Perhaps one of the greatest things about a city like London is the number of street markets all over the city. Each borough seems to have its own commercial thoroughfare that’s filled with produce, street food, vintage clothes, antiques, and more. Whether you intend to buy anything or not, you can spend a wonderful afternoon perusing the stalls and shops of London’s street markets encountering items and people. We’ve outlined our top ten favorite street markets below, and you can feel free to let us know your own favorites in the comments.
Alfies Antique Market
As you might expect from the name, Alfies is full of stores that mainly focus on antiques from furniture to bric-a-brac. The market has over 75 specialist dealers, so if you’re looking for something specific odds are good you’ll find it there. Alfies Antique Market is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM, and if you get lucky, chances are good you can encounter a well-known designer or celebrity.
Columbia Road Flower Market
You might not be able to take anything home with you from this market, but the Columbia Road Flower Market is the largest of its kind in London. Lined with any number of flowers, cacti, buds, ferns, and more, the flower market even has a small number of non-floral items such as baked goods, pots, art, and even vintage clothes. As with some other entries on this list, the market is only open one day a week, from 8 AM until 3 PM on Sundays.
Acting as a border of sorts between Haggerston and Cambridge Heath, Broadway Market is one example of how London’s markets have changed over time. When it began in 1800, it was primarily a produce market, but since the late 20th Century, has branched out to include street food, vintage clothing, and other hand-made items. The market only opens on Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM, so you should make a plan to head out to Hackney if you want to see it.
Brick Lane Market
Like Broadway Market, most of the activity at Brick Lane Market only takes place one day a week, on Sunday, though the shops that line the street are open every day. Whether you’re visiting the stalls or any of the unique shops, you’re likely to find items here that exist nowhere else and at some bargain prices. Of course, the top reason to visit is the fantastic array of street food.
Portobello Road Market
The Portobello Road Market is as colorful as Notting Hill and one of the best representations of that part of London. While it has a little bit of everything, the market is mostly known today for the wide variety of antiques, and while not as specialized as Alfies, it has a culture all its own. Hours can vary depending on the day and the market’s main days are Friday and Saturday, though it operates on a smaller scale throughout the week and only closes on Sunday.
Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market is actually two markets, the Apple Market and the East Colonnade Market. The Apple Market was once one of the city’s best produce markets but now focuses on jewelry, handbags, clothing, and other unique hand-made fashions. The East Colonnade Market also offers a number of craft items and unique stalls. The markets are open from 10 AM to 6 PM Monday to Saturday and 11 AM to 6 PM on Sunday.
Old Spitalfields Market
Many of London’s current markets are hundreds of years old, but their current buildings were constructed during the 1800s. None show off this classic Victorian look quite like Old Spitalfields Market. The Homer Square and Home Buildings are Grade II listed, and the interior is full of stalls selling bespoke items as well as tasty cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Greenwich Market is one of the most eclectic in the city; it is also one of the most historic. Part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, the market is arguably the most fashionable of London’s street markets, full of designer and unique fashions and crafts. Greenwich Market is open seven days a week from 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
Brixton Village and Market Row
Brixton Market is the best of both worlds in that it comprises both a street market and an arcade of shops. The market began in 1870 and today plays host to any number of stalls and shops selling seemingly everything from food to vinyl records. It’s also one of the most colorful markets in London and is open every day from 8 AM to 11:30 PM.
Saving the best for last, Camden Market is the most celebrated in London and certainly the largest, partly because it’s comprised of several markets throughout the Camden area. Camden Lock Market, Stables Market, Buck Street Market, the Electric Ballroom, and the Inverness Street Market sell just about everything under the sun out of stalls and shops. It’s not unbelievable to think you could spend all day here and even all night as some places such as the Electric Ballroom turn into clubs after the shops close.