London is renowned for the quality of its markets, where you can pick up anything you can think of, from antique furniture to household goods, local artwork to rare vinyl, and everything in between. Tourists might be tempted to stick to London’s wealth of high street shops and designer boutiques, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t go off the beaten track and check out what’s on offer. Here are some of the capital’s best markets.
Alfie’s Antique Market:
This is the largest indoor market of its kind in London, with 75 dealers inhabiting no less than five stories. Located on Church Street in Westminster’s Lisson Grove, this is the place to come for all manner of goods, including silver, furniture, jewellery, paintings, ceramics, glass and vintage clothing. This is a great place to pick up one-of-a-kind pieces, as is attested to by the fact that celebrity designers of all stripes, including Kelly Hoppen and Tom Dixon, can often be found foraging here.
Probably London’s most famous food market, Borough is a collection of stalls featuring international cuisine situated underneath the railway station and covered by its arches. This evocative Victorian atmosphere is a brilliant place to experience some of London’s very best street food, from paella to gourmet burgers, wok-fried chow mein to Balkan Borek, and gourmet goat to German wurst. Foodies will be in paradise at this bustling market, which is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 5pm, Fridays from 10am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 8am to 5pm.
A restored Victorian food market in the heart of the City, Leadenhall Market swarms during weekday lunchtimes with hungry workers looking for sustenance from its delicious offerings. Leadenhall Market does a particularly excellent line in cheeses, seafoods, meat, poultry and game. This area is brilliant for pubs, where workers head for a boozy lunch or hard-earned drink at the end of the day. Inside the market itself is The Lamb’s Tavern, which is always heaving of a lunchtime and serves excellent Young’s beers and pub grub. If you’re in central London between 7am and 4pm on Monday to Friday, you should definitely check out Leadenhall Market – its red and green colour theme makes it look particularly Christmassy towards the end of the year. If you’re after Edgware Road hotels, Marble Arch by Montcalm is a luxurious property in a fantastic location.
Camden Lock Market:
Established in 1975, this was the market which started the phenomenon that now draws more than 150,000 a week to the Camden Town markets. It remains the hub of the area’s markets, with far more than just an array of different goods on offer: musical performances and showings of cult films are often on the cards here too. Fashion lovers will feel very at home at Camden Lock, with an array of vintage outlets and jewellers. It’s also one of the original arts and crafts markets in London, and is devoted to nurturing up-and-coming designers as well as hosting artisans from all corners of the globe.