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A space where food, fashion, music, art and history come alive, the markets of London are rich in heritage but each is distinctive in character and culture.
From the usual tourist must-visits to quaint, local favourites, we round up our top 10 London markets.
Camden Market is one of London’s most popular weekend attractions. Many of the market stalls are open during the week, but Saturday and Sunday are by far the busiest times. People come for the fashion, food and music.
Camden actually has a selection of markets along Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road (although with the extra stalls outside the shops it can feel like they merge together). Starting from Camden Town tube station there’s the Buck Street Market with its large ‘The Camden Market’ sign. Through the corridors of stalls, you’ll find clothing, accessories and some independent designers.
Just over the bridge, Camden Lock has plenty of food stalls, so it’s a great place to grab a takeaway and then head to the canal for some space from the crowds.
At Camden, a previous stable block and horse hospital has also been converted into the largest market space. The Stables Market is a sprawling mass of food, fashion and craft stalls. Look out for the 200-year-old grade II listed horse hospital that is now Proud Camden: a club, gallery, daytime bar and evening burlesque venue.
Covent Garden is another area open seven days a week, with plenty of shops and multiple markets. The piazza was laid out by Inigo Jones in 1631 and Charles Fowler’s neo-classical market building was added for a flower market around 1830. The area was redeveloped in the 1970s, but still has the old cobbles.
Near to the Apple store, The Apple Market is in the North Hall of the market building and has shops and stalls selling crafts, jewellery and great gifts.
Walk through and the East Colonnade Market, also bordered by shops, has more stalls selling accessories and handmade treats.
And across the cobbles in the South Piazza is The Jubilee Market. This market seems more down to earth and has clothes and household goods, although Monday is an antique market and the weekend means more arts and crafts stalls. You’re much more likely to find London fridge magnets and ‘I heart London’ sweatshirts here than in the main market building.
This Notting Hill market is often considered the world’s largest antique market although there’s a lot more on offer. As with other London markets, it’s really a collection of markets in one.
Saturday is the busiest day at Portobello Road Market with plenty of antique and bric-a-brac stalls at the north end of the long road. Start at Notting Hill Gate and you’ll have the pleasure of passing the beautiful colourful houses the area is also famous for.
Continue along the road and the market has a classic fruit and veg stalls section then souvenirs before the fashion stalls under the Westway. From here to Golborne Road, where there’s also a market, there’s more second-hand stalls and plenty of street food choices.
This east London market is only open on Sundays and is mostly over by mid-afternoon. But that doesn’t stop it being incredibly popular every week.
Columbia Road Market is always colourful with the huge amount of well-priced cut flowers on sale, as well as bulbs and bedding plants. Many of the traders have been here for years and take real pride in their stall’s display.
When you need to step away from the market crowds, Columbia Road is lined with around 60 independent shops in restored Victorian terraced houses, making the area even more appealing. There are plenty of places to eat plus art, furniture, homeware and sweets are among the non-horticultural delights. The Birdcage pub at the end is also a good place to stop for a drink.
Another east London Sunday market, Brick Lane Market has a much more edgy, chaotic and artistic feel. There are some stalls at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane on Saturday, but Sunday is certainly the most popular day.
The market specialises in second-hand stalls selling vintage clothes and bric-a-brac, with plenty of street food on offer too. Music plays a big part here and the atmosphere is complemented by street art (graffiti) on nearly every wall.
While bagels (beigels) are popular at the north end of the street, Brick Lane is also in the heart of London’s Bangladeshi community, so there are some excellent curry restaurants at the southern end towards Whitechapel High Street.
Correctly titled Old Spitalfields Market, this east London market is covered as it is held in Victorian market halls. Once Sundays only, it’s now open all week although Thursday to Sunday are the most popular days.
The stalls are surrounded by shops and restaurants from well-known chains and independents. It’s a fabulous place for gift shopping with quirky and bohemian delights, and it’s a great place for eating out too.
The Sunday market has the biggest choice, but the Thursday market focuses on antiques and Friday is for clothes and art. There are record fairs here too on the first and third Friday of the month covering an eclectic mix of musical styles for vinyl collectors.
Moving away from Sunday markets, Borough Market is open Monday to Saturday. There’s been a market here for about 1,000 years, but the current gourmet food market has grown since the 1990s.
There are around 100 stalls in the covered market including cheesemongers, bakers, fishmongers and butchers, plus other artisan food producers. The market is limited on Mondays and Tuesdays but expands for Wednesday to Saturday. (Borough Market does open on Sundays in December.)
This is a great place for buying ingredients for home cooking or a really good picnic. As the many quality food stalls will make you feel hungry, the hot food vendors mean you can also have your fill before leaving.
Borough Market’s younger (and cooler) sibling is Maltby Street Market, which is a short walk away.
The area is part of the LASSCO Ropewalk reclamation yard and the railway arches become space for food and drink vendors at the weekend. The flag bunting across the narrow street makes this a visually appealing location to visit too.
This is the place to come for a delicious meal and to stay for the afternoon at Little Bird Gin. Lunch recommendations include African Volcano and their hot sauces, with Dhan from Dhan Waffle for dessert. These are like no waffles you’ve ever had before. They are much more like a cakey donut and truly delicious.
This covered shopping area is London’s only market on a World Heritage Site. Greenwich Market has around 120 stalls and is open Tuesday to Sunday.
Tuesday and Thursday are best for antiques, and the rest of the week has plenty of craft and designer makers making this another excellent place to buy a unique gift. Like many other London markets, there are shops around the edge that are open all week.
One end of the market has international food stalls and you can grab something then sit in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College to listen to classical music performed by students from the Trinity College of Music.
There’s more shopping nearby at the Clocktower Market on Greenwich High Road. This open-air market has over 50 stalls with a range of collectibles including military memorabilia, plus antiques, art, badges, books, ceramics, vintage clothing, crafts, furniture, jewellery and records.
For a wildcard in this list, Alfies Antique Market is a large indoor market that is more like a department store with many independent retailers. In fact, the building was a department store and it has a wonderful Egyptian-style Art Deco facade.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, Alfies has a delightfully eclectic range on offer from around 75 specialist dealers spread over five floors. It’s certainly not a stuffy antique market as there’s plenty of unusual and surprising finds from jewellery and painting to furniture and collectibles.
You’ll also be in for a real treat when you reach the top floor as the Rooftop Kitchen offers an outdoor dining space with panoramic views over London’s rooftops.
The market owner also has Grays Antiques Centre, near Bond Street in Mayfair, which is spread across two buildings – one with a ‘lost river’ running through it.
Planning a trip to London? Our portfolio of London apartments and hotels are located in the heart of where you want to be! Shopping, sightseeing and fantastic dining – there’s always something new to discover in one of the most popular cities in the world! Alternatively, check out our recommendations for a royal experience of London.