Forego the crowds and mass retailers at Oxford Street and go local at numerous London markets, where you’ll be able to snatch bargains, indulge in street food and see some of the capital’s most exciting local craftsmen and women. From historical indoor markets to vibrant outdoor occasions, here’s a list of some of the best London markets.
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Camden Market is a quintessential choice for any traveller with eccentric vendors, vintage clothing stalwarts and colourful crowds contributing to the market’s infectious energy. While in recent years it’s become a little more touristy (avoid the overpriced souvenir stalls lining the roads), over 200 stalls clamour for attention selling everything from independent jewellery to gothic clothing. Don’t miss out on Cyberdog, a bizarre yet incredible store that specialises in clubwear and all things subculture.
Step out of London Bridge station and follow the smell of freshly made food to London’s iconic Borough Market. This sophisticated market is a favourite with tourists and full of refined produce, from cheese stands specialising in comté and brie to fishmongers shucking fresh oysters flown in from Ireland. Walk past the main entrance with its stunning green metal and glass ceiling and explore the diverse food stalls in the back – try the hog roast sandwiches served with pork crackling and apple sauce for a meal you’ll never forget.
Open daily, this eclectic market is best explored in the morning before the crowds rush in to snag the best bargains. With everything from antique furniture to unique vintage fashion finds, the markets’ vendors rotate from day to day so it’s worth checking on their website what kind of sellers are going to be there whenever you’ve planned your visit (for the full experience, head over on the weekend).
This tiny Sunday market packs a punch of colour and is perfect for photographers and plant enthusiasts. Walking through this market is a treat for the senses, with smells from gigantic mountains of dried lavender carrying through the street, the sounds of Cockney sellers hawking their wares and the rainbow assortments of freshly cut flowers and tall houseplants. Skip over to the next street over when you’re done for vintage shopping and a cup of coffee at one of the area’s independent cafés.
Located just off of Brick Lane, this indoor market bustles with activity come rain or shine. Filled with independent designers, food vendors and vintage stalls alongside more traditional retailers, it’s a great alternative to the crowds of Camden. Grab an indulgent burger served with a thick slice of black pudding at Bleecker Street and buy a vintage map of London from one of the maps stalls to take back home as a unique souvenir.
Go beyond the clothing stalls of Camden Market and slip into KERB, a street food market with over 30 exciting vendors. Hosted in a roomy courtyard along the canal, you’ll be able to taste the best of London’s street food scene from The Mac Factory’s adventurous takes on mac and cheese to Swedish-Mexican fusion tacos.
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Nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, East London’s coolest neighbourhood, Brick Lane Market is suitably a hipster’s dreamland. One man’s trash is another’s vintage bargain here, with ornate mirrors, leather jackets and the occasional designer find packed into its numerous stalls. Keep your camera close as the neighbourhood’s graffiti is worth the snaps.
Greenwich is one of London’s most charming neighbourhoods, with the rolling green hill of Greenwich Park boasting an unforgettable view over the Thames and the tea clipper Cutty Sark harboured nearby. It also hosts a fun market full of artworks by local artists, a diverse range of food stalls and clothing by independent designers.
Come for the market and stay for the architecture at Camden Market, where London’s talented craftsmen and women tote their wares in the breathtaking 19th Century Piazza. Open daily, you’ll be able to buy everything from fine leather goods to handmade organic soaps and then enjoy the live performances by street musicians and the occasional magician outside.
April 13, 2018 by Megan Hills
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