Five cool London markets

By Megan Singleton

On Fridays and Saturdays, eclectic Portobello Road is a throng of street stalls and shoppers hunting for bargains. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Pablo Recio
On Fridays and Saturdays, eclectic Portobello Road is a throng of street stalls and shoppers hunting for bargains. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Pablo Recio

When in London, shopping on Oxford Street, a posh high tea and a West End show are a must, but if you have a little longer, or you just love markets, here are five worth considering.

Alfies Antique Market

This off-the-beaten track market is a gem that most visitors to London have never heard about, let alone visited. Take the tube to Marylebone and after walking past the Middle Eastern stalls and veges and you will come upon Alfies, a three-story treasure trove of genuine antiques and tat - so you need a good eye. Browse through Art Deco to 20th Century chandeliers, jewellery stalls, vintage clothing, old posters and tins. Open Tuesday-Saturday.

Borough Market

If you find yourself peckish between Thursday and Saturday, head to Borough Market at London Bridge. You'll find 70 stalls selling artisan breads, cheeses, fresh produce, different ethnic cuisine made fresh to order, butchers and fishmongers. It's the kind of market you want to visit at lunchtime on your way to the Tate Modern or somewhere on Bankside. Come nearer closing time though and the vendors will practically give it away.

Portobello Market

Notting Hill Gate is famous for its expensive houses and annual street parade, but on Fridays and Saturdays eclectic Portobello Road is a throng of street stalls and shoppers hunting for bargains. Vintage outfits, antique jewellery and fresh produce stalls stand side-by-side for blocks. A smaller number are open from Monday to Thursday, which is a better day to get a photo in front of that book store made famous by Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the movie Notting Hill.

Old Spitalfields Market

The building alone is reason enough to come here. Built in 1875, this Victorian hall is sitting on the cobbled streets near Liverpool Street tube station. It's a traditional market with fresh produce, artisan breads and cafes, plus boutique and chic shops. The Thursday antique market is full of collectibles and Friday is for fashionistas and art lovers. You'll find large companies and small bohemian stores all in together. Open seven days.

Brick Lane Market

This flea market sells everything from antiques to bric-a-brac, clothes and jewellery. It's full of bargains for those who love to browse. Behind the stalls are restaurants selling all the favourite food from this local Bangladesh and Bengali community - and from some of London's best curry houses. At the bottom of Brick Lane you will find shops selling beautiful Indian saris and silks. Open Sundays 8am-2pm.

Click here for Megan's tips on a shopaholic weekend in London.

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