8th Apr 2012 4:31pm | By Carol Driver
Don't know your Spitalfieds from your Notting Hill? Then this is your ultimate guide to sussing out London's best markets.
You’ll find original art, fashion, crafts, jewellery and fresh food, as well as a smattering of top pubs at this lively covered market. Stop by BananaMan for chocolate-dipped fruit; Babel-Line for top Ts; and DeMEC for eco-friendly jewellery. Head here on May 11 for a late-night event celebrating Craft & Design Month. You’ll see wood turners, jewellers, knitters, quilters and blacksmiths at work. June 11-17 marks Glittering Greenwich, with contemporary and vintage jewellery on offer. Wander the 120 stalls with a cocktail, listening to the live music.
Greenwich High Rd, SE10 9HZ
Tube | Cutty Sark
This compact, inside space is crammed with stalls selling mainly foods from around the world, but you’ll also see Indian fortune tellers, Chinese medicine and African couture. The Brick Box also has a presence here – organising performers, film screenings and special, one-off events.
Mon-Sun. Times vary
Tooting High Street, SW17 6RT
Tube | Wimbledon
Snaking for two miles, it can take quite a while to make your way from one end to the other of this popular market. It’s helpfully broken up into sections – antiques, fruit & veg, new, fashion and secondhand. It gets crowded from about 11.30am, so arrive about 9am to bag some bargains. If you know what you’re doing, head to the bustling antiques area, for which the market is famed.
Corner of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove, W10
Tube | Notting Hill Gate
Less a market, more a collection of stalls in railway arches, this is a new kid on the block. Here, it’s all about the food and drink. Stock up on delicious cheeses, moreish pastries, and first-class coffee – all in good time for lunch.
Maltby Street, SE1
Tube | London Bridge
There are more than 200 businesses here, making it the largest fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK. Also impressive is that it can trace its roots back to a handful of stalls trading in 1670.
Mon-Fri, til 11am. Sat, til 10am
Battersea Park Road, SW8 5BH
A down-to-earth market where you’ll find a variety of goods – from household produce to fruit and veg – all at bargain prices. This is a busy space without the bells and whistles. Don’t expect anything fancy, and you’ll not be disappointed. Stock up on tea towels and dish cleaner, then head to the falafel and kebab stalls, grab a bite, and sit and watch the local traders in action.
Uxbridge Road, W12 7JA
Tube | Shepherd’s Bush
A trip to the markets in Camden is almost a rite of passage for tourists and Londoners alike. Expect the unexpected with each area boasting unique, quirky and alternative stalls. Made up of Camden Lock, Camden Stables, Camden Canal, Inverness Street and Camden Market, this the UK’s largest street market. Head to Cyberdog for a futuristic take on clothing; to A Variety Of Sins for eco-friendly tees with amusing slogans; or to Camden Cakes for lush treats and an East End knees-up on request.
Camden High Street & Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
Tube | Camden Town/ Chalk Farm
Bargain hunters should head to this lively market on the first Saturday of the month for its regular Flea Market. Billed as “just like a carboot sale, minus the cars”, root around for treasures, or, if you’ve got stuff to get rid of, turn up on the day to sell it. The second Saturday of the month has homemade jewellery, skincare, art and food on sale. Vintage lovers are catered for on the third Saturday of the month with clothes, books, records as well as cake and dancing.
Mon-Tues & Thurs-Sat, 8am-6pm. Wed, 8am-3pm. Closed Sun
Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PA
Tube | Brixton
Sure, it’s rammed with tourists, but there’s a reason why so many people flock to this busy market. Watch street performers – ranging from acrobatic to magic – then head to the Apple Market for antiques and art. The East Colonnade sells goods such as handmade soap and handbags, and the nearby Jubilee is great for knick-knacks. There’s something for even the fussiest of shoppers.
Mon-Sun. Various times
The Piazza, WC2E 8RF
Tube | Covent Garden
This is one of the prettiest markets in the capital. Coming into full bloom on Sundays, there is foliage and flowers of every hue scenting the air on this east London street. You’ll find everything here, from bunches of lilies and pot plants, to sunflowers and banana trees. Expect patter from barrow boys as you shop. There are also quirky independent shops selling antiques, vintage clothes and cupcakes, as well as superb delis, cafes and pubs.
Tower Hamlets, E2 7RG
Tube | Shoreditch
Up to 50 producers and 2000 visitors head to this rave-by-night/ shop-by-day location for a weekly farmers’ market. Buy BBQ sausages, cheese toasties and Fairtrade tea and coffee for ready-to-eat treats, or stock up on local, rare-breed meats, handmade pieces, cakes, biscuits and other fresh goodies for a DIY dinner. There’s also an arts and crafts corner where visitors can buy ethical clothing, hand-carved jewellery and skincare.
Muswell Hill (bottom), N10 3TG
Tube | Wood Green, then W3 bus
This specialist fashion market boasts designs from around the world for decent prices. It’s also set in one of the trendiest parts of London, and launched a food market at the back end of last year, so feed your face as well.
Hoxton Street, N1 6TA
Tube | Hoxton
If it’s leather goods you’re after, you’re in the right place. Set in a traditional East-End spot, this low-key market, one of London’s oldest (having traded for two centuries) also sells bric-a-brac, house-hold goods and decent food.
Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm. Sun, 9am-2pm
Wentworth Street, E1
Tube | Aldgate
This cute, vintage-esq market is overflowing with delights. Created by the organisers of the popular London Fashion Designer Sales, it has a distinct boutique feel. Think retro clothes from independent designers and one-off accessories and shoes. Foodies will be in heaven with the delicious selection of olive oils, cupcakes, fine breads, hog roast, organic produces and cheeses on offer.
St Marylebone Parish Church Grounds, W1 5LT
Tube | Baker Street
This undercover area hosts different stall holders every day of the week. Monday to Wednesday is a mix of fashion, footwear, gifts and bric-a-brac; Thursday serves up a gold mine for antique lovers; Friday is all about fashion, with a record fair on every first and third of the month. Judy’s Affordable Vintage takes place on the first Saturday of the month, with designers and craft makers taking over the third. Sunday is the biggest day for the market, with budding designers showcasing their wares. And it all takes place a stone’s throw from Brick Lane and Shoreditch, surrounded by top pubs and restaurants.
Mon-Sun. Various times
16 Horner Square, E1 6EW
Tube | Liverpool Street
This small, colouful, often-talked-about market boasts a range of unusual finds. What The Dickens? champions British recipes from the Victorian era. Chomp on English muffins with scallops and black pudding, or kedgeree (a colonial India dish comprising eggs, smoked fish and rice). Then, wander over to the Madison Home Company for period furniture, and to Firefly Books for secondhand paperbacks. Before you leave, stop at The Pie Cart
for a tasty, homemade treat.
Tube | Hackney Central