There are loads of markets in London, as every area has its own, and there’s a huge variety too. Local street markets often sell household goods and clothes as well as food made in the nearby area. You’ll find farmer’s markets appearing in some areas too, where you can buy produce from the counties around the city. You’ll be able to pick up a bargain in a second-hand flea market and other markets specialise in antiques, fashion or food, so you really can take your pick! I’ll make a few recommendations below, but the best way to find a hidden gem is to take a chance and visit one.
For foodies: Borough Market
Running in some form since 1041, iconic Borough Market has a huge selection of food and drink from the local area, the UK and abroad. There are stalls that specialise in cheese, meat, fish, vegetables, oils, the list goes on! There are also plenty of street food stalls selling delicious hot meals from all around the world. The focus here is on quality, so don’t expect to get a bargain, but it’s a really great place to wander round and soak up the historic atmosphere. Borough Market is open from Monday to Saturday, but you’ll find the most stalls from Thursday. Take the Northern Line to London Bridge station and follow the signs.
A bit of everything: Brick Lane Market
This market is now known as the Truman Market (it takes place in the old brewery of the same name) and incorporates 5 markets, each with a slightly different flavour:
· Upmarket (Sundays only) – vintage clothes, fashion, and jewellery by established designers. Street food from all around the world.
· The Vintage Market – you’ll find bric-a-brac and collectibles from the last 100 years for sale here.
· The Tea Rooms – selling furniture and antiques from charming little stalls.
· The Boiler House Food Hall – over 30 stalls selling international street food.
· Ely’s Yard – more street food options including takeaway versions from local restaurants.
There’s a huge variety of stalls here and those that don’t have a stall put their items on blankets and rugs on the ground. Brick Lane Market is open on Saturday and Sunday 11am – 6pm. Take the tube to Aldgate East or Liverpool Street and look for Brick Lane.
The tourist magnet: Camden Market
This market attracts over 250,000 visitors a week, so it’s always very busy but it still has the authentic, slightly grungy atmosphere it’s always had. There are some really nice little areas here and it’s worth exploring.
Buck Street Market is located under the huge “Camden Market” sign and sells mostly touristy things like t-shirts and souvenirs, but you can find some more interesting items here if you look carefully.
Camden Stables Market is trendier. You’ll find eclectic furniture, unusual gifts and subculture clothing.
Camden Lock Market specialises in arts and crafts, as well as scarves, custom trainers and fairtrade jewellery and clothing. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan street food options here.
For the antiques fan: Alfie’s Antique Market
I doubt many of you are keen on buying antiques, but this could be a nice way to pass a rainy day. Alfie’s antique market has been running in a huge Egyptian-style art-deco building for over 40 years and there are 4 floors of antique furniture, vintage clothing, jewellery, and memorabilia. You can also find paintings, photographs, and sculptures here; if it’s dry, why not finish off your day with refreshments on the roof terrace? Alfie’s is open from 10am-6pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Take the tube to Edgware Road or Marylebone and follow your map app from there.
For the tourist-avoider: Maltby Street Market
Sick of the crowds? This little food market has only been running since 2010 so it’s not very well-known. Maltby Street Market specialises in food and drink, so you’ll find loads of interesting ingredients, fresh produce, and craft beers. There’s plenty of street food to choose from so you won’t go hungry! Maltby Street Market is open from 9am -5pm on Saturdays and 11am-5pm on Sundays. Take the tube to Bermondsey and use your maps app from there.