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If you love markets and are traveling to London – you are in for a treat because London is home to so many great markets. Read on to find out the very best markets in London you shouldn’t miss.
There is just something special about markets.
Maybe it’s the old-timey-ness of them – markets have been around for centuries. The hustle and bustle. The community spirit. The freshness of the food. The unique clothing and accessories. The smiles and laughter a great market brings out in people.
Maybe it’s all of the above.
There are many things that I miss about my time living in London, like the awesome London pubs, (but not the weather), but one of the things I miss the most is its markets.
London really knows how to do markets well and there are numerous variations – from food to crafts to antiques to clothing, and everything in between. The Christmas Markets in London are also definitely worth a visit if you are there in the Christmas season.
With so many to choose from, you could visit a different market every week for a year and still not have seen them all. I certainly didn’t visit every market in London, but I did manage to visit a lot of them during my six years living in this incredible city.
Here is a list of my favorites – what I think are the best markets in London.
The Best Markets in London
Check out my interactive map to the best markets in London to plan your trip.
I was lucky enough to work around the corner from this incredible London food market and was a frequent lunchtime visitor on Fridays.
There has been a market operating here for 1000 years – yes, that is meant to be three zeros – one thousand years! I can’t even fathom that.
Borough Market is the best market in London for gourmet food: Local and European cheeses, meat, poultry, game, fresh bread, cakes and pastries, ice-cream, spices, preserves, condiments, fresh juices, seafood, flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
Everything is of the best quality, a lot of it is organic and it is all extremely tasty. If you can’t find a specialty food product anywhere else in London, chances are you will find it here.
Permanent shops in the market zone such as Neal’s Yard Dairy, Monmouth Coffee, Tapas Brindisa, and Applebee’s Fishmongers (best garlic prawn wraps ANYWHERE) are also well worth a visit.
Make sure you don’t eat before you go because there are a lot of food stalls selling hot dishes as well as numerous taste tests.
If it is a sunny day, sit in the grounds of the beautiful Southwark Cathedral with your market goodies for a picnic lunch.
Location: Borough High Street, Southwark
Operating Days: Every day
Operating Times: Various times
Camden Market was my go-to market for cheap shoes, clothes, candles, and home-wares. Made up of four different interconnecting markets, it is pure mayhem and is the most popular market in London.
It is pretty much always busy and I kinda like the craziness. It wouldn’t be Camden without it.
I love the labyrinthine, dark, cobblestoned passageways that make you feel as if you are in Morocco, the food hawkers screaming and shoving samples of lemon chicken at you, the outdoor stalls that are airy and light, and the voluminous warehouses crammed with treasures. There are so many different sides to Camden.
Make sure you check out the crazy Cyber Dog where it is all pulsing lights, trance music, glow-in-the-dark neon clothing, and even a couple of dancers on platforms.
When it gets to the point when you can’t take any more of the craziness, grab a drink and sit by the lock, watching canal boats wait their turn to pass through to the other side. Or if you love walking, walk the beautiful Regents Canal to Little Venice.
Location: Camden High Street, Camden
Operating Days: Every day except Christmas Day
Operating Times: 10am – 6pm
Another late discovery of mine, this is a fantastic market to check out for a delicious lunch in the East End, best enjoyed on a sunny Saturday in the nearby London Fields.
Locals converge on the market to shop for organic meat, fruit, vegetables, and seafood which is sold at reasonable prices. There are 70+ stalls on a Saturday as well as permanent shops that are open all week.
I love the Cockney barrow boys, shouting out their wares in rhyming slang. Barrow boys were once an East End mainstay, street vendors hawking their goods out of barrows on the street and at markets.
There isn’t a lot left these days but there are a couple at Broadway Market.
Location: Broadway Market, Hackney
Operating Days: Every Saturday
Operating Times: 9am – 5pm
Columbia Road Flower Market
I only made it to this colorful market months before I left London and I wish I had known about it sooner. It may be small but it is vibrant and full of life.
The Barrow boy’s call of ‘everythin a fiver’ rings out loud and the street is alive with color. The fragrant smell of flowers scents the air.
It is absolutely the best place that I came across in London to get cheap and good quality flowers and plants and if you are there in the afternoon, there is a good chance that everything will be heavily discounted before the stalls close for the day.
Another reason to visit is the delicious cafes and restaurants in the area. The Lily Vanilli Bakery in a courtyard off Columbia Road has some pretty incredible cakes. You should definitely go there.
Location: Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets
Operating Days: Every Sunday
Operating Times: 8am – 3pm
Old Spitalfields Market
One of the first markets I ever visited, Old Spitalfields is a covered market known for its cutting-edge fashion.
There has been a market here since the 17th century for fruit, vegetables, and meat but the focus now is less on edibles and more on wearables.
Located in a beautiful brick Victorian building, there are permanent shops as well as stalls, and the market is a popular destination throughout the week.
Wednesday to Sunday offers something different each day such as antiques, music, art, and vintage. Grab lunch at one of the food stalls or nearby pubs.
Make sure to explore the nearby neighborhood of Shoreditch too, there are lots of things to see and do there.
