One of my favorite things to do in any city is to visit the local markets. It always brings into that city, makes me feel like a local and introduces me to new things. One of the best cities in the world with the most choices for this is London. The variety and scope of all the different markets around town are amazing. To keep things simple, I am going to give you a rundown on my top five.
Brick Lane, Brick Lane Vintage Market, and Backyard Market:
This is a three for one due to the fact that they are almost connected in and around The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. Wander down the alleys of this now defunct brewery where you can find a lot of delicious food, hand-crafted local artisan product, and vintage clothing and jewelry. This market has a very funky vibe with a lot of unusual stalls selling everything from old maps to a collection of typewriters, very bohemian. I try to travel light, so I had to stop myself from overstuffing my suitcase by buying a bunch of new and vintage shirts.The air around the market is full of sweet and savory smells from an assortment of stalls lined up around the Vintage Market entrance, from freshly made candy to bubbling curries. http://www.bricklanemarket.com
Old Spitalfields Market:
Another East End/Shoreditch find! In this market, you can see many of the vintage type stores next door to high-end retail companies like Jo Malone, Cutler & Gross, and Harry’s of London next door to more local stores like Kashif or Mercantile of London. The mish-mash of pricing is also evident in the market’s mix of food stalls. You will find independents like Sangucheria London Peru inspired menu alongside the likes of larger chains like Wagamama and Chirashi. I highly recommend Merkamo Ethiopian for traditional East-African cuisine, with a variety of original flavors and dishes that are not only 100% Vegan but fresh and full of flavor. Finish off the meal with a coffee from the Climpton and Sons stall. Heaven.
In the famed Camden Town, a mix of fashion and curiosities located by the Regent’s Canal is a haven of counter culture in an area bustling with tourists, teenagers, and punkers. There are over 1,000 stores, stalls, and cafes in the Camden Market complex with a nightlife scene that includes live music in alternative clubs and old-school pubs, and major stars playing at the Jazz Cafe and the Roundhouse. Go to Half Hitch where you can create your own gin, using ingredients you bring in. You can use anything from fruit to botanicals to flavor your gin for only 60 pounds!
Explore the Stables Market, that gets its name from its previous incarnation as a horse stable and hospital. It is the largest of Camden’s market spaces and featuring a variety of food, fashion, and craft stalls that spill from the network of tunnels into the yard.
You will find a line of tourists gathering at the life-size bronze statue of Amy Winehouse, who lived in Camden Town until her death in 2011, the statue was made by British sculptor Scott Eaton and is fun for a celeb selfie. It is a nice tribute to an immense talent who’s music still moves me!
Once you have worked up your appetite, head over to the West Yard for an assortment of street vendors to find a multitude of tasty dishes. As a Californian, the thing I miss most when I travel abroad is mexican food, so we headed over to Tacoma for some great nachos! We sat out in the West Yard with our dog and people watched while enjoying our edible reminder of home.
Music and performance abound at the market, all around you will find buskers working for a little coin to pay the rent, so bring some change and be generous!
Located in the heart of Central London, Borough Market is probably London’s most renowned and famous food market. Everything from confectionery treats to exotic spices can be found here, if you are willing to hunt around a bit. There are samples galore to try and even a food demonstration hall for cooking events and celebrity chefs to teach you a few of their secrets. You can also book a three-hour gastro-tour with passionate cook and food writer Celia Brooks it happens monthly for about 85 pounds.
I just love wandering around this market a smelling all the wonderful smells and seeing a lot of people that are really passionate about food. Go around noon and sit back and watch all the people rush from stall to stall on their lunch break. The market is closed on Sundays (except in December) and not all the vendors are there on Monday and Tuesday, so the best days to go are Wednesday through Saturday.
This outdoor weekend street market below the 19th-century railway arches in South East London has over 30 food and fresh produce stalls. It’s picturesque character of the railway arches and decoration encourages and allows you to become completely immersed in a new world experience. Be sure to check out The Cheese Truck, a favorite of mine with it’s assortment of blue cheeses (my first choice always) and Devi’s for it’s tasty mix of Mediterranean/North African cuisine, trust me here. After my fill of Devi’s I could only watch, but not partake in the waffles many people were enjoying from Waffle On. I wanted to eat everything i site!
I am a storyteller and I have been my whole life. I don't mean I lie, I just like to tell a tale or two from my experiences... and what is better than to help inspire others to experience something I love.