The Best Markets in London and Where to Find Them
From flowers to food to one-of-a-kind antiques, here's all you need to know about London's much-loved markets.
Amongst London's most charming features are its markets and outdoor shopping areas. They're a great place to explore, socialise and really embrace the atmosphere of the city. From one to the next, you'll find everything from unique antiques to award-winning street food, so there's sure to be something that catches your eye. We here at Plum Guide know that finding out which ones you should visit can take (too much) time, so we've done all the hard work for you. Here's our list of the very best markets in London. Enjoy...which, of course, you will.
For photos that will make your friends and family back home swoon, don’t miss weekly Sunday flower market Columbia Road. Located in East London's Shoreditch, this bountiful outdoor market set on the charming cobbled street from which it takes its name sells bulbs, herbs, shrubs, succulents, houseplants and bucketfuls of freshly cut, boldly colourful flowers. Once you’ve collected your share of flora - a great bouquet makes the perfect addition to your luxurious Plum Guide flat like The Easton Gate, hint hint - make sure to check out the adorable shops and cafes behind the flower stands. Plum tip: arrive early to beat the crowds or come late for the best deals.
A hop, skip and a jump from Columbia Road, Brick Lane also comes alive on Sundays with stalls popping up on the sidewalks featuring everything from household goods to bargain produce. Nearby Backyard Market is great for arts and crafts and both the Boiler House Food Hall and Sunday Upmarket sell delicious street food and drinks. With vintage bric-a-brac on offer at The Tea Rooms, Brick Lane’s numerous Sunday market stalls really have something for everyone (even your fussy partner, trust us).
Close to London Bridge (which you can assure your worried children is not actually falling down), is Borough Market. One of the oldest food markets in the city dating back to 1014, Borough is also among the best markets in London (and one of the best things to do in London too). Although it does still operate as a wholesale spot very early in the morning, it’s now a real destination for foodies, with incredible and diverse street food on offer alongside take-home wares like bread, cakes, fresh fish, meat, fruit and veg (a perfect place to shop if you want to cook in). Thanks to a covered area complete with ample seating, you don’t have to worry about your lunch getting wet if it rains. Although open Monday - Saturday, it’s best to visit on Wednesday - Saturday as that’s when the full array of stalls are open. Make sure to come early if you don’t want to be queuing too long for your oysters, koshari or decadent cheese toastie.
Relaunched in 2004, Broadway Market in Hackney is where hipsters go to get fed and without a doubt one of the best markets in London. So if you’re one of those parents who feed their kids kale chips instead of pringles, you’re sure to fit right in. On Saturdays between 9am and 5pm, the market becomes a sort of pilgrimage spot for East End creatives and local students browsing the organic produce, vintage fashion, flowers, and artisan gifts with a craft coffee from the market in hand. Another great spot for street food, it gets especially busy on sunny days so come early or buy a book to read while you’re waiting for your lunch. Stay close to the action in cool Plum home, The Debut. This home, with its impressive kitchen, is one of our best homes for foodies in London.
A daily covered market just opposite Liverpool Street station, Old Spitalfields offers great shopping and even better eating. Whether you’re after contemporary and vintage clothing, homeware or unique toys for the little ones, you’re sure to find something special here to take back home as a souvenir of jolly London Town. There is also delicious grub in these parts including Okko for Japanese food, El Ganso Cafe for Japanese/South American fusion, Franco Manca for their famous sourdough crust pizza and Stories for brunch and cocktails galore. Plum tip: Visit on a Thursday when Old Spitalfields Antiques Market, one of the best markets in London, takes place for extra collectibles and objets d’art.
Relive your brief punk phase with a spin around Camden Market, which runs from just outside the Camden Town tube stop to nearby Regent’s Canal. The stalls here are open daily and feature everything from kitsch souvenirs, to biker jackets, art, music and street food. This is London’s fourth most popular visitor attraction so don’t expect to browse the wares on offer on your own. It's one of London's most unique things to do for visitors too. In the Camden Lock Market section, check out the funky arts-and-crafts or head to the Stables Market area which sells items from furniture to fetish gear (we know some of you are…adventurous). For touristy keychains and t-shirts, which let’s be honest is what your children are going to want even though they’ll never use them, check out the Street Market on Camden High Street.
Interior design enthusiasts must be sure to stop at a cashpoint before making their way to Portobello Road, one of the best markets in London and the world’s largest antiques market. And though
old, used items you somehow end up paying a lot for antiques are the star of the show, there are four other sections to this Notting Hill market - second-hand goods, fashion, homeware and food/produce. Saturdays are the best day to visit as that’s when the most stalls are open, but beware everyone else knows that too. Pro-tip: Get yourself here well before 11am and grab a coffee at local haunt Coffee Plant to fuel you through.
If your parents ever forced you to sit through My Fair Lady, you’ll be familiar with London landmark, Covent Garden. But be aware that the original flower market from the movie has moved South so a visit here is more about life shopping than flower shopping. Come here on Mondays for antiques and collectables only or from Tuesday to Sunday for an eclectic, wider selection of items including crafts, art, jewellery and handmade bath products. There are also some fancy designer shops surrounding the market’s central neo-classical building so prepare yourself to be lured by Mulberry, Tom Ford, Chanel and Ralph Lauren (sorry, not sorry).
And there we have it. Our guide to the best markets in London. Once you've chosen your favourite, why not find yourself a home to stay in nearby? Our collection of London serviced apartments has been carefully curated by our expert home critics to ensure that, no matter which home you choose, you'll always get the high standards you deserve when you stay with us.