Spend your weekends perusing the best and trendiest of London’s markets that offer something special.
London is a fantastic city for market lovers. Food markets, particularly farmers’ markets, have been popping up all over the city for the past 10 years or so; and the local, daily markets are excellent places to go when hunting down a great bargain. London’s also a huge fan of antiques and collectables, so the markets double as great tourist spots for those wishing to take a stroll through London’s past.
This short post highlights just five London markets. Each market on the list has made the final cut based on their specific, special qualities that help them stand out from the rest. Whether visiting or living in the UK capital, the following five London markets will never fail to disappoint.
At just over 1000 metres long, Walthamstow Market is the longest in Europe and, because it’s not really part of the London tourist track, it’s one of the best London markets for real budget bargains. It’s open every day (except for Sundays and Mondays) from dawn until dusk, and is used by locals on a daily basis to buy food, clothes, gifts, electrical equipment, music, body care products and household goods. Whatever you need, Walthamstow Market has it, and if you can’t see what you want, someone will get it for you by the following week. It is a market in the truest sense of the word with market-stall holders shouting out all the daily bargains at the top of the voices while the busy London public bustles by.
Walthamstow High St, London, Greater London E17, United Kingdom
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 8.00am to 7.00pm
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road Market is worth the visit just to say you’ve visited the set location of the Grant and Roberts movie, Notting Hill. Portobello Road is a beautiful street to walk down and for tourists, it has a real ‘London chic charm’. Taking a few photographs of the cottage-like houses which line the street will be high on your list of things to do and it’s probable that you’ll end up investing in a small antique trinket of some kind to take home with you at the end of the day. It’s a good idea to spend the entire day (Saturday is good) at the Portobello Road Market because there are some fantastic pubs and cafes along the street, and the very unique Electric Cinema will be a movie experience you are unlikely to forget. You can reserve beds in this cinema and chill your bottle of wine throughout the movie in your personal wine cooler.
Portobello Rd, London, Greater London W11, United Kingdom
Open: Monday to Saturday, 8.00am to 7.00pm
If you love independent design, visit Spitalfields Market. Almost every stall in this undercover, East London market is owned by an independent designer. Bags, clothing, jewellery, creams and lotions, food, household design objects and shoes are the most popular items to be found in Spitalfields Market. Designers can explain the production process and the inspiration ideas behind the designs they sell, which all adds to the special nature of your market visit. The market is only open on weekends and it’s one of the best markets in the East of London for Caribbean and Asian street food at reasonable prices.
78 Quaker St, London E1, United Kingdom
Open: Monday to Saturday, 9am to 4pm
Music lovers in London mustn’t let a visit to Camden Market pass them by. Home to the late Amy Winehouse, the Camden canals ooze musical inspiration. It’s one of the best markets for those who love collecting music-related badges, posters, and t-shirts too. If you’re a fan of Dr. Martin boots, the colour black and heavy metal chains, you’re bound to feel at home in Camden Market. If you plan your visit well, you’ll be able to combine an afternoon at the market with a night out painting the tiles black on the Camden clubbing scene.
Camden Lock Market, 54-56 Camden Lock Place, London NW1, United Kingdom
Open: Daily, 8.00am to 7.00pm
Fish, fish and more fish! Londoners love fish and Billingsgate Market is the best place to eat it or buy it for cooking at home for family and friends. Prawns, cod, octopus, crab, haddock, eels, anchovies, squid, shark, salmon, sardines – the list is endless. Fish market vendors are experts in how to catch, farm, store and cook fish, and serve it up to you in a restaurant too. Saturday lunch with friends at Billingsgate Market is a very popular activity for many Londoners and food buffs from all over the world, but if you want to buy quality fish to takeaway, you have to be a very early bird indeed. The market itself is a bubbling hub of deals and negotiations. Have fun bartering a little with the fish-stall owners to see if you can get a bit more fish for your money when buying a few items at once, or sit down in one of the top-quality restaurants and dine in style.
Trafalgar Way, Poplar, London, Greater London E14, United Kingdom
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 4.00am to 9.30pm
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Do you know a London market that should be added to this list? Comment and let us know!
Photo credit: Zemzina (head/hot and photo 1), Graham and Sheila (Walthamstow Market), Kyle Taylor (Portobello Road Market), HerryLawford (Spitalfields Market), bortescristian (Camden street), simon.hedge (Camden indoor markets), KaiChanVong (Billingsgate Market).