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London’s best markets

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 10 March, 2024

From fruit-and-veg stands piled high with produce to chatty antiques sellers, London has a long and proud tradition of regular, public markets.

Some are set within high-arched Victorian structures, others thrown together in an open-air jumble, but all will give you a taste of an older way of shopping: browsing, haggling, rooting around for a treasure.

Markets big and small pop-up all over town at different times of the week, month or year – selling everything from vintage records to artisan street food – but these are the most established, unmissable shopping spots.

Who to go with: tour operators

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  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Close up of a stall selling artisanal breads

Bucket List Experience

Borough Market

A food market has stood beside London Bridge since at least the 12th century, and the current model – with Victorian architecture and railway arches covering many of the food outlets – has had a huge revival in recent years as London has become one of Europe’s biggest foodie hubs.

Stalls range from traditional fruit and veg to artisan bakers, charcuterie, cheese counters and chocolatiers, with some of the capital’s best restaurants in the historic streets that wind out from the main marketplace. Unquestionably London’s biggest culinary draw with over 100 stalls, it’s phenomenally popular with tourists, but local foodies also flock here for the fantastic street food, which ranges from artisan chorizo sandwiches to Egyptian curries, fresh pasta and Indian dosas, eaten on the go as trains rumble overhead.

Good for age: 13+

Brick Lane Market

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Street view of a busy market on a sunny day

Experience

Against the backdrop of authentic East End curry houses and junk shops, this weekend market selling vintage clothes to local art and food is the embodiment of the East End scene. London’s edgy diversity in all its scruffy glory.

Good for age: 13+

Camden Market

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Close up of the market welcome sign during the daytime

Experience

Beloved of teens, tourists and tie-dye fans, this rambling collection of markets, selling everything from clothes and crafts to vinyl and vegan food, stretches along Camden Lock and the historic Pickford Stables.

Good for age: 13+

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Front view of the market during the day

Bucket List Experience

Covent Garden

Covent Garden piazza is one of London’s best-loved tourist draws; a quaint old apple market, built in 1830, and converted in 1980 into a hubbub of street performers, cafes, bars and restaurants. The central covered quarter is home to the daily market; on Mondays it’s an antique-hunters heaven, while Tuesday to Sunday sees stalls selling everything from hand-made jewellery to bespoke waistcoats, one-off clocks and hand-dyed scarves.

The two sub-ground terraces are home to two of London’s favourite watering holes, the Crusting Pipe, where buskers play classical music for the gathered drinkers, and the Punch & Judy, which also has a terrace overlooking the main piazza.

In culture and literature, this cobbled square is inextricably linked with the story Pygmalion and its musical adaptation My Fair Lady. Many come to Covent Garden piazza purely for its atmosphere, created by buskers, jugglers and other street performers – if you want London at its most vibrant, this is the place to come.

Good for age: 4+

Columbia Road Market

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Stalls of flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market

Experience

One for the Instagram crowd, Columbia Road blazes with colour every Sunday morning, when the flower market spreads out along the street.

Good for age: 18+

Spitalfields Market

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

Elevated view of a busy indoor market during the daytime

Experience

A covered market close to the City of London that’s been operating for over 350 years, come for one-off pieces of jewellery, vintage clothing and artisan food.

Good for age: 13+

Maltby Street Market

  • London, United Kingdom (UK)

View of street markets during the daytime

Experience

Great little foodie market filled with upscale food stalls, squeezed into an alleyway alongside and under converted railway arches beneath Tower Bridge. Open all year round on weekends.

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

When to do it

London’s markets are spread across different days, but all start early in the morning, which is when you’ll find the best stock, freshest food and vintage bargains. All of them – particularly Camden and Borough markets – are much busier on weekends, so try and aim for a weekday.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • London

Whether you’re travelling to London, planning an event or looking for a unique gift idea, Chubby Fellow is at your service. Choose from one of our tried and tested Ready-Made Food Experiences hosted by a born and bred Londoner and full time foodie: - Food tour around the heart of Soho and the famous Chinatown. - Best of British food tour around London Bridge and Borough Market. - East End food tour around Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market. - Camden food tour around its famous markets. - Ultimate CHEESE experience around London Bridge and Borough Market. - GIN extravaganza around Mayfair and the West End. All experiences are Private ensuring you have the most intimate, special and tipity top experience possible!

Price £160

Min age 18

Rating 4.95 / 5 [196 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • London

While Borough Market is firmly on the tourist trail I will show you the hidden, quirky history that only the locals know. Starting from the famous market we will discover the heroes and villains that makes this corner of London such an amazing place. Guaranteed only small groups away from the crowds in the quiet backstreets. This is a family friendly tour, with a personal touch. Behind the waterfront there is a maze of streets, with 2,000 years of history to uncover. We will hear about Shakespeare and his rivals, who inspired Dickens and the area's dark side! Friendly, fun and informative tours with a fully qualified tour guided. An excellent safe way to reintroduce you and your friends back to London! Or if you are a local a great way to find about your city's secrets and quiz a real London expert. Message me if you would like a private group or corporate tour. This could be an ideal present for the history buff in your life! Find out about my other tours via @stevedoestours

Price £15

Min age 8

Rating 4.96 / 5 [53 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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