Old Spitalfields Flea Market is located on Aldgate East between Brushfield Street and Lamb Street. Thursdays are dedicated to vintage, and Fridays to clothing and accessories.
London is the most visited city in the world for good reason, and our markets are one of them. Make this a priority on your trip to "the big smoke", and you will immerse yourself in with the locals, and really feel like your part of our great city.
P.S Columbia Flower market - its a flower market every Sunday until around 3pm. It's crazy busy, but if you're with us for a while it's a must!
More to follow on that :)
Hayley heads up the site, Map MyAdventure. She's originally a London girl, but has lived and worked in the Maldives, Thailand and Australia, after leaving behind her 10 year career in Corporate Banking for her passion for travel. She is obsessed with the ocean & not so secretly wishes she was a mermaid. You'll find her doing what she loves; exploring beautiful places.