Moving to London will give you the chance to get out and explore 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 Christmas, it is time to get out of your new London apartment and discover the charm and excitement of the London Flea Markets.

Brick Lane

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, and Jewish bagel shops. Nearest tube stations Aldgate East & Liverpool St.

Columbia Road

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.

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