London’s street markets are renowned the world over. No other city offers such a diverse assortment, offering everything from a pound (sorry – 0.453592 kg) of apples to exotic vegetables, antique furniture to original art. Here’s a pick of some of my favorites.
North – Camden Market
Camden Market attracts an eclectic crowd of style-conscious Londoners and tourists alike, drawn to the vintage clothes, craft and jewellery stalls, antiques and Middle Eastern textiles. Located in and around Camden Lock and the historic Grand Union Canal, Camden Market is a relative youngster, having only been going since the early 1970s.
If you’re looking for somewhere for lunch, make like a local and grab a freshly made falafel from one of the countless stalls, sit by the lock and soak up the atmosphere.
Camden Lock Place, Camden, NW1
Open: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
South – Borough Market
Borough Market, a covered food market located under the London Bridge railway, is one of the city’s largest and oldest – in fact, it’s claimed that a market has existed on the site since Roman times!
Here you’ll find organic seasonal fruit and veg, meats, fish and cheeses, local artisan products such as bread, pate, and pies, and gourmet British and international dishes.
On non-market days the area is worth a visit to see the beautiful Victorian architecture which has the added attraction of being featured in many films including Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Prisoner of Azkaban.
Borough High Street, SE1
Open: Thu 11am-5pm, Fri 12pm-6pm, Sat 8am-5pm
East – Petticoat Lane
Confusingly for those not in the know, Petticoat Lane no longer exists. Thanks to Victorian prudery, the name was changed to Middlesex Street to avoid reference to “ladies’ undergarments”. Nowadays more than a thousand stalls make up this popular East End market which attracts customers from all over the city intent on haggling for a bargain. The Sunday market is particularly well known for clothes, from second-hand vintage to surplus designer stock, with the smaller weekly market a showcase for the market “showmen”.
Middlesex St and Wentworth St, Aldgate E1
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-2.30, Sun- 9am-2pm
West – Portobello Road
Portobello Market on Portobello Road runs for approximately two miles straight through the heart of London’s fashionable Notting Hill. On a crowded Saturday it can take a good couple of hours to stroll from one end to the other. Not that you’ll want to hurry through; as well as the usual fruit and veg you’ll also find antiques, jewellery, vintage denim and some unusual food stalls. For more specialised items, the shopping arcade on Portobello Green has some unique boutiques.
Portobello Road and Portobello Green W11
Open: Saturday 8am-5pm.
Central – Covent Garden Market
Although the original vegetable market relocated to Battersea in 1974, the old market halls have been preserved and are now home to stalls selling quintessentially British merchandise. Visit the Apple Market in the covered North Hall for antiques and collectables, the Jubilee Market for clothes and jewellery, and the East Colonnade Market for crafts and gifts. When you’re done browsing, head to the Piazza to catch some of London’s best buskers.
Covent Garden WC2
Open: Mon-Sun 10am-7pm.
Whichever of London’s markets you decide to visit you’ll have fun discovering new and exotic ingredients. If you stay in a London serviced apartment with its own kitchen, you’ll be able to get cooking as soon as you get home!
This guest post was written for Travel & Leisure Group leading european timeshare resales company specialising in those looking to buy timeshare in Europe, or worldwide.