Old Spitalfields Market
Nestled in the heart of the city, in the shadow of Christ Church, Old Spitalfields Market offers the perfect antidote to out-of-town shopping malls. The stalls in the old covered market are the place to look for something original, of excellent quality and value for money. Sundays are busiest, with over 200 stalls operating, including a specialist organic market. On weekdays between 11:00 and 16:00 the markets’ varied stalls are quieter, except at lunchtime, when the choice of eating places attracts the young City crowd. On Thursdays, over 50 young designers show their work at the Fashion Market.
Tube: Liverpool Street.
Petticoat Lane is London’s world famous Sunday market and sells mainly clothes – for men, women and children, from street-cred clubwear to over-orders of designer goods and last year’s must-haves. One of its specialities is leather wear and there’s bric-a-brac and household goods too. The market is held in and around Middlesex Street (there is no Petticoat Lane any more) and is open from 09:00-14:00 on Sundays, with a smaller market open from Monday-Friday.
Tube: Liverpool Street.
The famous Portobello Road antiques and flea market in Notting Hill takes place every Saturday from 08:00-18:00 although there are stalls from Monday-Friday, too. On Saturday, it’s huge, with over 2,000 stalls, selling everything from books to bric-a-brac and lace to Limoges – even fashion and exotic cooking ingredients are on sale. (This is the place to shop-and-eat and then shop some more.) The market runs from Chepstow Villas to just under the Westway.
Tubes: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove.
Camden Market is actually several markets wrapped into one fun, funky canalside shopping experience. On sale are crafts, bric-a-brac, clothes, health foods and antiques. It is a place to pick up outrageous retro clothing, creative clubwear and even silly souvenirs. There’s Camden Lock Market, The Stables Market and Camden Canal Market, where you can find a wide variety of goods including clothes, crafts, antiques and jewellery. The best days to go are Saturday and Sunday from 08:00-18:00 – as long as you don’t mind crowds; there is a smaller number of shops and stalls open on weekdays.
Tube: Camden Town or Chalk Farm.
Greenwich Market sells a variety of traditional, hand-crafted goods. The craft market is held at College Approach and the antiques market is off Greenwich High Road. All the markets are open at the weekend from around 09:00-17:00.
Tube: Cutty Sark
Rail station: Greenwich
Leadenhall Market is a restored Victorian covered market that sells traditional game, poultry, fish and meat. It’s open Monday-Friday from 07:00-16:00 and the best time to visit is early lunchtime. It is found in Whittington Avenue, off Gracechurch Street, close to the Lloyds of London building and the Bank of England.
Otherwise known as London’s Larder, Borough Market boasts a mouth-watering range of fresh food stalls under its Dickensian wrought-iron roof. Italian cheeses, Morecambe Bay shrimps, Spanish foods and much more. Atmospheric, lively and mouth-watering it’s a definite must on a Saturday morning. It’s a foodie’s paradise! Open 12:00-18:00 Fridays, 09:00-16:00 Saturdays.
Tube: London Bridge
Berwick Street Market
Berwick Street Market sells fruit, vegetables, fabrics and some clothes and household items. It’s open Monday-Saturday 09:00-18:00 and the best time to visit is lunchtime. Berwick Street is in the heart of Soho, the centre of London’s media industry and a prime eating and entertainment area.
Tube: Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road
Columbia Road Market
Chic little boutiques line this historic street, which every Sunday is filled with flower stalls. As well as cut flowers, there are topiary trees, pot plants, bulbs and bouquets on sale, and everything to cater for that English obsession, gardening. The market is open from 08:00-14:00 and there are plenty of chic cafes and authentic sea-food stalls to refresh you.
Tube: Liverpool Street/Aldgate East
Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Market is pure East End London, which means Jewish bagel shops, Bangladeshi curry houses, Indian sari silks – and Cockneys crying out their wares. This chaotic, bustling market is half way between jewel and junk heap. It attracts lots of young Londoners, in search of second-hand furniture, unusual clothes and bits of this-and-that. They’ll finish with an inexpensive Sunday lunch (probably curry) in a local restaurant. The market is open Sunday early morning to around 14:00.
Tube: Liverpool Street/Whitechapel/Aldgate East