Our favourite London markets

Food stuffs, clothing, gift ideas, books, snack bars, antiques, specialist stalls... they're all here.

How times have changed...

School playground, 1986: "Nice jeans Marcus, where did you get them? The market?"

Confessing to the ownership of market goods as a nipper was a sure-fire way to get yourself a wedgie.

Skip forward to the 2000s and it's all about the markets. And so it should be. More choice than you can shake an organic spelt bloomer at from row upon row of small, independent producers with a tangible passion for what they sell.

Food stuffs, clothing, gift ideas, books, snack bars, antiques, specialist stalls... they're all here. And here in abundance.

So head down to London's best markets, you're in for a treat.

Broadway Market
Just South of London Fields, and North of Regents Canal, West of Mare Stree

AIL Says: What was once a run-down fruit and veg market evolved into the hippest place to spend your Saturday. Since radical gentrification hit this strip of street in Hackney the stalls have long since ditched their old cargo of apples and pears. Hog roasts, cheese cakes, art books, meat and vintage clothing stalls give the locals what they want, and if the number of bugaboos is anything to go by the rest of London and its families too.

Brixton Market
Electric Avenue, Pope Road, Atlantic Road, Brixton Station Road

AIL Says: A true London market, you’ll be just as likely to come away with a bag full of organic vegetables as an ugly old Tupperware set. Quality control doesn’t really come into it but if you’re unafraid of the mixture of stalls selling anything from fine quality dashikis to kitchen appliances then you’ll be happy. Community buzz and low prices make it a place that the locals love and a place the not so locals don’t mind travelling to.

Columbia Road Market
Columbia Road

AIL Says: Nothing beats the chance to smell the scent of thousands of flowers every Sunday morning, so thank goodness for Columbia Road Market. Stallholders commandeer the cobbled streets every week and from top to bottom you’ll find everything from Christmas trees to orchids. This is a London ritual and if you haven’t yet partaken, then now’s the time.

Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane

AIL Says: Whether it is the Sunday Upmarket or Brick Lane Market s a whole, you’ll be please with this one. Always prepare for the crowds and you’ll be fine. Street food, clothes, records and bookstalls are always worth the trip east.

  • USERS 9/10
Portobello Road Market
Portobello Road, Golborne Road

AIL Says: Portobello may have lost a slice of the luster that it retained in the past but it is still one of London’s hippest. Stretching for a large part of Portobello Road, expect a lot of clothes, music and antiques. The bonus of Portobello is that the shops running alongside it all become part of the fun.

Alfies Antique Market
13-25 Church Street Marylebone NW8 8DT
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Edgware Road (Bakerloo) (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Alfies Antique Market has been serving fans of its eclectically curated space since 1976. With dealers stocking wares that come a little more expensive than the junk you’ll see in some antique markets, the Marylebone emporium attracts window shoppers and serious buyers alike. Clarice Cliff ceramics, decorative Victorian watches and enough shiny brass trinkets to create a little Hugo Cabret action of your own.

  • USERS 10/10
Old Spitalfields Market
Crispin Place 65 Brushfield Street Spitalfields E1 6AA
Region: Spitalfields
Nearest Station: Liverpool Street (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Sometime during the 00’s it was decided that Spitalfields had to be developed. While this struck a blow to the feel of the old market, what is left still resonates with the area’s charm. It may not be the great melting pot of weird and wonderful that it once was but during the week – the music stalls on Thursdays in particular – you can find some great stalls. Weekends make a good day out too and the new shops attracted to the area have helped to make this a retail beacon.

Borough Market
Borough High Street, Stoney Street and Winchester Walk

AIL Says: One of the largest, most eclectic food markets in London, it’s worth a visit for the samples alone. Belgian beer stalls, cheese, meat, fish and veg – if you can’t find your dinner here, then you must be some kind of dummy. And it’s not just the market itself that spreads the joy but the atmosphere of lazy afternoon living that grows around it on weekends.

  • USERS 8/10

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