From antique books to Moroccan pottery, London is home to a diverse array of indoor and outdoor markets brimming with flavor and culture.
Shopping in London is a real treat. There are high-street brands, major designers, and independent boutiques all over the city. But nowhere is quite as exciting for shopping as the city’s markets. Whether it’s a traditional farmer’s market selling the best of British produce, or a maker’s market where artisans display their handmade wares on table tops—London has some vast and varied markets to explore. Bring your wallet, because these are the best 11 markets in London.
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WHERE: East London
This is one of London’s oldest markets and one of its most varied. It’s open every day of the week, but some days are more exciting than others. Saturdays see over 80 different designers come together to sell unique t-shirts, handmade jewelry, and beautiful leather bags and jackets, while on specific dates throughout the year, it’s all about art. Pick up small print-run photography pieces, original paintings and drawings, and digital artworks to take home as a souvenir of your trip to London.
WHERE: The West End
Perhaps one of London’s most famous markets, Covent Garden Market is spectacular for two reasons: first, the range of upscale and independent designers here are fantastic, but more arresting is the architecture of the building the market is housed in. A vaulted ceiling with curved supports and a glass roof makes this one of the most attractive market buildings in London, dating back to the 1830s. The market is on daily, with Mondays dedicated to antiques and collectibles, while from Tuesday through Sunday, it’s all about British crafts.
Come Saturday and Sunday to Maltby Street, south of the River Thames, to find a market buzzing with both locals and visitors getting a taste of London’s best food producers. There’s everything from gyoza to Ethiopian kocho bread, via the very British sausage sandwich and sustainably sourced beef steaks. Bring your appetite and prepare to get some serious food envy. Once you’ve had your fill, walk it off and climb Tower Bridge for brilliant city views.
WHERE: East London
In the well-to-do neighborhood of Greenwich, near the Old Royal Naval College and the Royal Observatory, this always-busy market is a hive of brilliant designers and fantastic food. There are shops set around the outside and a melee of market stalls in the middle, selling everything from handmade necklaces and rings to unique prints and sustainable bamboo watches. When you get hungry, beeline for Goddards at Greenwich, a traditional British pie shop serving up steak and ale in pastry with supremely creamy mashed potato.
WHERE: London Bridge
Borough Market is home to some of London’s food and drink institutions. Coffee lovers should head to Monmouth, where sustainably sourced beans are roasted to perfection and served up in espressos, flat whites, and cortados, or sold by the kilo to take home. Anyone with an appetite will love Hobbs Roast, which serves slow-cooked pork baguettes with sweet apple sauce. There’s Moishe’s Bagelry for Jewish bread, Neal’s Yard Dairy for cheese, and kings of pasta, Padella. You could spend an entire day sampling the treats at Borough Market, and so you should.
Columbia Road Market
Every Sunday, this market is a feast for the eyes in northeast London. The Columbia Road Market is a technicolor treat, with hundreds of red roses, yellow tulips, pink peonies, and bright yellow mimosas. You can build your own flower bunches or buy ready-made bundles. House plants are ten-a-penny, too, including lemon trees, cacti, and succulents. Come the holiday season, expect to pick up wreaths for your front door and even entire Christmas trees.
Southbank Centre Book Market
WHERE: South Bank
Bookworms will love the Southbank Centre’s daily book market, where understated trestle tables are packed with second-hand books of all kinds. You can pick up world-renowned thrillers, an entire series of fantasy novels, or first editions and antique books that are usually hard to find. Rifle through various comics, maps, and prints, all in the shadow of the British Film Institute and National Theatre, right on the banks of the River Thames.
WHERE: South London
An eclectic mix of colorful shops makes Brixton Market an exciting shopping spot, with everything from bright fabric shops specializing in African prints to traditional Moroccan pottery sellers and fresh fruit and veggie shops. Head into Circus to buy vintage homeware, one-off prints, and limited-edition artworks, or pop over to Iya Ibadan to browse handmade kitchenware and baskets. Mirroring the diverse cultures that exist within Brixton itself, there’s a reggae vinyl shop, international cash and carry selling global food goods, and kids’ book stores.
WHERE: Elephant & Castle
One of London’s most delicious markets in an incredibly underrated area. This vast food hall and marketplace has plenty to keep you satisfied for a full day of eating, drinking, and entertaining. There’s often live music and DJs at weekends, but best of all is its myriad food stalls selling everything from barbecued brisket to sourdough pizzas and South American arepas. There’s a cozy little wine bar tucked away inside with exciting natural, organic and new world wines to taste, and the onsite Italian supermarket is the perfect place to pick up some top produce to cook at home.
Portobello Road Market
WHERE: Notting Hill
Saturday is the main market day on Portobello Road, and it’s well worth joining the crowds. Antiques, second-hand goods, vintage clothes, and trinkets, plus handmade items like handbags and jewelry, are just a few of the things you’ll find. All of this with a backdrop of the iconic multicolored pastel-painted houses known the world over thanks to British rom-com, Notting Hill.
Goths, punks, and rockers congregate at Camden Market, a vast shopping emporium that started up in the 1970s as 16 stalls at the back of a music and comedy club. Today, it’s a diverse community of artisans, chefs, and independent traders set within the largest market in London. You can pick up anything, from knitted jackets made in Nepal to alternative clothing from a “punk and skinhead” shop. There are astrology readings, worldly street food vendors, and even Victorian dress shops selling corsets and petticoats.