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5 unmissable London markets

Set your alarm and put on a comfy pair of shoes — because it’s well worth exploring London’s historic and thriving market scene. Whether you’re looking for plants, vintage and pre-loved clothes, second-hand books or delicious food, the city has a variety of buzzing markets to entice you with.


Columbia Road Flower Market in Shoreditch, east London

Columbia Road Flower Market

Every Sunday from 8am until 2pm, Shoreditch’s Columbia Road transforms into a colourful oasis, brimming with all kinds of flowers and houseplants.

Even if you’re not buying, it’s a visual treat and the perfect way to kick off a Sunday spent exploring east London: the road and its surroundings are full of independent shops, cafés and galleries.

Even better, it’s only around 30 minutes on foot from our Mile End and Whitechapel campuses.

Brick Lane Market

Something for the dedicated bargain-hunter, Brick Lane Market is bursting with antique bric-a-brac, vintage fabrics and eye-catching curios.

The food market day is open every Sunday, from 10am to 6pm. Lovers of vintage clothing and accessories should head to the Old Truman Brewery markets, which open from 11am to 6pm on both Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a very popular destination so the earlier you can get there, the better.

Once you’ve had your fill of browsing the stalls, enjoy one of the many food vendors that line Brick Lane, with everything from bagels to Balti.

Borough Market

One of the most famous food markets in the world, hungry Londoners and tourists alike flock to Borough Market in their thousands. And it’s no secret why — Borough is home to top-quality fresh produce, meat, seafood and artisanal goods, as well as delicious street food. 

Tucked away next to London Bridge, the market is fully open from Tuesday to Sunday, closing at 5pm every day except for Sundays when it closes at 4pm.

Top tip – many vendors will also give out free samples to tempt you, so make sure you visit on an empty stomach.

Portobello Road Market

Flanked by a terrace of iconic colourful houses, Portobello Road Market occupies a picturesque part of Notting Hill.

Five markets fused into one, while you can find everything from fruit and vegetables to second-hand clothing, it’s best known for its world-famous antiques market.

Stretching for half a mile, Portobello Road Market is a hotspot for jewellery, books and collectibles that date from the 1600s to the 1960s. The antiques market is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 7am to 7pm, but other parts of the market run every day except Sunday.

South Bank Book Market

A destination for book-lovers, the South Bank Book Market has been a Thameside fixture for many years. The perfect way to break up a riverside stroll, the market is made up of eight different stalls, offering a range of fiction and nonfiction, maps and even the odd antiquarian edition.

You’ll find South Bank Book Market under Waterloo Bridge, in front of the BFI. While the opening times of each stall may vary slightly, it largely runs from 10am to 7pm daily.

Once you’ve found the perfect new addition to your library, leaf through it at one of the many popular food and drink venues on the South Bank. 



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