Sunday, October 12, 2008

Top Ten London Markets

Shopping is one the good things to do in London. London markets have all kinds of odds and ends and whatnots. My favorite markets were around Camdem Lock-where I saw everything from books to leather goods to clothing of all sorts. Different London Markets have different items for sale, but they all that thrill of the hunt. You can never be sure what you'll find in a London Market, but it is always fun looking.

Bermondsey Street and Long Lane-Bermondsey Street lies to the South of London Bridge in a historic residential part of North Southwark. Bermondsey Market is an excellent destination to rummage through trestle tables of silver and china, with Victorian cups and saucers starting at £25. Prices are on the high side, but haggling is standard practice.

Camden Market-Camden Lock Market, by the canal, was the original craft market, established in 1974. Now the Market has a much wider spectrum of goods on sale. Both this and the ever popular Camden Stables Market - centre of the alternative fashion scene, Camden (Buck Street) Market and Inverness Street Market - which thrived on local trade long before tourists discovered Camden, are all open, at least in parts, every day, making the area well worth a mid-week visit. I really liked the whole area, but then, I love junk shops.

Spitalfield Market-London's Old Spitalfield markets is a live link to London's colourful and rich past. The markets are open throughout the year whatever the weather, with something for everyone. Don't let the winter weather put you off. There are bargains, plenty of refreshment stalls and cafes to fill the day. And in the summer there's a fun, holiday atmosphere.

Covent Garden-Open from 3 AM-11 AM, New Covent Garden Market is the largest fresh produce market in the UK. It plays a unique role in London's market provision supplying fruit, vegetables, flowers, plants and many other catering needs. Customers include leading chefs and florists, restaurants and hotels, schools and hospitals. Eliza Doolittle would be proud to see that they still sell so many flowers. It's a serious market.

Greenwich-Another great London Market established as a fruit-and-vegetable market in 1700, and granted a royal charter in 1849. The glass-roof market now offers arts & crafts Friday through Sunday-and antiques and collectibles on Thursday and Friday. Shopping for crafts is a pleasure, as you're often buying directly from the artist.

Brick Lane Market-Almost anything can be found on Brick Lane, from antique books to eight-track cartridge decks (for many years it hosted a stall selling nothing but rusty cog wheels). A large part of its charm is the possibility of such strange discoveries and it has always been popular with and much photographed by art students. Bargain hunters from across London also value it greatly.

Columbia Road Market-This London Market is in operation every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm. Traders arrive from 4 am every Sunday morning to set up their stalls. A wide range of plants, bedding plants, shrubs, bulbs and freshly cut flowers are available at competitive prices. The market also has a number of shops selling bread and cheeses, antiques and garden accessories. There are also a number of outlets selling unusual international edibles, soap, candlesticks and Buddhist artefacts.

Portobello Road Market-This London Market is all about the Antiques. Market days start gradually from around 5.30am with trading between dealers from the UK and overseas. Most stall holders have arrived by 8.00am and the market is in full swing for the rest of the day, with collectors and visitors from all over the world. The shops and stalls of Portobello Road offer an extraordinary variety of goods ranging in price from a few pounds to several thousands.

Riverside Walk Market-Literature fans should make a beeline for this market in front of the National Film Theatre. It specialises in books, old and new, and is right next to the Thames for scenic value. Good for pretending to be incredibly clever and poetic as you eye up the passing talent.

Camden Passage-In the early 1960s with the assistance of local shops owners, antiques markets were created from bomb sites and arcades of small shops were built. Antique dealers soon flocked to the area creating the unique antiques village which presently boasts around 350 dealers specialising in a vast range of stock sitting comfortably in its Georgian surroundings. Main market and trading days are Wednesdays and Saturdays

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