The 10 Best Markets for Your London Holiday!
A shopping paradise with everything from designer clothing to high street shopping, the London markets are definitely the real heartbeat of the capital. Why spend your London holiday shopping at a stuffy department store when you can walk around, browse through tons of goodies, eat a delicious treat from a street vendor and feel like a local? Flowers, art, vintage clothing and antiques, there is no limit to the variety of treasures you can find at the endless amount of markets scattered throughout the city.
We chose the very best London markets for you to check out on your next London adventure and we recommend you try to get at least one or two of these into your London holiday!
Situated beneath the railway on Borough High Street and running parallel to the River Thames, the Borough Market is dedicated to gourmet food. There is a huge range of delicious products on display and sellers arrive from all corners of the country to display everything from meats to vegetables, cakes to fine cheese. Our tip of the day? Come with an empty stomach! Borough Market is open Monday to Saturday.
Brick Lane Market
Another of the best markets for your London holiday, can be found at Brick Lane Market in the east of town. Located in Tower Hamlets, this market has a fun, vibrant atmosphere, street art and live street shows. It’s the place to go if you are young – or young at heart, of course;) You can find funky clothes, second hand furniture or old collectable magazines. Shop enough to work up an appetite so you can rest in one of the authentic restaurants and cafes in the market. Don’t miss out on the well known “Rib Man” who offers up a delicious selection of ribs, meaty rolls and tortilla wraps, yummy! Brick Lane is a must-see for your London holiday. Brick Lane market is open every Sunday 10am – 5pm.
Not far from Brick Lane is this beautiful flower market, which is next to the wealthy borough of Shoreditch. Colombia Market is a great place to take a stroll on a leisurely Sunday afternoon, enjoying the scent of the flowers as they blossom and admiring the collage of colors. There are also many stalls, shops and enthusiastic sellers with a huge range of garden supplies, home decor, cafes and restaurants. Columbia Market is open only on Sunday 8am – 3pm.
No London holiday is complete without a visit to The Camden Market (aka Camden Lock Market), arguably the most famous market in London. This market runs through the heart of the main road through Camden, with loads of stores/mini markets which sprawl along either side of the road. Camden itself, is said to be the city’s cultural epicenter, and is especially a breeding ground for music artists.
The likes of Amy Winehouse and Suggs from Madness are just a couple of famous icons who’ve considered Camden as their stomping ground! There are loads of music venues and infamous pubs around too. Camden Market itself is known mainly for fashion, so if you want to know the latest trend, or see a flamboyant collection of designer wear, it’s a great place to go! It’s also a good way to soak up London life and see what the locals are into! The market is open Monday to Sunday.
If you’ve time, after exploring the streets of Camden (or more to the point, any energy left!), walk over to the nearby area of Primrose Hill. This is arguably one of the most beautiful corners of London too, especially from an architectural point of view with its rows of beautifully colored Stucco buildings. It’s another area where numerous celebrities have lived over the years – Jude Law, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow and Noel Gallagher are just a few! Walk up the hill to take in a breath-taking and very memorable view over London! You’ll also recognise the area as it’s been a backdrop for many movie sets and fashion shoots.
The most unique market, from a design point of view is Covent Garden. It houses several smaller markets such as the Apple Market and the Jubilee Market. Each of these operate on specific days of the week, except for the Apple and East Colonnade markets which are open daily. As with some of the markets on this list, there is a wide selection of local handmade crafts, with everything from jewellery to leather handbags, hand-knitted clothing to handmade soaps. You can also see in Covent Garden artists of all kinds and the most incredible street performers. All of whom are extremely talented – as you’d expect from the location of this market, in the heart of London’s West End.
The market has even been featured in famous literature, such as George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which inspired the musical, My Fair Lady. The wider area is a haven for fashion lovers with all its great stores, plus there’s the famous opera house, also simply known as ‘Covent Garden’. This is also worth a visit as its recently undergone a massive renovation and make-over. All this makes for Covent Garden to be another absolute must-see for your London holiday. Covent Garden Market in open everyday, the market focuses on antiques each Monday and arts/crafts on the weekends.
One of the smaller markets in London is Maltby Market . This is a particularly nice option for foodies and anyone looking for a more local encounter. Although small in stature, the market is bursting with energy and has an excellent range of foods to sample with deli sandwiches, pastry stalls and even some delicious freshly made cocktails. Maltby Market is open weekends only, Saturday and Sunday.
Billingsgate Fish Market
This isn’t the place to go in search of souvenirs, but this fish market offers visitors a unique glimpse into how life might have looked like several hundred years ago. One of London’s longest running markets, it was once the largest in the world. The real excitement at Billingsgate Market, is the chance to see the fishmongers in action as they make their case to buyers, with their fresh catch of the day. For these reasons alone, it’s worth trying to get Billingsgate into your itinerary for your London holiday. The only downside is the early morning hours which the market is open. That being said, this adds to the fun of going in the first place! Billingsgate Market is open Tuesday to Saturday 4am – 9.30am.
The Brixton Market is a wonderful celebration of hard-working immigrants and local entrepreneurs. Although the local population has changed a lot over the years, Brixton for a while, was famous for its vibrant Afro-Caribbean community who’ve had a great influence over the area. The nice part about this, is that each market has it’s own flavor; some are dedicated to Caribbean food, others to affordable electrical items. You’ll also find local produce, Indian cuisine and second-hand clothing. It’s quite a large place which has now grown into a collection of many smaller markets. Brixton Market is open Monday to Saturday, 10am until late (except for Wednesday when it closes at 1pm).
Stoke Newington Farmers Market
Stoke Newington Farmers Market was the first of it’s kind in London, and still holds the same popularity it always had. A nice fact about the market is that it was initially established to allow the residents in Hackney to purchase local produce, which in turn brought much welcomed business to the nearby small businesses. In this colorful market, you will find all sorts of fresh organic or wild products, with salads and vegetables adding to the large selection of farm meats. Bring a basket and start roaming through the stalls! Stoke Newington Market is open every Saturday 10am – 2.30pm.
Broadway Market could probably be described as the hipster market of the list. The young and trendy crowd like to hang out in this cool market on Saturdays, sampling the cakes and catching up with friends. Naturally, as you would expect with a hipster crowd, there are many vintage stalls with modified clothing and unique boutique stalls. This new found popularity has come as music to the ears of the sellers in the area, as the market has not always prospered in recent times.
It is much smaller than almost all of the markets on this list, but perfect for anyone looking for a more youthful or trendy atmosphere to spend the afternoon. Broadway Market is a great place to include on any London itinerary. Put on your best outfit as this is where the cool kids hang! Broadway Market is open Monday to Friday 4pm until midnight, Saturday/Sunday 10am until midnight.
Let us know which of these markets is your favorite!