London has always been a city of markets, with many long standing indoor and street markets spanning back several centuries. While the capital also has plenty of fantastic shopping centres and busy neighbourhoods packed with world-famous boutiques and brands, a visit to one of the city’s markets is always a special experience, and there’s nothing like the rush of discovering a hidden and unexpected treasure to give shopoholics a special buzz.
If you’re planning a trip to London with some of the great Special offers for London hotels, then make a note of some of the best markets to head to. Read on to find out more about them, and start looking forward to a fantastic shopping spree.
Portobello Road market
For guests staying at the Hotel London Hyde Park International who are looking for more fun Hyde Park activities beyond the usual sightseeing and tourist attractions, it’s worth making the short journey to nearby Notting Hill, and exploring the renowned Portobello Road street market.
While today, Notting Hill is a hub for trendy cafes and stylish boutiques, the old stretch of Portabello Road hearkens back to the area’s older roots, with an extensive market that extends down the stretch of the road. Up until the 1940s, it had mainly served locals with food, produce and other household essentials, but in the decades that followed, it has become better known for its exceptional antique and vintage fashion finds.
Now the neighbourhood and market are one of the top spots for visitors to come to when shopping in London, but before you head down, it’s worth knowing what you’ll find on each day.
The market is open six days a week, and is closed on Sundays, but different days will usually feature particular specialities. If you’re looking for great antique treasures, head down on the weekend during Fridays and Saturdays, when antique sellers from across London and further afield set up their stalls. Keen eyed fashion fans can usually find something on most days, but you’re best looking around Portobello Green or North Portobello on Fridays, especially if you’re after some unique vintage pieces.
Brick Lane market
Held on Sundays, Brick Lane market is another London market that is packed with history. The original market that took place in the Brick Lane area dates back to the 17th century. Uniquely, it was allowed to trade on Sundays, despite everything else in the city being closed on that day, to allow Jewish businesses to trade, after being closed on their Sabbath day.
Today, the market is a creative and artistic centre, packed with colourful and exciting items from local artists, fashion designers and crafts people. You’ll also be able to sample a tempting array of delicious street food, with plenty of snacks, drinks and hot food on offer from cuisines drawing inspiration from all over the world. While you’re there, take a little time to admire the vibrant and often thought-provoking street art on the nearby alleys and walls, which regularly feature work from leading street artists, and always make a great photo opportunity.
If you’re planning to visit the Brick Lane market from the Hotel London Hyde Park International, it’s easy to get to via public transport. There are a number of Tube stations close by, including Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street, which have frequent connections from most major lines.
Dating back to the 11th century, Borough Market might just take the prize for the oldest running market in London, and when you’re staying in the city with special offers for London hotels, then it’s an absolutely essential place to visit, at least once.
Borough Market can be found beneath the railway viaducts close to London Bridge, and runs throughout the week. It originally was a food and produce market, and today the area specialises in gourmet food, and artisanal produce. For those who love fresh and delicious food, the market is a veritable treasure trove of irresistible and tasty treats.
The market features a number of main traders, that sell exceptional items such as fresh speciality cheeses, cured meats and speciality breads. You’ll also find delicious and appetising fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as plenty of freshly cooked food from local stalls. Check out the delicious range of sweets and chocolates, snacks from all over the world, freshly brewed coffee and mouth-watering hot foods.
Old Spitalfields Market
As one of London’s most popular covered markets, this is the perfect shopping destination to head to, when the weather is a little miserable. There’s plenty to browse in here, including excellent fashion finds, from independent designers from across the city. Look out for quirky printed t shirts, unique handmade accessories and jewellery, and cutting edge items from trend-setting artists and makers.
The market also has plenty of other great items to discover, including arts and crafts, antiques, beauty and delicious food. It’s the perfect place to pick up a special gift for loved ones, and you’ll find some delicious snacks and drinks to enjoy while you’re there.
Columbia Road Flower Market
Held on Sunday mornings on Columbia Road in East London, the area transforms into a unique and colourful market, dedicated to all things plant-related. If you’re a keen green-fingered gardener or want a special bouquet, then this market will be a dream come true to visit. It’s best to get there as early as you can, as it opens at 8am running until 3pm, and many of the markets top picks are often quickly snapped up by keen shoppers early in the day.
The copious amounts of potted plants, blossoms and blooms bring some wonderful colour to the area on a dull Sunday morning, while the variety of unique plants provides plenty of exotic and quirky items to look through. If you’re feeling peckish, make your way to the nearby Broadway Market afterwards, where you can find plenty of delicious fresh food, snacks and fresh drinks to enjoy afterwards.