The Best Markets in London

Some of London’s markets are age-old. Others, like the Southbank, are almost brand-new. But as long as the weather’s fair, they’re a great place to hang out—and maybe grab a bargain.

Portobello Rd, London, UK
Portobello Road is a colorful stretch of shops and stalls selling bric-a-brac and antiques. Part trendy neighborhood, part flea market. On Saturdays, thousands of people flock there for bargains. I recommend going on a weekday. You can have the place practically to yourself to mill around. Grab fish-n-chips to go and find an authentic souvenir.
16B Electric Ave, Brixton, London SW9 8JX, UK
In South London, just off the Victoria line, there’s a one-stop-shop for all your boozing and dining desires. But unlike Borough, this isn’t a market from which you walk, wait in line, and then eat while standing and walking and waiting some more. Rather, this is a cluster of small restos and bars all huddled in a pseudo-mall of sorts, their “garage doors” opened to the public, serving sit-down-and-dine cuisines to suit any fancy: Thai, Mexican, Italian, Indian and more. What’s more, even though there’s a “roof,” most tables are technically outside—and no matter how cold it is, Londoners will still sit and nosh under heated lamps. Some of the most talked-about London restos are here, including Franco Manca for pizza, Honest Burgers for (you guessed it!) burgers, and Seven at Brixton’s for ginger beer mojitos. Yum. It shuts down around 11:30/midnight, but the fun don’t stop ‘til closing time.
32 Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London NW1 8AL, UK
I could have spent days at Camden Market! There’s loads to see and something for everyone. My favourite find from Camden is an awesome nautical style rockabilly dress (which I saved £10 on :). I also ate the most epic burrito of my life in Camden. It was heavenly.
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Over the past two centuries, the covered market at Borough, not far from London Bridge, has become one of the country’s most famous foodie spots. From Wednesday to Saturday each week hundreds of traders gather to sell homemade breads, hand-reared pork, artisan chocolate and all manner of ingredients—plus excellent coffee, fresh juices and organic wine. Plentiful samples add to the convivial vibe, and restaurants around the market’s edge provide additional sustenance for longer stops.
Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, UK
Columbia Road is London’s main flower market. On Sundays, it’s totally filled with flowers. It’s an amazing place. —Sophie Howarth Columbia Road Sundays, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. This story appeared in the Premier 2009 issue.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure