London's Top Street Markets Featured

When travelling to a new city, chances are you will visit the main landmarks, museum and neighbourhoods. A great way to fully immerse into a city's culture and habits is by heading to the flea markets; London has plenty. Whether it is vintage clothing, antique furniture or delicacies that you are looking for, you will find it in one of these local haunts.

by Lavinia Pisani

Spitafields Market

Redevelopment has seen this East End stalwart combine the refurbished 1887 covered market with a modern shopping precinct. Around the edge, enthusiastic stallholders sell grub from just about every corner of the world. Sunday is busiest; browsing options include creations by up-and-coming designers, vintage clothes, crafts, jewellery, books and sheepskin rugs. There’s a new fine food market held three times a week in Crispin Place with over 20 vendors, many of them can also be found at Borough Market. A record market is held twice a month.

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Brick Lane Market

Though Brick Lane Market is an entity (and attraction) in itself, its boundary has grown to encompass an array of markets in and around the East End hotspot. Brick Lane Market is where to head for tools, household goods and bargain fruit and vegetables. Vendors without a proper stall often line Brick Lane, their bric-a-bracs set up on blankets. As you hit Backyard Market (in a building opposite Dray Walk) the location turns into one that features clothing and accessories by indie designers. In the summer months, this building regularly plays hosts to foodie and arty festivals.

Then there’s the Sunday UpMarket in the Old Truman Brewery. Here, you’ll find a mishmash of mopey students, locals and edgy attention seekers riffling through vintage stalls, and quirky crafts by local designers. If you feel like taking a break, you’ll find here some artisan food stalls that offer everything from cupcakes and rich coffee, to Japanese yakisoba and tapas.

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Related: Where the Royal Family Shops

Camden Lock Market

Camden Lock Market is the original arts and crafts market in Camden. Established in 1972 on the site of the Dingwalls timber yard for ship builders, Camden Lock has since been nurturing promising designer-makers. Open 364 days a year, the market offers a canalside haven in the midst of its hectic surroundings. Here you’ll find stalls and shops selling everything from vintage clothing to hand-made jewelry and artwork to gifts and music, all alongside fresh and vibrant multicultural street food purveyors and cafes. Once the sun goes down its venues offer music and comedy right through until the early hours.

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Borough Market

The foodie’s favorite market is also London’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century. It’s the busiest too, occupying a sprawling site near London Bridge. Gourmet goodies run the gamut, from fresh loaves and rare-breed meats, to fish and vegetables, to cakes and all manner of preserves, oils and teas. After a vigorous round of campaigning, many of its historic features have returned. And as if to celebrate, a new Market hall, facing onto Borough High Street, has been opened: it acts as a kind of greenhouse for plants (including hops), as well as hosting workshops, tastings and foodie demonstrations.

Portobello Road Antiques Market

The famous Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill, with its antiques and flea market finds, takes place every Saturday – although there are also stalls from Monday to Friday. Running from Chepstow Villas to just under the Westway, it is a colorful, dynamic stretch of London that oozes trendiness and fun. On Saturday, it's huge, with over 2,000 stalls, selling everything from books to bric-a-brac and lace to Limoges porcelain – even fashion and exotic cooking ingredients are on sale. Thousands of people mill around browsing second-hand clothing stalls or choosing outlandish material. For those who have the patience to search, there are some fantastic bargains.

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For more on where to shop in London, visit our Destinations page.

 

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