Who doesn’t love a good market? Not only are they great places to sample local cuisine, score bargains and find one-of-a-kind souvenirs, they’re also good for experiencing the local culture. Our market-loving locals in London have shared five of their favourites.
1. Brixton Village – a labyrinth of international food
Restored to its former glory after many years of hardship, Brixton Village now boasts an astounding array of boutique restaurants, stylish cafés and specialty retail stores. Its arcades are a hive of activity throughout the week, especially in the evenings when hungry patrons hunt for all manner of international delights. The variety is endless, plus it’s all good quality and reasonably priced – you’ll simply be spoilt for choice. The only downside is having to decide. Grab a drink as you explore the winding arcades and find something that takes your fancy. Sit in the market rows and enjoy the live music while you eat, then head to Federation for a post-meal caffeine fix.
Photo credit: Leigh Harries
2. Backyard Market – an artistic avenue
Brick Lane is not exactly unheard of, in fact it can be quite touristy, but there’s something interesting going on behind the old Truman Brewery on weekends. Backyard Market is an arts and crafts market fuelled by the talents of London’s creative industries. At a market focussed predominantly on art and design, you’re destined to find something completely unique to take home with you. The stalls are tightly packed and overflowing with designer clothing, jewellery, prints and sculptures. There’s also an international food section where you can sample homemade ethnic fare for a homely price. Otherwise, at the top of Brick Lane you can get killer bagels for just £2!
Photo credit: Lorena Suarez
3. Borough Market – London’s most renowned food market
If food makes your world a brighter place, then it’s time to hotfoot it to London’s most renowned food market. The tempting delicacies at the bustling Borough Market will make all of your dreams come true. There’s cheese, pesto, chutney, bread, olives, sweets, fresh vegetables… The list is endless. Take the long route there and walk across London Bridge for some mean views of Tower Bridge. Once you reach the market, buy yourself some lunch and then simply peruse the various stalls, taste-testing the plentiful treats on offer. By the way, Borough Market is the home of Kappacasein’s famous three cheese toasted cheese sandwich. Don’t miss it!
Photo credit: Betsy Weber
4. Portobello Road Market – a retro and antique roadshow
Londoners love getting out on a Saturday morning and hitting up their nearest market to indulge in good coffee, good food and a significant dose of good people. Portobello is no exception, though it’s particularly known for its magnificent array of antique stores that originally set up shop in the 50s. It will keep you entertained for hours as you hunt for your ultimate London souvenir, but keep in mind that the road offers numerous other gems, notably the historic Electric Cinema and Diner where you’re bound to spot a celebrity. Walk down Portobello Road from Notting Hill Station and take in the brightly painted townhouses.
Photo credit: Paul Hudson
5. Columbia Road Flower Market – the perfect meeting place for lazy Sundays
The Columbia Road Flower Market has become a routine Sunday affair for the locals of Hoxton, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green. Once a week the air becomes thick with the scent of exotic plants, fruit and flowers as locals gather to get their weekly fix of well-priced food, top-notch coffee and bric-a-brac browsing. Flowers aside, Columbia Road is lined with sixty independent shops including antique and gardening stores, delis, cafés and restaurants. It’s a great place to spend the morning shopping, eating and soaking up the atmosphere, and the sheer influx of hipsters can only mean you’re onto a good thing. Surprisingly, everything is quite cheap.
Photo credit: Linda Hartley
Opening photo credit: Aurelien Guichard