Shopping, dining or simply having a nose around do not get more colourful, weird or wonderful than the many markets of London. There’s nothing like exploring around food markets, farmers’ markets, fashion markets and flower markets where every week you are surprised with something new! For this week’s blog, we’re recommending the best markets for you to spend a day wondering around at and that are guaranteed to be an interesting experience.
First off, we’re heading over to the centre of London where the famous Covent Garden is home to an unusual and exciting shopping market. What’s so unique about the Covent Garden market, is that it is a completely different retail experience to the majority of the city with wonderfully characterful gems that you simply won’t find anywhere else! The Apple Market is housed by the Piazza building that has been around since the 19th century and inside, visitors will find a range of welcoming and certainly fascinating crafts, jewellery and antique stalls surrounded by cutesy little perfumeries, pubs, bakeries and much more. You’ll come across goods that you’ll only see in this market and what’s more, there’s always a bit of entertainment going on. Expect to see talented singers, musicians and circus acts that are guaranteed to put on a great show for visitors and put a smile on your face (you’ll also get a great view from the balcony at the Punch and Judy pub too). Lastly, a personal recommendation of a restaurant that will surely top off a cool cider at the pub with a classy, yet reasonably priced meal is the Brasserie Blanc. Owned by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, this restaurant is bright and airy with a lovely view of the courtyard below and delightful food.
Moving on now over to the north of London to Camden Market where the visitor experience will definitely be different to at Covent Garden. Camden Market is actually made up of several markets, each with their own unique characteristics and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. The main Camden Market on Buck Street offers an unusual street culture vibe with an endless selection of stalls and shops selling absolutely all kinds of things! From vintage, fancy dress and gothic clothing to sweet stalls, cute fairy light shops and Japanese tableware, Camden Market has it all and that’s what makes it a great day out, even if you are not looking to spend. If you fancy an extremely different shopping experience, head down to the Stables Market that underwent a multimillion-pound redevelopment some years ago and soak up the retro atmosphere that fills this market. You’ll find antiques, furniture and quirky gift shops as well as lots of food stalls to choose from, all within the walls of this huge and historic environment.
With the Chelsea Flower Show approaching this month, you may want to get yourself into the excitement of the event by exploring around the beautifully set out (and smelling) Columbia Road Flower Market. Located in a Victorian terraced street, this market offers an authentic London setting and of course, goodness knows how many varieties of exotic and beautiful flowers on display! It would be almost impossible to walk through this entire market and not emerge out of the other end with at least one bunch of blooming flowers in your arms, although if you are looking to purchase a small tree upon your arrival, you are advised to wait until later so that you don’t take any eyes out with branches. Also, it’s not all things flowers at this market; you can even have a browse at the back of Erza Street where some vintage goodies such as china and enamelware for great prices will be waiting.
If it’s a fascinating food experience you’re after, then look no further than the Crystal Palace Food Market where you can expect quality organic products on sale and a local, friendly atmosphere. You can also have a look for any gluten-free treats to try, fresh fish and all kinds of colourful vegetables straight from the farm. Why not have a wander around Brixton Market, home to a continuous culinary fiesta with sizzling jerk chicken, exotic fish and freshly baked cakes flooding your nostrils and tingling your taste buds. Find some brilliant bargains and discover delicious recipes at this market or just go along to join in with the energising community spirit!