Location: Horner Square, Spitalfields
Operating Days: Every day
Operating Times: Various
Richmond Duck Pond Market
This was my local market when I lived on a houseboat in Richmond, my favorite year of life in London. Small but sweet, I always found the stallholders to be especially helpful and friendly at this artisan food and craft market.
It was never crazy busy so you could browse the stalls at your leisure. Cute arts and crafts, fresh produce, and baked goods were the mainstays.
I would browse the craft stalls then grab a bite to eat and take it down to eat on a grassy spot by the Thames. Very idyllic.
Location: Heron Square, Richmond
Operating Days: Every Saturday and Sunday
Operating Times: Saturday 11am – 4pm, Sunday 10.30am – 4pm
Whitecross Street Market
A food market in the city that only operates on Thursdays and Fridays for the office lunch crowd, I had to pull a sickie from work to be able to visit.
After seeing the Mexican food truck, Luardo’s, on a London edition of the US street food show ‘Eat Street’, I just had to go there.
It is hard to find good Mexican food in London but after waiting in line for half an hour and taking the first bite of my chicken burrito, I had found it.
Great cakes and brownies can be had for dessert at one of the many bakery stalls and if you aren’t into burritos there are so many other amazing food stalls.
Location: Whitecross Street, London
Operating Days: Monday to Friday
Operating Times: 11.45am – 2.15pm
Portobello Road Market
This iconic London market is the bee’s knees for antiques, quirky collectibles, and affordable fashion. Along with Camden Market, this was my favorite market for cute summer dresses.
I also nabbed some great boots, a couple of blazers, art prints, and colorful necklaces here over my many visits.
Portobello Market is held on a cobbled street lined with colorful shopfronts in Notting Hill. The market is actually a few different markets including a secondhand market, fashion market, antiques and bric-a-brac market, fruit and vegetable market, and new goods market.
There are also shops selling unique and vintage fashion, gifts, and antiques. This market is always busy but I find it so cheerful and fun.
Location: Portobello Road, Notting Hill
Operating Days: Monday – Saturday
Operating Times: Various times
Located in the leafy suburb of Greenwich, this covered market, which is part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage site – a London icon, is the place to go for delicious food from around the world, cheap art prints and homewares, antiques, collectibles, kitchenware and pretty much everything else you can think of.
Compared to some of the other markets on this list, Greenwich Market is reasonably small but the variety of products on offer is very diverse.
After visiting the market you can explore the excellent National Maritime Museum and the beautiful rooms of the Old Royal Naval College, straddle the famous Greenwich Meridian line at the Royal Observatory, and hop aboard the last surviving tea clipper ship, the Cutty Sark.
Greenwich is a fantastic destination for a great day out and the vibrant market is the focal point.
Location: Turnpin Lane, Greenwich
Operating Days: Everyday
Operating Times: 10am – 5pm
Brick Lane Upmarket
Eclectic and interesting, the convivial Upmarket is located in an Old Brewery off Brick Lane. It definitely has an East London hipster feel to it, and is full of an array of handmade and arty products, from fashion to accessories to jewelry.
A lot of the stallholders are up-and-coming designers, so if you are in the market for a one-of-a-kind necklace or unique fashion that you won’t see anyone else wearing, then this is the market for you.
The Food Hall offers diverse dishes from around the world and it is where I tried Tibetan momos for the first time.
If you manage to resist the siren song of the momos and all the other delicious treats, have a curry on Brick Lane where part of the fun is getting as cheap a deal as you can from the guys yelling out ridiculously low prices outside each restaurant.
Location: Ely’s Yard, E1 6QR
Operating Days: Every Saturday and Sunday
Operating Times: Saturday 11am – 5.30pm, Sunday 10am – 5pm
So there you have it, the absolute best markets in London.
In my opinion, visiting a London market is right up there as a London must do, along with visiting the world-class museums, having a pint in a traditional pub, visiting Richmond, attending a show in the West End, and relaxing in one of the Royal Parks.
A visit to London isn’t truly complete until you visit one of its iconic markets.
The Best Places To Stay in London
For budget accommodation, there are some excellent hostels in London. My top picks are the Astor Museum Inn in Bloomsbury, Prime Backpackers Angel in Angel, YHA London St Pancras in St Pancras, and Astor Hyde Park in South Kensington.
Some excellent London hotels are The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, The Chesterfield Mayfair, citizenM London Shoreditch, and Apex City of London Hotel.
For vacation rentals, these are my top picks for location, price, and high ratings:
- Large studio apartment in West Kensington
- Quiet and Bright Studio in the Heart of Camden Town
- Stunning Central London Mezzanine Studio
- One Bedroom With City Views in Shoreditch
- Wonderful One Bedroom Fitzrovia Apartment
- Bright One Bedroom in the Heart of Westminster
The Best Insurance For Your London Trip
Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your London trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with.
Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.
If you liked this post, check out some of my other London and Europe content:
- What Life is Really Like on a Houseboat in London
- Life in Genteel Richmond: London’s Quintessential English Village
- The Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne Region of France
- A Perfect Day Hiking the Amalfi Coast of Italy
- La Gomera: The Undiscovered Canary Island