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A Guide to London’s Hidden Gems: Markets

Here’s our List of The Best Hidden Markets You Won’t Want to Miss when Visiting London!

If you’re visiting London, your initial instinct would probably be to see the main highlights. Who hasn’t heard of the London Eye, Big Ben, or Buckingham Palace… But if you’re looking for more of a unique experience and a taste of the ‘real’ London, I’d say go where the locals go.

In this article, I’ll give you the inside scoop on the best-kept hidden and visit-worthy markets in London that even some natives don’t know about. These less-visited spots will definitely save you a few quid in comparison to shopping at the high-end high streets like Oxford Circus, and you’ll be sure to have a memorable experience.

Leadenhall Market

London has no shortage of markets, but I’d have to admit to Leadenhall Market is one of the prettiest. Dating back to the 14th century when it was the centre of Roman London, Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest in the city. The beautiful ornate roof, curved beams, and bright colours make it incredibly photogenic, so you’ll definitely want to get your camera ready when visiting.

With its enchanting Victorian interiors and rich, colourful history, there’s almost a magical atmosphere about it. So it makes perfect sense why it was chosen to be used as a film location for the entrance to Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.

So what can you expect when going there? 

I’ll have to admit that quite a few of the shops, eateries, and bars are on the high-end side but that shouldn’t stop you from going. You can find Leadenhall Market in the City of London, on Gracechurch Street. It can be a tricky spot, so having Google Maps on hand will help.

Nearest stations: Monument, Fenchurch Street, Bank.

Portobello Road Market

Portobello is really and truly several markets in one, Saturday being the day when things are in full swing. You can get just about anything on Portobello Road, from delicious food, fresh fruit & veg, to collectible antiques and fashionable clothing. 

The bright antique section, located near Notting Hill tube station, is the market’s main attraction. With half a mile of road lined with hundreds of bustling market stalls, stores, and arcades, you’re bound to find something worthy of ending up on Antiques Roadshow. Expect to find a variety of items on offer such as glass and crystal, silver, books, and many other collectibles. 

From Elgin Crescent to Talbot Rd, you find the cheese and fishmongers, as well as stock up on baked goods, oils, olives, gourmet cheeses, meat, seafood, and other specialist items. Pop by Westway Area where you’ll find the fashion market. This section offers vintage accessories, second-hand goods great for any fashionista hunting for a bargain!

If this sounds like your kind of market, I’d say the best days to go are Friday and Saturday although it is open every day except Sunday. 

Nearest stations: Ladbrook Grove, Nottinghill Gate.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Considered to be one of the real hidden gems of London, the Columbia Road Flower Market has around 50 stalls selling every kind of flower and plant you could imagine. With only a 10-minute walk from East End’s buzzing Brick Lane, this beautiful flower market is tucked away behind a housing estate. The market is open every Sunday from 8am to 3pm. Although, if you do plan on going, it’s best to arrive early as the best flowers tend to sell within the first hour or two. And even though this is a flower market, you can have a full day out with the 60 small independent shops and cafes local to the area.  

Brixton Village

A centerpiece in Black British history and culture, the Brixton Village is a vibrant indoor market filled with over 100 independent traders. As soon as you walk in, the smell of incense and sounds of reggae, afrobeats, and electronica hit you. 

This cultural utopia has something for everyone such as: An inclusion led bookshop (Roundtable Books), a good few fishmongers and butchers, vintage music shops specialising in vinyl, plant shops, jewellers, art dealers, African clothes shops, Latin & Caribbean food shops, Restaurants of every cuisine you can think of, and so much more!

Located in the very centre of Brixton though hidden at the back of the station, Brixton Village is lovely for a day out where you can expect to get one-of-a-kind authentic merch and plenty of bargains. Open every day from 8am to 11:30pm except on Mondays (closes at 6pm), this diverse and colourful village is not to miss!

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