I’ve always loved exploring markets – the background chatter, the bustle, the colours and smells and the meandering window shoppers. I’ve always felt it gives a great insight into the local culture and the people wherever you are in the world.
Being such a huge city, London naturally has its fair share of different markets, and really you can get anything you want if you look around. So I spent the day wandering between (just) three of the options available across the different parts of the city.
Located in the central area around London Bridge, Borough is one of London’s oldest and largest markets. If you’re hungry, you’ll be in paradise. Borough is one of the more traditional food markets, and you’ll find an array of butchers, bakers, cheesemongers galore, fruit and veg – you could do your weekly food shop there (and I wish my budget would stretch to it!).
As well as the basics, you can find artisanal products, like chutneys and oils, and my personal favourite – the food stalls freshly preparing scrumptious hot and cold dishes. My recommendation – visit when you’re hungry!
Old Spitalfields Market
Spitalfields is a little different from your normal market because what’s available varies depending on which day, and sometimes which week you visit. You can get anything from antiques and vintage, to art and fashion and Saturdays are themed, which really gives you a glimpse of the diversity of London.
Not only that, the ‘cool East end’ and bankers working locally have rubbed off on Spitalfields, which means upmarket brands are clamouring to get in on the retail space around the outside of the market itself.
Don’t worry about keeping your energy up with all this shopping though. There are plenty of the obligatory food stalls and restaurants to choose from too.
Portobello Road Market is the world’s largest antiques markets and is a feast for the eyes with the number of different trinkets and collectibles available. It’s the perfect place for a slow wandering and be sure to stop and examine the detail of the wares on offer. The hive of activity is in vast contrast to the tall white townhouses just one block away in the middle of west London. Take your time – it’s a great way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Explore these markets, and the many others London has to offer, on our London Week trip.