Planning on relocating to London in 2015? We want to make sure you experience everything that this fascinating city has to offer and help you settle and discover your new home town.
Today’s guide gives you a quick overview of the flea markets in London which offer a completely different shopping experience than the ‘high street’ experience. Even though it may be icy on the streets this time of year, it is time to get out of your new London apartment and discover the charm and excitement of the London Flea Markets.
Brick Lane market area is open on Sunday from 8am-2pm, and is the place to go if you like second hand stalls and street performers or really enjoy haggling for a bargain. Brick Lane market is a bustling cosmopolitan market set in the heart of the East End of London. It was, as the name suggests, originally a brick manufacturing area, and later a livestock market. Now it’s a great market for young, edgy, artistic types with an eye for a bargain, whether it is second hand furniture, music, clothes, unusual and artistic collectibles or ethnic goods. In fact, you can buy just about anything you fancy here, including single shoes, old machinery and 8-track cassette decks! Watch out for “second hand” bikes though- Brick Lane has become notorious for the sale of stolen bikes. At the bottom end of Brick Lane are the sari shops with a dazzling array of fabrics, and lots of the boutiques around Brick lane sell vintage and retro clothing- the best known is based at the Tea Rooms. This bustling, slightly chaotic market is near a huge variety of eating-places, especially Bangladeshi and other Asian food, as well as Jewish bagel shops. Nearest tube stations Aldgate East & Liverpool St.
Colombia Road flower market is open on a Sunday from 8am to around 3pm. The stalls sell a huge variety of all sorts of plants from cut flowers to bedding plants to quite large trees, and the road is lined with over 50 independent shops which sell a variety of goods from cupcakes to antiques and gardening equipment. The only other street flower market in Europe is in Barcelona, so take advantage of the scents and sights of this one! As a tourist, you may not buy a lot to take away, but you will enjoy the atmosphere and the often hilarious patter of the stallholders, and if you’re staying with friends in London, why not get a thank you bouquet or plant for your host from this market? There are usually street musicians playing here too and towards the end of the day, there are bargains to be had as stallholders lower their prices to sell their goods by the end of the day. There are plenty of nice cafes to stop for a coffee or buy a cupcake or some fried seafood. Colombia Road market can get very crowded but is well worth a visit. Nearest tubes are Shoreditch and Liverpool St.
Old Spitalfields Market
Open Monday to Friday from 10am – 4pm and Sundays from 9am – 5pm, but, in common with many of the main markets in London, is at its busiest on Sundays when all shops and stalls are open. Thursdays specialise in antiques, and Fridays in fashion and art. Old Spitalfields has been the site of a market since the 1640’s and specialises in arts and crafts, furniture, designer clothing, gifts and food. Many of the goods on offer are sourced from around the world, and this is the place to go for unusual, eco and organic goods. Old Spitalfields market is set in a Victorian market hall, and is very convenient if you’d like to visit a market but stay out of the rain! Spitalfields Arts Market, close to Old Spitalfields market offers a range of art, sculpture and photography from both established and up-and-coming artists. There are a range of cafes and restaurants in the area, including Giraffe, which offers global food and world music, and Carluccio’s café and deli for great Italian food. There are regular free community events staged at the Arts market including fashion shows and concerts. Nearest tube stations are Central, Hammersmith and City, District, Circle and Metroplitan.
Borough Market is a gourmet food market, which is open Thursday –Sunday at the following times: Thursday 11:00 am- 5:00 pm; Fri 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm; Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. There are stalls with fresh produce from around the country including meats, cider, cheeses, freshly baked bread and pastries, game and fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls which sell foodstuffs from around Europe. The market is also open as a wholesale market throughout the week. It is London’s oldest food market, and definitely a tempting place to go on an empty stomach! If you love spending money at farmers’ markets, and you love buying fabulous fresh food and sampling all kinds of stuff that you never tried before, this is your place. Neal’s Yard Dairy supplies a huge variety of cheeses, and Monmouth coffee comes highly recommended. Be warned that this market can get extremely crowded, and you might struggle for a seat in a pub- but then there are all those food stalls to sample anyway… Some of the food can be pricey, and if you’re looking for food bargains, try Brixton Market instead. Nearest tube stations are London Bridge and Borough.
Brixton Market is open Mon- Sat 8am -6pm, with some shops staying open longer. The market includes shops, traders’ stalls and arcade shops under cover, in case it rains! It offers a huge range of all types of goods and specialises in Afro- Caribbean and African foods like plantains, breadfruit and traditional meat and fish dishes. It is a market for Londoners, not for tourists but offers a genuine market experience. You will also find Electric Avenue here (remember the Eddy Grant song?) which was one of the first streets in London to gain electric lighting. The whole market area is full of a Caribbean vibe and you can buy wigs, reggae music, patties, coconut milk, jollof (a chicken and rice dish) and jerk chicken here. Much of the fresh produce is very reasonably priced and all sorts of exotic goods can be purchased here. There are plenty of eateries from around the world including Colombian, Portuguese, Rastafarian and Caribbean cafes. This bustling, busy, loud market is a real taste of the Brixton area of London and provides market stalls selling a whole variety of goods as well as the foodstuffs for which it is best known. The nearest Tube Station is Brixton Tube Station.
Of course, no guide to London markets is complete without the famous Portobello Road market which is found in the Notting Hill area of London, made famous by the film of the same name. Notting Hill remains a popular neighborhood choice for people relocating to London in 2015, and the Fruit and vegetable stalls are open all week but the main market is open on Saturdays from 8am -5pm and specialises in antiques of all descriptions, and the second hand market runs on a Friday at the same time. The market is based along two miles of Portobello Road, which is lined with a variety of independent boutiques and antique shops.
If you are interested in antiques look out for the PADA sign on shops and stalls. This stands for the Portobello Antiques Dealers Association and ensures prices are always displayed and good accurately described. The Association also has a stand where you can get maps and up to date information and suggestions about where to find that elusive antique you’ve been searching for. Speciality stalls include vintage clothing, handbags, sports equipment, books and jewellery. Grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls in the middle of the market, which feature fine foods from around the world. Portobello gets very busy and is best visited in the morning as many of the stallholders start packing away at 4pm. Nearest tube station to the antiques end of Portobello road is Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove.
We’re well into the swing of things this year and by the enquiries we’re getting, there are many people relocating to London in 2015 and who are thinking of making the city their home.