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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

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.

Recommendations

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Borough Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Close up of a stall selling artisanal breads

London’s premier gastro hub, with over 100 stalls in a historic covered market, offering everything from artisan breads and cheeses to street food, hand-made chocolates and vegan cakes.

Best for ages 13+

Brick Lane Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Street view of a busy market on a sunny day

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.

Best for ages 13+

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Camden Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Close up of the market welcome sign during the daytime

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.

Best for ages 13+

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Covent Garden

London, United Kingdom (UK)

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Bucket List Experience
Front view of the market during the day

This iconic and atmospheric West End square has a historic Victorian market building, street performers, restaurants and boutiques.

Columbia Road Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Stalls of flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market

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

Best for ages 18+

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Spitalfields Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Elevated view of a busy indoor market during the daytime

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.

Best for ages 13+

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Maltby Street Market

London, United Kingdom (UK)

View of street markets during the daytime

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.

Best for ages 18+

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Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: +
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

PRIVATE London Food Tours - Borough Market, Soho, East End

London

PRIVATE London Food Tours - Borough Market, Soho, East End
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 [191 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Borough Market and beyond

London

Borough Market and beyond
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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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

London

Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

view of houses of parliament at night

World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination.