The 10 Best Markets in London
Enjoy local vendors, international cuisines, and fresh air.
The sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze in the air, and you’re feeling a little bit hungry. What better way to spend a temperate afternoon in London than at one of its markets?
London is a cultural melting pot. Markets in this city date back to the Middle Ages, when people would gather to exchange food and textiles. Today, markets are still very much an essential part of London culture. Enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, keep reading to learn more about this age-old tradition in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market is a market located in the Covent Garden area of London, England. The market sells fresh produce, flowers, and other goods. The indoor market is also home to stalls from local artists and craftsmen. You can find hand-painted postcards, glass designs, and posters designed by Londoners for you to take home and enjoy!
Camden Lock Market
Don’t be fooled by the tourist trap of Camden Market near the tube station. The real Camden Market takes a little more searching but the result is a much more authentic London market experience. The Camden Lock Market is located away from the busy main street of Camden. In these lanes, you will find countless food stalls for takeaway and local produce. You will also find a wealth of leather goods shops, vintage stalls, and jewellery artisans. It may be a little out of the way, but it’s well worth the detour for Market enthusiasts!
Food, food, glorious food. That’s what this age-old market in London is known for. Located near Waterloo station, this food market houses some of the best street food in London. Nestled between pubs and cafes, there’s something for everyone at Borough Market. Historians have dated this market back to the Middle Ages when pies would be sold to tradespeople. After all this time, this market still sells pastries and meat pies for those looking to be transported back in time.
South Bank Market
Located near the London Eye, this central location by the river is a hotspot for tourists. With convenient stalls selling refreshments to weary travellers, South Bank is a handy spot to know about. In the wintertime, the smell of mulled wine and sausages fill the air from the collection of tightly packed Christmas stalls. In the summer the stalls have made way for outdoor beer gardens and taco vans. However, one thing that never changes is the second-hand bookstore that houses countless books of all genres. If you’re looking for a cheap read to enjoy on your travels, there’s no better place than South Bank!
Located in Notting Hill, this market is nestled among the pastel Victorian townhouses. Best known for its extensive vintage clothing stalls, this market is one for the fashion-conscious. Take a few hours to sift through the collections of denim jackets, leather pants, and silk dresses. Once you’re finished there, you can refresh yourself at some of the most delicious food stalls in London. With favourites such as Korean Fried Chicken and Thai Bowls, Portobello Road is a famous cultural melting pot.
Brick Lane Market
Located in the East End of London, in the heart of the Bangladeshi community. This area is known for its curry houses and Indian Restaurants. The Sunday UpMarket, the Vintage Market, the Backyard Market, the Tea Rooms and the Boiler House Food Hall are all located within the confines of the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. These markets operate at different times of the week and are worth researching depending on your interests.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Located in Bethnal Green, this market is famous for its overflowing buckets of flowers every Sunday. It’s also the prettiest market on this list. Because what could be more beautiful than a sea of tulips and daffodils begging to be wrapped up and taken home. This market is a fabulous place for floral arrangements, but even better for photography.
One of the most historic markets in all of London. Greenwich is known for its 16th-century architecture and grand green spaces. But if you’re looking for somewhere to grab a quick snack from local vendors, Greenwich Market is a welcome stop. In this market, there’s a wide variety of food stalls ranging from Churros to Italian food. Stop here for a quick bite and then head back outside to tour the naval museums!
Brixton Village & Market Row
This indoor shopping area is known for its cafes and excellent coffee, among many other things. Stop by here for some quick sustenance before checking out the David Bowie mural and other local street art. The fish market is also a special feature of this market, as it draws in people looking to take the market flavours home and cook for themselves!
Cabbages & Frocks Market
This small scale market in Marylebone is for the market-goers who want a more condensed experience. This London market is known for its cupcakes, vintage apparel, handbags and shoes. It often is said that if you want to spend an hour at a market, instead of the entire day, this one is for you. Pick a sunny day and enjoy this collection of quirky stalls nestled in a park setting.
Exploring markets is integral to understanding the culture of the city you’re exploring. Understanding cultures is integral to language learning! For those of you who are wanting to learn English, not just experience it, try our app LillyPad today!
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Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning