From Borough Market to Brick Lane, the British capital’s legendary markets are a huge draw for visitors. However, dig a little deeper and you’ll find charismatic corners of the capital that are home to charming markets infused with a distinctly neighbourhood feel. These cornerstones of the community are stocked with a range of covetable wares, including the freshest of blooms, mouth-watering street food and precious antiques. Here, we explore the most rewarding local markets in London.
This cobbled corner of East London is a slice of elegant Victoriana. Every Sunday, it transforms to a garden of lilies, orchids, peonies and towering banana trees. To secure yourself an armful of bargain blooms, pay a visit at 3pm when vendors are packing up at the end of the day. Columbia Road’s stores are a treasure trove of local artisan crafts, so keep an eye out for attractive homewares. Finish your visit to Columbia Road with a refreshment in the classic wood-paneled Royal Oak pub.
You’ll find London’s largest antiques market in Marylebone. A four-storey paradise with just shy of 100 dealers, Alfies Antiques Market occupies an eye-catching Egyptian Art Deco Building. Within, the most exquisitely sourced, high-quality gems await. Think 1900s porcelain teacups, mid-century Danish chairs and Asprey vanity sets. Opening over 40 years ago, Alfies is the longest-running arcade of its kind in the UK. Spend a good afternoon combing through the many stalls to find something covetable to take home.
If there’s one thing that can draw Hackney’s hipsters out of bed on a Saturday morning, it’s the fine flat whites at coffee emporium Climpson & Sons before they hit Broadway Market. A bustling hubbub with a colourful history, Broadway Market sells everything you’ll need on a daily shop. Pick up fresh sourdough and organic groceries at the north end of this local London market before snaking your way down via the tantalising aromas of international street food vendors and ending up at trendy stalls selling cool vintage threads.
Just south of the Thames, pretty-as-a-picture Greenwich’s indoor market is the place to go for lovely crafts and intriguing items. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are collectables while every other day sells arts and crafts. Established in 1737, Greenwich Market has been hawking wares for centuries and is a magnet for locals seeking unique gifts. Look out for London-based artists and photographers selling their images, handmade ceramics and decorative homeware. Afterwards, head around the corner to Greenwich Clocktower Market, an open-air extravaganza of retro bric-a-brac, vintage clothing and antique books.
Occupying a characterful old arcade, Brixton Village & Market Row has fast become one of the finest local markets in London thanks to the slew of independent eateries and international menus available. Come rain or shine, Londoners flock to its light-filled alleyways to source tasty delights. Shop for fine cheese and fizz at Champagne & Fromage or quality meats from Dombey & Son.