When I lived in London, one of the things I really loved was the amazing markets. They take on a completely different atmosphere in London. If you love your local farmers market, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store when you show up to your first big market in London. They’re straight out of your wanderlust dreams and when you’re walking through them, it’s a surreal experience. You find yourself wanting to photograph everything you see (and eat lots too!)
If you’re planning a trip to London I absolutely recommend you visit a few markets. To help you plan your trip, here are my tips on the best markets in London that you absolutely must visit. If you’ve been to London before and think I’ve missed your favourite spot, please share it in the comments below.
1. Maltby Street Market
Maltby Street is the destination for food lovers! This place is ridiculously cool, having sprung up under the arches of a railway line and being all kinds of London cool, without even really trying that hard. Go on a Saturday morning between 9am and 2pm and make a bee-line for Ropewalk, between Maltby Street and Millstream Road. You’ll find a delightful scene of pop-up food stalls awaits you, including amazing baked goods, cured meats and preserves, deli food, soups, organic fare and heavenly cakes. It’s a foodie paradise and it has your name written ALL over it, my friend. It’s gourmet food in a market setting and it’s everything you’ve ever wanted from life. Find Maltby Street Markets here.
2. Borough Market
One of the oldest and largest food markets in London, Borough Market has been around for 1,000 years! You’ll find it in Southwark, Central London. This market is pretty touristy and a bit on the expensive side, but it’s a great place to start. There are great photo opportunities and, being a market, it’s stocked to the hilt with fresh produce, like fruit and veg, as well as yummy bits and pieces liked baked goods, condiments and cheeses. Stop in and grab supplies for a picnic, a cup of coffee or just a quick bite to eat while you’re sightseeing. Find out more about Borough Market here.
3. Brick Lane Market
Get yourself down to the Brick Lane Market on a Sunday, that’s when things really go off. You’ll find the street alive with people hawking goods and street performers pumping out great live music. This market is the spot to pick up the weird, wonderful, quirky and unique. You’ll find cool clothing, interesting artworks and assorted goodies like bags, jewellery and assorted bric-a-brac. Food wise, this is your spot to dig into amazing Bangladeshi fare or sample as much street food as you can stuff into your belly. Find the Brick Lane Market here.
4. Camden Market
There’s an expanse of markets in Camden, formed by adjoining retail markets in Camden Town. Collectively, you’ll hear them referred to as Camden Market or Camden Lock. With over 100 stalls and shops in the area, this place is bursting at the seams with good stuff to explore. You’ll find everything from designer goods and clothes, to artwork, homewares, jewellery and furniture. Of course, there’s an abundance of food available too. It’s a great place to lose a few hours wandering, shopping, eating, drinking and snapping photographs. Find out more about Camden Market here.
5. Colombia Road Flower Market
Each Sunday, the Colombia Road Flower Market comes alive with vibrant blooms. The street takes on a life of its own, with lush green foliage and bright flowers spilling out of buckets all around you. It’s a feast for the senses and a great place to get gorgeous photos, especially if you’re looking to practice your macro-photography. You’ll also find plenty of little shops lining the market, selling artwork, food, clothing, antique goods, pottery and the like. Visit early to snap up the best flowers or go later in the day to nab a bargain. Find the Colombia Road Flower Market here.
6. Brixton Village
Brixton Village market is comprised of the main street market, right in the centre of Brixton, and the covered market areas housed in the arcades surrounding, so you may hear it referred to as Brixton Village and Market Row. This is the place to go to diversify your lifetime food experiences! You’ll find yourself surrounded by different types of food from all over the world, like Indian, Asian, European, African, Caribbean and South American. Aside from all the great food, you’ll find all the usual market stuff too, like fresh flowers, clothes right through to things like African fabric prints and retro shops. It’s awesome! Find Brixton Village and Market Row here.
7. Old Spitalfields Market
Here’s the thing about the Old Spitalfields Market, it happens every day, but the different days offer different things. Friday is art and fashion day, while Saturdays are all about everything vintage! Sundays are, of course, the biggest day of the week, where you’re likely to find just about anything and everything on offer. Not surprising, given there has been a market on this site for some 350 years. In addition to great food and drink, this is the place to discover new designers creating cool clothing and accessories unlike anything else. It’s a must-visit spot for fashionistas or those who appreciate creatives! Find Old Spitalfields Market here.
8. Greenwich Market
Another split-personality market, you’ll find Greenwich Market showcasing antiques and collectables Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and craft and design on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This place is huge, with over 120 stall holders in a great undercover area. It’s a great spot to snag some cool collectables and antiques, unique art pieces as well as fashion, jewellery, books, shoes and art. Of course there’s great food and drink on site, including delis, bakeries and cafes as well as plenty of yummy market food and pubs and bars. Find the Greenwich Market here.
9. Portobello Road
If you’ve never been to London before, you’re going to want to visit Portobello Road because you’ve probably heard of it before and it’s sorta, very famous. As markets go, it’s not the best of the best, but it’s still pretty good and one of those things you just gotta do, mostly because it’s in Notting Hill and you get to gawk at that door from the movie! There’s so much to see and do here as it’s a huge, winding market. You’ll find everything from amazing food and fresh produce through to arts, crafts, vintage fashion, new designs, boutiques, fresh flowers and more. It’s a one-stop-shop! Word of warning: if you get social anxiety (me), it gets pretty crowded, so take a friend for support. Find the Portobello Road Market here.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger who believes life should be full of fun and adventure. Phoebe shares practical inspiration to help others enrich their lives through travel. Her fun Vlogs, useful travel guides and beautiful photographs are all aimed at inspiring others to live a life they love and never settle for less.