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The market scene in London has changed so much over the last few years. Whilst some of the more traditional markets have struggled to adapt, the street food scene has exploded and the more successful markets have upped their game. Visitors are spoilt for choice in London in terms of marvellous markets and fantastic food stalls.
So from flavourful foodie fare to the most perfect plants and flowers, here are our top 10 best markets in London to splash your cash in:
10 best markets in London to visit
Maltby Street Market, Bermondsey
Likely the least well known market on this entire list, Maltby Street market in South East London is one of our favourite food experiences and the one we return to time and time again. Possibly because the setting is so unconventional (an unassuming industrial style alleyway tucked away from all the usual tourist sites) and the choice of food stalls so sublime. We’d highly recommend a tasting and tipple session in this area as it also rubs shoulders with the Bermondsey Beer Mile.
You can also visit during the week as several of the restaurants and wine bars are open most days, but the main street food market itself is only open Friday to Sundays.
Old Spitalfields, East London
One of London’s oldest and most enduring markets (originally founded over 350 years ago), Old Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Street station (not be confused with the ‘new’ one, which is now a fruit and veg wholesaler in Leyton) is a colourful, covered market chock full of street eats, budget bites plus an array of arts. crafts and antiques stalls.
For us, Old Spitalfields Market is all about the food section – we bypass the permanent restaurants here and head straight for the food kiosks – from Taiwanese dumplings to light, fluffy falafel, we can always fill our foodie fix here.
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Borough Market, Southwark, London
Yes, our choice of Borough market in the top 10 is a little predictable but quite simply, it is one of the best foodie experiences in London. Whilst a little busier than say Maltby Street Market, half the fun is the hustle and bustle, ducking amongst the stalls to try some samples before deciding where to spend your cash (e.g. your hard earned ‘dough’ at a bakery!).
All tastes are catered for and the sheer range of food stalls to choose from is superb – make a day of it and explore the London Bridge area afterwards.
For more pictures and our full guide to Borough Market, read our dedicated Borough Market blog >
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Brixton Market, South London
Beatnik Brixton is delightfully diverse and warmly welcoming, as demonstrated by its range of markets to explore. A lot more authentic than your Borough or Camden market experiences will ever be, try the Electric Avenue market (situated in a charming Victorian crescent) selling the best flavours and food from Asia, Africa and the Carribean. The biggest line when we visited last was for the Jamaican patties sold by ‘Healthy Eaters’.
Brixton Village and Market Row is one of our favourite food forays in London (we are slightly addicted to the Okan okonomiyaki stall here) as there are loads of restaurants and eateries to choose from, plus a lot of harder to find ingredients are available here.
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Broadway Market, Hackney
Described as a ‘Victorian working street market’ (yeah, we aren’t sure either), during the week, Broadway Market is a standard shopping street with lots of nice bars, cafes and deli style affairs to choose from.
However, head along on a Saturday and you’ll be rewarded with an alfresco Aladdin’s cave of food stalls (my God, the smells here on a sunny Saturday afternoon are unbeatable). Once you’ve got your gourmet grub from a stall, enjoy it in nearby London Fields, one of east London’s most popular public parks – we’d recommend grabbing a cold beer from one of the craft beer stalls or from the famous Cat and Mutton pub.
Portobello Road Market, Notting Hill
Notting Hill’s shopping street comes alive at the weekends, as a circus of street-traders sell their wares down both sides of Portobello Road – from antiques and bric-a-brac to retro posters and vintage binoculars, this is a fun way to spend a Friday or Saturday.
As it can become tourist central, we’d recommend getting here early as otherwise, it can take a while to circumnavigate the market (it is one long road which gets packed easily). The food-stalls here are also very good, especially more towards the Ladbroke Grove end – we really like the Acklam Village street food market area in particular.
Greenwich Market, South East London
One of the most historic markets in London (if not the country), Greenwich Market opened over 200 years ago in 1737 and moved to its current site a few years later.
A gorgeous gem of a market, Greenwich is a lush riverside area in South East London that has heaps of maritime history, glorious old buildings and a rather nice market, which specialises in arts, crafts, antiques and collectables as well as an ever changing roster of international food stalls. Make a day of it in Greenwich – read our dedicated blog about all the things to enjoy whilst in Greenwich.
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Columbia Road Flower Market, Bethnal Green
Alright, petal?! London’s biggest and best flower market comes to Columbia Road every Sunday morning. During the week, it is a cute combination of cafes and craft shops but it transforms and bursts into colour for the weekly Columbia Road Flower Market.
Located near Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, this is where all the locals get their plants as it is so much cheaper than the chain stores and garden centres – plus it is quite the experience due to all the noise and banter from the competing stalls. Try to get there early on Sunday morning (before 8am – it gets very busy from 9am onwards), grab a coffee and bacon butty (or veg sausage roll) and enjoy. Check out our full guide to the Columbia Road Flower Market >
Brick Lane Market, Shoreditch
How would we describe Brick Lane Market in one sentence? Shopping and street art with bohemian flourishes, and the best bagels in London – yep, that’ll do. East London’s Brick Lane is a glorious mix of gentrification and grunge – you’ll still likely be asked if you want to buy drugs but save your money for the weekend street food markets or one of the uber famous 24 hour bagel shops.
Also renowned for its Curry Mile (a large cluster of curry and Indian restaurants can be found here, it also boasts retro / vintage stalls in various warehouses along Brick Lane, like the Old Truman Brewery. This is also a short walk from the Columbia Road Flower Market mentioned above so why not combine the two – get more ideas about to do in East London with our ‘Things to do in east London’ blog >
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Camden Market, North London
Camden has changed a lot over the years so the gentrification is real and the markets are starting to feel a bit more mainstream and overly commercial. However it is a great spot for shopping for quirky and edgy fashions around the Stables area.
There you will find hundreds of stalls and shops selling everything from vintage, goth and punk clothing through to handmade crafts, bric a brac and street food. Check out the futuristic Cyberdog store, where steampunk meets ravishing robotics, and the Cheese Bar for delicious melted cheese goodness.
An honourable mention to the Shepherd’s Bush Market which just missed out on a top 10 spot – awash with fabrics, there is also a nice range of food stalls and possibly London’s highest concentration of falafel wraps stalls (several all within Shepherd’s Bush Market, but the best has to be the aptly titled ‘Mr Falafel’).
Check out our other London blog posts
- The best Sunday markets in London
- Things to do in east London – travel guide
- Things to do in Shoreditch, east London
- South Bank walk – one of the best walks around London (with map)
- The best brewery taprooms in London
- Bermondsey Beer Mile – the ultimate guide with map
- A Guide to Trinity Buoy Wharf
- A guide to Victoria Park Village and park in east London
- Things to do in Hackney Wick, east London