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Shopping the Best of London’s Market

Shopping the Best of London’s Market

Markets are an important part of everyday life in London, where produce is sold, goods are bartered and bargains are made. There are several scattered all over the city, all specializing in different wares. Here’s a guide to the main markets and what they have to offer.

Bermondsey

Address: Bermondsey Square on Tower Bridge Road

Trading: 04.00 to 12.00 daily

Description: One of London’s oldest markets, Bermondsey is famous as a haunt of thieves, due to an ancient ruling (which, incredibly was only recently abolished) stating that the origin of goods sold before sunrise could not be brought under suspicion, therefore allowing stolen goods to be traded freely and without question. For this reason, the market has traditionally started very early in the morning. Get there early to find the best antiques.

Portobello Road

Address: Portobello Road, Notting Hill

Trading: Saturdays, 06.00 to 16.00

Description: This area was a popular hippy hang-out in the 1960s and still has a bohemian feel today. The Saturday market stretches the whole length of the road and sells antiques and bric-a-brac as well as fruit and vegetables. The road itself is lined with antique shops, so it’s worth a visit any day of the week.

Brick Lane

Address: Brick Lane, Whitechapel, East End

Trading: 07.00 to 14.00 on Sundays

Description: In the heart of London’s Bangladeshi community, this market is surrounded by Indian restaurants and sells all sorts of junk and jumble from tables and chairs to kitchen sinks.

Camden

Address: Camden Lock, Camden Stables, Buck Street and Inverness Street in Camden Town

Trading: Sundays, 10.00 to 18.00, although many stalls are now open throughout the week

Description: This is a lively and colorful part of the city with some weird and wonderful market stalls selling unique clothing and jewellery and alternative music.

Petticoat Lane

Address: Middlesex Street, Wentworth Street and around, Whitechapel, East End

Trading: weekdays and Sundays from 09.00 to 14.00

Description: Started over 400 years ago by French petticoat sellers, this market is still going strong today. The Lane was renamed by the prudish Victorians to Middlesex Street in order not to offend any delicate sensibilities, but the market retains its historic name. You won’t find many women’s undergarments any more, but most of the stalls still specialize in clothing.

Borough

Address: Southwark Street, just south of the River

Trading: fruit and vegetable wholesale Monday to Friday 04.00 to 08.00; farmers’ market and fine food market Fridays 12.00 to 18.00 and Saturdays 09.00 to 16.00

Description: Traditionally a fruit and vegetable wholesaler, this market has been extended in recent years to include an excellent fine food market and a farmers’ market. It’s housed in a marvelous Victorian hall.

Leadenhall

Address: Gracechurch Street, next to Lloyd’s of London and near Bank of England

Trading: weekdays, 08.00 to 15.00

Description: Another great food market in an old Victorian building. It’s in the heart of the City, London’s financial district, and is busy with office crowds at lunchtime.

Billingsgate

Address: Trafalgar Way, Docklands, East End

Trading: Tuesday to Saturday 05.00 to 08.30, Sunday 06.00 to 08.00

Description: This is the UK’s largest fish market, where fish from UK seas and beyond are sold and transported to restaurants and shops all over the country. All sorts of fish and seafood are on offer, and stocks vary depending on daily catches.

Covent Garden

Address: Covent Garden, opposite the Royal Opera House

Trading: daily, 09.00 to 18.00

Description: This gentrified old fruit and vegetable market is now a classy European-style square with designer shops and stalls surrounded by trendy bars, cafes and restaurants. It’s now more popular with tourists rather than locals.

Gabriel’s Wharf

Address: Upper Ground and Riverside Walk, beside the OXO Tower on the South Bank

Trading: 10.00 to 18.00 Tuesday to Sunday

Description: Surrounded by old warehouses with a bandstand at its center where live jazz is often played in the summer, this pleasant market sells individually designed ceramics, sculpture, paintings and other arts and crafts as well as clothing, jewellery and accessories.

Greenwich

Address: King William Walk

Trading: 07.30 to 17.00 on Thursdays and 09.30 to 17.00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Description: Established in 1737, Greenwich is another of London’s oldest markets. It’s now a huge complex of stalls, shops, bars and restaurants, and every day there’s a different variety of wares for sale – antiques and collectibles on Thursdays; antiques and collectibles as well as arts and crafts on Fridays; and an additional food hall at weekends.

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