London offers some of the best open markets to shop for antiques, gourmet foods, trinkets, arts and just about anything on your list. What I love about London markets is that you can find one in every suburb of London, so no matter where you are you can find a market to visit.
Some of London’s markets date back to the 17th century serving the people of the neighborhood with basic staples and other needs to sustain themselves. Today, due to modern technology and transportation, new types of shopping designs have been created, but old fashion style is still present in London. My personal favorite market in London is the Fresh Farmers Market. Here are some great markets to visit and what they have to offer:
If you are a foodie, you will love this market. With its full range of fresh and organic food, cheeses, cured meats, breads and other homemade products you will surely find something that satisfies your taste buds. Besides being a market, you will also find excellent cafés and restaurants serving Spanish to Ethiopian flavored foods. One place that caught my attention at the Borough Market was Scotchtails.
Monmouth Coffee, is a small coffee shop across the street where we sat at the table with a group of retired Londoners discussing the daily politics and how crazy Americans are for having elected our current president. Once they discovered we were Americans, they had tons of questions about the state of mind of Americans in today’s political climate.
This market is one of Notting Hills trendy markets that has been around since the 1800s. This Saturday morning treasure is a gem of a place to find unusual and possibly antique items. With over 1,000 dealers, the street is full of shoppers looking for the collectible item that they have been searching for to add to their collection. Although it is known as one of the largest antique markets in London, they offer other items such a fruit and vegetable stands, household goods, clothes, and secondhand items.
Earl of Lonsdale is where we stopped for wine and tapas. The large windows allow you to look out and people watch as you sip on a glass of wine.
If you’re looking for something funky, punky or original you are sure to find it at Camden Market that sits along the Regent’s Canal. Camden Market is visited by over 1,000 shoppers, young and old, per day!
The storefronts are incredibly elaborate and very eye-catching. A variety of food vendors are happy to provide you with samples, from Brazilian Shawarma to Greek desserts. Interestingly we discovered many murals painted on the walls of side streets. At night this area livens up with old-school pubs, music, and other entertainment.
This market reminded me more of an art show due to the many beautiful art exhibits from painters, cartoonists and woodworkers. In addition to these art booths, you will also find vintage fashion, childrens toys, music, and food vendors. One of our favorite booths was the one selling sketches of superheroes where we visited with the artist. This market is open seven days a week.
Old Spitalfields Antiques & Flea Market is a Thursday affair and is a hugely popular mid-week market. It’s a haven for eccentric curiosities and people. You can pass the hours indulging in the bizarre, weird and wonderful here. This market has lots to offer with plenty of twentieth-century design, shabby chic, taxonomy, theatrical pieces, toys, jewelry, vintage clothes, and accessories. There’s not much you won’t find here. Whether you visit for the day or on your lunch break, you won’t be disappointed.
I was dying to sample the famous fish and chips in London so while shopping at Spitalfields Market we stopped at Poppies food stall and ordered a basket. The fish was light and flaky and perfectly fried and the chips were equally delicious.
Located in the Convent Market, Apple Market is filled with artisan stalls open from Tuesday to Sunday. It is a much smaller market compared to others and a bit more expensive, but you will find some unique items here such as handmade jewelry, prints, London military uniforms and real silverwares. Outside the market are mime performers who are very entertaining.
Once home to the world-famous fruit and vegetable market, Convent Garden Market has world-class shopping and dining attractions for food-lovers and fashion divas. With its many global brands such as Chanel and Mulberry, as well as independent retailers, you will find artisanal market stalls as well.
Convent Garden Market is one of the oldest markets dating back to the 17th century and now with the new development of luxury apartments, it is home to many new residents. You may also find puppeteers on the cobbled Piazza and other unique performances.
Dating back to the 14th century, this market was formerly a meat, poultry and game market. Leaden Hall Market is now home to boutique retailers, restaurants, cafes, wine bars and famous pubs. Leadenhall is one of the few buildings that survived the Great Fire. Leadenhall Market is located in the historic center of London’s financial district making it an attractive place for shopping. While visiting the market, you may notice a few of the storefronts that were used in the famous Harry Potter films.
The energetic streets of Soho, in the West End, feature an eclectic mix of dining, nightlife and shopping options. Dean, Frith, Beak and Old Compton streets are the epicenter of activities day and night, with long-running Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club calling the area home. Theatre fans head to Shaftesbury Avenue, while shoppers flock to Carnaby, Oxford and Regent streets and the iconic Liberty’s department store.
No matter what market you visit in London, you’ll be sure to find eccentric and unique gifts for you and your loved ones. Taking time to stop in a market while you’re in the UK will only bring you great joy, a few laughs, and a hint of adventure!