A quintessential part of London is going to markets, and there aren’t a shortage to choose from. When you tire of the chain stores on Oxford Street, it’s time to spend a day wandering the stalls of foods, clothing, jewelry, antiques and miscellany.
I’ve been adding to this draft all semester to finally present you with my London market overview.
Spitalfields (in Shoreditch):
There are other markets in Shoreditch but this is the one I went to. This market was nice for food stalls, but I actually didn’t love the area. I guess I’m not hipster enough for Shoreditch.
Camden Lock and Camden Stables
So I didn’t see Tom Hiddleston there, but I did walk past Benjamin Cook who you will probably only know if you’ve seen the documentary “Becoming YouTube” or if you’ve read his work with the Radio Times. He’s kind of hard to miss with the bright dyed red hair, yeah? Camden is actually made up of several markets. I prefer Camden Lock for food and Camden Stables for antiques and vintage clothing (though there is a lot of tacky junk you have to sort through as well).
The first time I went to Camden Stables, I stopped into a used leather jacket shop which had a rack of jackets for £10 each and was playing the Beatles. It felt like a very British afternoon.
Portobello Road Market (Notting Hill)
Known for it’s antiques markets, I went here to do some Christmas shopping ( and some shopping for myself of course). My friend and I wandered for ages. Antiques, food, bric-a-brac, you name it. Portobello Road Market is really only alive on Saturdays, so don’t bother the rest of the week. Sorry I don’t have more pictures! But the Notting Hill area has many colorful houses as seen below:
I was intimidated by its foodie reputation at first, but I am so glad I stopped by before I left London. If I ever move to London, this is certainly where I’d like to do my shopping for specialty foods.
Spices, olive oils, game, foreign foods, fresh ciders, organic produce, home-made jams. And so much delicous British cheese. I picked up some jam and apple jelly to take back to the States.
And for lunch I had a reindeer burger. Yes, you read that correctly. Reindeer. It actually tasted more like a turkey burger than a venison burger but was still quite delicious. The stall sold all kinds of rare game including zebra, springbok and camel. I asked the stall owner if those foods are actually commonly eaten in their source country and she told me they are. I still have my doubts about the zebra…
I don’t think Monmouth Coffee is considered a part of Borough Market, but I did go there as well. I found the coffee unimpressive, but the chocolate truffle I purchased at the counter was an explosion of flavor.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
With the Christmas season comes different pop-up markets in London. I went to the one at Southbank Centre before going to the BFI for a screening. Judging by the food selection, I think it’s supposed to be a German Christmas market. There were lots of hand-crafts and mulled wine.
I have also gone to Exmouth Market, a very small street-food market, for lunch on days I have class since it’s down the street from City University London.
There are still many markets left to explore if I ever return to London!