One of London’s most well-known and nicest-looking markets, Columbia Road overflows with bucketfuls of beautiful flowers every Sunday. From 8am-3pm, market traders line the narrow street selling flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs and shrubs.
It’s worth shopping around, don’t be afraid to barter and prepare for it to get very busy. The market is popular with locals and tourists and during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that perfect pot plant. If you can’t bear crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens.
When you’ve bought your blooms, head behind the stalls and down side streets to find fantastic cafés, independent restaurants, delis, shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls and small galleries, many of which follow the market’s opening hours. Pop into Jones Dairy Cafe for organic and local produce, treat yourself to some jazz records at Idle Moments or sink a locally brewed pint at the The Nelson’s.
Do I need cash?
No, you can now pay market traders on card or contactless but, from personal experience, they prefer a fiver over a phone tap.
Where should I eat and drink?
The Birdcage pub has a cute outdoor drinking terrace now, which is bookable, as is the foliage-filled garden at the Royal Oak further up the road. Tapas joint Laxeiro has tables spilling out on the street for lunch, though if you’re after a hand snack, the Pavilion bakery still does a mean cinnamon bun and Maks newsagent does legendary samosas. For coffee? Hermanos is your joint of choice.
Any tips for a bargain?
Your best bet it to try and visit when the market is winding down (around 2pm), because that’s when the traders reduce their prices to shift the remaining stock.
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