Can we all just agree that shopping malls are terrible? Perhaps the 14-story monster malls in Bangkok are worth a wander, but the American style mall might as well be an inferno-less hell. All a person really needs to suffer is flickering lights, teenage hordes, and the familiar fragrance of Abercrombie cologne.
Fortunate for the mall haters, merchants have started going backward to a more traditional style of selling. In London, there are countless artisans, creatives, and food vendors that have ditched their commercial space in favor of a tiny pop-up stall. London markets are some of the loveliest places to explore in London. Whether you’re going for a lookie-loo or a full-on shopping spree, here are some of the London farmers, flower, flea, + food markets you won’t want to miss.
The Very Best of the London Markets
Camden Lock Market
Formerly a timber yard for shipbuilders, the stalls and storefronts tucked away in Camden makeup Camden Lock Market. The items for sale range in quality from vintage finds to mass produced crap, but it’s the looking around part that is fun.
Where: Unit 215 – 216 Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1
What to Shop: Vintage clothing and cheap sunglasses
When to Visit: Open Daily, 10:00am – Late
Borough Market is more than 1,000 years old, but the well loved London market is anything but dated. The place is painfully photogenic; bakers arrange their carefully powdered donuts into neat rows and restaurants highlight their best dishes in enormous cast iron pans. Go on the weekend to browse a massive selection of artisanal cheeses, imported wines, and all kinds of sugary things.
Where: 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL
What to Shop: Artisanal Bread and Local Produce
When to Visit: Full Market | Wednesday-Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm and Saturday, 8:00am-5:00pm
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market in East London has a rotating collection of stalls selling vintage fashion, rare vinyl, and contemporary handicrafts. There’s always something new to see at their Thursday Antiques Market or themed weekend markets. Old Spitalfields Market is set in a Victorian building with restored market hall, so even if you’re not in the mood to shop, the venue is impressive enough to warrant the trip.
Where: 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW, UK
What to Shop: Handmade gifts and vinyls
When to Visit: Daily, 10:00-5:00pm; Check with the individual shops for opening times.
Brixton Market is made up of Electric Avenue and Pope’s Road, Brixton Village and Market Row, and Brixton Station Road Market. Brixton Market is one of London’s best bargain markets with imported goods, groceries, and street food on offer. And once you’re through with the markets, be sure to rock down to Electric Avenue (… sorry).
Where: Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PD
What to Shop: All things Imported
When to Visit: Brixton Market | Daily 8am — 11.30pm; Sunday Farmers Market | Sunday 9.30am – 2.30pm
Colombia Road Flower Market
Not in the market for a bouquet? Don’t let that stop you from visiting Colombia Road Flower Market. It’s gorgeous, and arguably the best market in London on Sunday, Colombia Road Flower Market takes over it’s namesake street – Colombia Road. Go for the impressive explosion of cut flowers and potted plants.
Where: Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, UK
What to Shop: Whatever is in season!
When to Visit: Sundays 8:00am-3:00pm
Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Market is a chaotic gathering of street performers, authentic food sellers, and vendors hawking secondhand finds. Always go to Brick Lane hungry – whether you’re seeking Ethiopian, Korean, or more standard British fare, you’ll find it in the unassuming and quite cheap food market. Afterward, you can browse secondhand clothes, upcycled fashion, handcrafted home decor, and plenty of other eccentricities that you really ought to have.
Where: Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London E1 6PU
What to Shop: Ethnic Food
When to Visit: Saturday, 11:00am – 6:00pm; Sunday, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Traveling in London? You might also like:
- 101 Weird + Unique Things to do in London
- How to Use the Tube (Without Looking like an Idiot)
- Bright, Brighter, Brighton: Photos from the British Seaside
- Stay Strange: The Smart Rooms at Qbic London