In recent months I have made it a priority to visit a market or two in every city I go to. London offers plenty in that department. I wanted the opportunity to venture out of the city center, to try some of the Asian cuisine London is known for and to do a little shopping.
This is where I found my favorite markets. Beware, they are only open on weekends and the outside market is closed every day but Sunday. The Vintage Market is situated in the basement of a former warehouse. It is heaven for any second-hand lover. There are clothes, both second-hand and reworked, accessories, vinyl records and more. In an adjoining street I also found a really cool record store called Rough Trade East – paradise for all music lovers.
If you continue north on Brick Lane, the Backyard Market will come up on your right. It might seem impossible, but I loved this one even more. I checked out the permanent stands in the smaller building to the left first, and promptly fell in love with a necklace. You should also try the awesomely sumptious carrot cake from the small café in the back corner, Long & Short Coffee.
At the time I did not think I would find a place that I would love even more just a couple of hours later. Even though I was tired for having had an unhealthily early flight in, I decided to continue on to Columbia Road Flower Market. It was still some way to go, but this market also only opened Sundays and I was not going to miss out on my chance to see it.
I figured it would be cute. I did not expect the madness. A few minutes before reaching the market I already saw groups of people heading my way with their purchases, ranging from flowers the size of daisies to potted plants that were almost two meters tall. The latter confused me a little, as I would not expect to find them on a flower market. When I reached Columbia Road, it was almost closing time – the best time to see this market. Vendors were shouting over the heads of the crowd pushing through the narrow stretch of street that was left between the stands. The number of people confirmed what I could only guess beforehand: You could purchase cute and exotic flowers or greenery for a bargain price. I was thrilled at having found this gem. If I ever move to London, I already know where I will get my plants.
Columbia Street’s charms are not limited to its flower market, though. Continuing up north, I found some cute little stores selling flowering pots, decorations and – not to my surprise – more second hand and vintage clothing.
I took the time to cycle all the way out to Camden Market as well. Even though it may be a great location to get souvenirs our small trinkets, I did not love this market as much as the others. The location was cute though.