London Markets

London Markets

Just when you think you know London, you find out there’s another bit of it you’ve never heard about. That’s the beauty of our city – it never runs out of new places for us to explore. We all love a market, and there are so many more of them in London than just the obvious ones like Portobello, Borough and Spitalfields, although those particular ones are renowned for very good reasons.

Markets with a twist
Walking through some of the London markets you can feel like you’ve stepped into another country, even though you’ve only just left the tube. Have you ever been, for example, to Southall market, where you can buy live horses, goats and birds? You can also find loads of different European and Asian fabrics and, when you get hungry, snack on a chaat or a kebab from one of the local cafes. Or you can take the train or bus to Dalston for a trip to Ridley Road market and have a look at the custard apples, puna yams, parrot fish and live crabs, plus bargain clothes and fabrics from India, Africa and Turkey. At the end of the Victoria line, Brixton market sells masses of African and Caribbean meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, including West Indian specialities like breadfruit and flying fish.

Traditional markets, great bargains
If you feel like a more traditionally London experience, there’s the little Berwick Street market in Soho for buying cheap fruit and veg to eat the same day, the historic Petticoat Lane market where the Huguenots used to sell lace and you can now find a massive amount of bargain-price clothes, bags and shoes. Before he became a business tycoon, Sir Alan Sugar was a Petticoat Lane market trader. The goth/indie/emo centric Camden market is worth checking out for amusement value, as is the array of bizarre bits and pieces at Brick Lane market, from bike tyres and power tools to shoe laces and tiger rugs.

Why markets are a must
Don’t dismiss the classics just because they’re touristy and everyone goes on about them. Portobello is a great place to look at antiques and find an impressive birthday present, Spitalfields has loads of young designers’ stalls where, with speed and a good eye, you can snap up new trends before the masses and Borough is unbeatable for its sheer array of delicious and interesting food, which is a joy to browse around whether you’re an aspiring chef or just aspiring to eat something a bit more exciting than a carton of soup from the supermarket.

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Content updated: 21/02/2018 12:46

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