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There are many markets in London, many small neighbourhood fruit and vegetable markets you might stumble across at any time.
Then there's markets like the world-famous Covent Garden, which have become destinations for unique crafts as well as household goods.
Many of the markets in London get very busy and popular, especially at weekends - timing is everything. Get up early and grab some great one-off bargains, or go later and soak up the atmosphere, with loads of London of entertainment and food and drink too.
The really big markets in London include; Covent Garden Market, Portobello Road, Camden Lock and Borough Market. Columbia Market boasts a popular flower market while Spitalfields is a covered market with character and all sorts of different goods.
For more information on these and other top markets to see in London visit our blog: top 10 London markets you must visit. You might also be interested in our other page Shopping in Central London.
• Best for food: Borough Market • Best for vintage: Portobello or Camden • Best for handmade craft: Covent Garden • Best for flowers: Columbia • Best for old-worlde feel: Portobello • Best for covered market: Spitalfields
Portobello Market Camden Market Borough Market Covent Garden Market Columbia Market Spitalfields Market
Some markets are housed in iconic buildings, others have simply made a name for themselves through years of honest trading; here are the top markets in London for visitors and locals alike.
Portobello is a street market occupying Portobello Road north of Notting Hill. The South end of the street is mainly antiques, the middle is vegetables, and the north end bric-a-brac.
The market is open Monday – Saturday from 8am to 7pm, with traders usually operating from 8.30am to 6pm. In the summer stalls close between 5-6pm and in the winter they close between 4 and 5pm.
If you are after antiques, the main day is Saturday, but there are antiques stores open around the market for most of the week and a few antique traders on Fridays.
On Saturdays, Portobello is huge, with over 2,000 stalls, selling everything from books to bric-a-brac to lace. Thousands of people mill around browsing second-hand clothing stalls or other vintage items and collectables.
For those who have the patience to search and have some knowledge, there are some fantastic bargains.
You can walk to the market (just follow the crowds) from Notting Hill Underground in about 5/10 minutes and at the northern (less interesting end) of the market is Ladbroke Grove Underground. If you're staying in Bayswater you can easily walk it.
Portobello Market can be found on Portobello and Golborne Roads.
Underground Stations: Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove
Camden Market combines two former markets: Camden Stables Market, previously a horse stable and hospital, and Camden Lock Market.
Camden Market is right by the canal, and was originally a craft market but now has a much wider spectrum of goods on sale.
Camden Market has become one of the most popular visitor attractions in London. The people here tend to be younger here than other markets and it has a trendier feel, (but it's slowly becoming more and more commercialised).
The main market is by Regents Canal, you cannot miss it with the words Camden Market emblazoned over a railway bridge that crosses the main road outside.
The nearest underground is Camden Town. The number 24 bus stops outside and is one of may bus routes, the 24 goes very frequently connecting Camden Lock with the heart of Central London.
It is at the weekend that the market scene jumps fully into life with all stalls and shops fully trading and the lively Camden Lock Village opening Friday to Sunday.
The indoor fashion market at the Electric Ballroom opens on Sunday only.
There's a wide array of goods to view ranging from antiques to clothes (vintage and new) crafts, accessories and furnishings. Indeed just about everything and anything you could conceivably want, but probably not need. Sundays, in particular, tend to be mega-crowded.Underground Station: Camden Town
Borough Market is London's oldest food market. It was established on the south bank of the Thames when the Romans built the first London Bridge. It has occupied its present site for 250 years.
This gourmet's delight boasts a mouth-watering range of fresh food stalls under its Dickensian wrought-iron roof. Accent here is on quality, not cheapness.
Borough Market is also known for its Harry Potter connections.
Harry Potter Walking Tour for Muggles visiting Borough Market
Between Borough High Street, Bedale Street, Stoney Street and Winchester Walk nearest Underground is Borough or London Bridge, both a 5-minute walk away.
Underground Station: London Bridge
Historically Covent Garden's Apple Market was famous as the home of quality fruit and veg in London. Today you can find a range of unique handmade crafts and goods throughout the week - arts and crafts are at the weekends with more general market selling clothes and household good in the week.
Covent Garden has its own special atmosphere with a musicians and magicians regularly making an appearance, alongside both stalls and high-end shops. There really is something for everyone.
There's even the famous pub - The Punch and Judy - to relax in.
Underground Station: Covent Garden
Every Sunday this historic street fills with a bright patchwork of hundreds of flower stalls. Columbia Road is the capital's most colourful and sweet-smelling market.
Everything from bedding plants to 10-foot banana trees are up for grabs. A lot of the flower sellers grow their own plants.
Underground Station: Hoxton
Spitalfields Market is a covered market which marries market stalls with modern shops and restaurants. Best day to come is Sunday by far the busiest day, with over 150 stalls operating.
Organic vegetables, art, books, ethnic, vintage cars - a whole rag tag of merchants. Many leading contemporary artists and sculptors have their studios there.
Underground station: Aldgate East
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