Shop 'til You Drop in London
Posted by September 18, 2014in Travelon
Though London is rich in history, sometimes a traveler wants to explore what’s going on today in the city. One way to do this in London is to explore the wide-ranging and exhilarating network of markets. Here are ten to get you started:
Portobello Road Market: This large, wandering market is more like a few markets rolled into one. Though most well-known for its antiques, which start near the Notting Hill end, there are also food stalls and designer and vintage clothing stalls, as well. The market is open Monday-Saturday, but the best days to go are Friday and Saturday for clothes and antiques.
Tube (Subway) stations: Ladbroke Grove or Notting Hill Gate.
Alfie’s Antiques: This huge indoor market is comprised of over 600 stalls with furniture, clothing, accessories, and home goods mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries. It also has a rooftop café that is popular with shoppers. Open Tuesday-Saturday.
Tube stations: Marylebone or Edgware Road.
Camden Market: Open Thursday-Sunday, the best days for tourists to visit are weekdays for new and vintage clothing. If you’re brave, it’s rowdier on the weekends, but makes for a great experience. In addition to clothing, you’ll find crafts, antiques, accessories, and multicultural food stalls any day of the week.
Tube station: Camden Town.
Lower Marsh Market: This market is one of the oldest in London, boasting a history that goes back to Victorian times. Today, the market offers a great selection of women’s clothing and jewelry, both new and vintage. Open Monday-Saturday.
Tube station: Waterloo.
Food and Flowers:
Borough Market: Whether you’re a student studying abroad in London or a traveler visiting for the week, this market is the perfect way to get a taste of London. Borough Market dates back to the 13th century when traders sold fish, grain, vegetables, and livestock here. Today, it’s still a great place to buy the essentials, though now this includes teas, breads, fruits, veggies, and everything you can imagine. The non-essentials are there, too, including gourmet cakes and other pastries. It’s a great place for grocery shopping or a bite to eat. Open for lunch Monday and Tuesday, full market Wednesday-Saturday.
Tube station: London Bridge.
Columbia Road Flower Market: Even if you’re not going to buy anything, this market is still worth a visit. Every Sunday, this market is overflowing with baskets of plants, flowers, shrubs, and freshly-cut bouquets. There are also shops selling gardening accessories, pottery, and other knick knacks. It’s only open from 8am-3pm, so take advantage while you can.
Tube stations: Old Street.
Odds & Ends:
Brick Lane Market: If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, then Brick Lane Market is the place to go. Several small markets are included in the larger area of Brick Lane Market, selling everything from tools and home goods to vinyl records and handmade crafts. You can find excellent indie clothes and accessories, as well as multicultural food. Brick Lane is worth a visit simply for the experience. Open Sunday from 8am-2pm.
Tube station: Aldgate East.
Broadway Market: Though considered mostly a food market, Broadway also offers some unique clothing, books, gifts, furniture, and other knick knacks in between some of the best-priced and specialty food items you’ll find in London. It’s all top-quality food at reasonable prices, from artisan cheeses, to organic meats and vegetables. You can grab a snack while you browse vintage clothes stalls. Open Saturday from 9am-5pm.
Tube station: Bethnal Green.
Covent Garden Market: If you don’t know what you want, but you’re itching to spend some money, head over to Coven Garden. This market is different than the others due to its more modern feel, but that only adds to the experience. The market is located in a glass-roofed Piazza building supported by columns. There are shops like Aveda, the Disney Store, and Mulberry, but the Apple Market and the Jubilee Market are also located here. Both sell items geared towards tourists, though depending on the day, you might find more clothing, art, house wares, or cigars. Open Monday-Sunday.
Tube station: Covent Garden or Charing Cross.
Greenwich Market: This market has everything from art to beauty salons to a bicycle shop. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are antique and collectible days, when 40 vendors come in and set up stalls for the shoppers to browse. You can find clothes and jewelry at Greenwich, as well as handmade crafts, and you can even get a massage. Open Tuesday-Sunday.
Tube station: Canary Wharf, take Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Stark Station.
No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it in a London market. Happy shopping!