For quite some time now, East London has been the place to be in the capital and, arguably, the country. With the regeneration of many areas – thanks to the 2012 London Olympics – and the burgeoning tech startup scene, East London is attracting some of the most cutting edge artists, foodies and musicians from around the world.
Not to be outdone, the old-fashioned street markets have been rejuvenated too. Now populated with the young and trendy, they have changed immeasurably over the last decade or so. Let’s take a look at some of best in the area:
Brick Lane, Tower Hamlets, E1
Sundays need never be boring again once you’ve discovered Brick Lane market. Buskers busking, street art adorning nearly every wall and fantastic people-watching moments make Brick Lane what it is. Home to some of the finest street food and weirdest flea market merchandise, this is one not to be missed.
Columbia Road, Tower Hamlets, E2
Just up the road from Brick Lane, Columbia Road Flower Market is an altogether more genteel affair. This is by far the best place in London for cut flowers and the sights and smells make getting up early on a Sunday worthwhile. As with so many parts of East London, the shops found behind the market stalls have been transformed too and you can now find all manner of boutiques and bookshops while you’re out buying your blooms.
Broadway Market, Hackney, E8
Hungry? Head for Hackney. Every Saturday Broadway Market serves up an array of food that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. This is foodie heaven, and it is not limited to just the stalls. Many of the shops that make up the street are food orientated too so you really will be spoilt for choice here.
Netil Market, Hackney, E8
Around the corner from Broadway Market on the boundaries on London Fields, is Netil Market. This tiny market is home to some of the coolest designers offering up some truly unique items, so it should definitely be on your East London market list. If you’re a burger fan you can find the finest in London (seriously) here by visiting the Lucky Chip van – be prepared to queue though!
Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets, E1
Spitalfields divides opinion. It is the Marmite of markets. Many of the old heads who used to get down there prior to the refurbishment now shun it, but we think they’re missing out. Great street food, vintage clothing, books, artwork, jewellery and crafts can all be found here and the bimonthly record market can turn up some amazing vinyl for the audiophiles amongst you.
Leadenhall Market, City of London, EC3
Although this is essentially a city market it is on the east side so we’re going to squeeze it in. This covered market is extraordinary. Even though it is now made up of shops and doesn’t have a stall in sight, it is still a place that you have to visit. The Victorian glass roof and the cobbled floor make it one of the most remarkable shopping experiences you’ll ever have.
Wapping Market, Wapping, E1
This is the newest of all our markets but it’s also one of our favourites. Brought to us by the guys who run the fabulous Brockley Market over in Lewisham, Wapping is a very small but very special place to spend a Sunday morning. Some of the finest street food stalls are nestled in amongst others selling only the freshest fare ready for you to take home and cook up yourself – don’t miss it.
So there you have it, East London’s finest markets. Armed with this list you can now explore more of what this remarkable and historic part of the capital has to offer – enjoy!