Tuesday markets tend to be the regular daily food markets like Chapel Market, although Spitalfields is open, albeit with a reduced number of traders, and provides a much more civilised shopping experience than the weekends. The second and fourth Tuesday of each month also sees the gargantuan Sunbury Antiques market take place at Kempton racecourse. Well worth the early start.
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Good for: antiques
Alfie’s is packed to the rafters with handsome twentieth-century home decor, hosting more than 100 dealers in vintage furniture and fashion, art, accessories, books, maps and more.
Good for: food
Compared to the culinary homogeneity of Borough market et al, Brixton is a sensory fiesta. The air is thick with the sizzle of jerk chicken stalls, tinny reggae riddims and yam-based price disputes while the multi-coloured hues of exotic fish displays glimmer like a whiffy rainbow.
Good for: clothes, souvenirs
Camden’s sprawling collection of markets offers a real smörgåsbord of street culture. Wander past loitering goths and punks to join the throng of tourists, locals and random celebs fighting it out at the vast and varied selection of shops and stalls.
Good for: food, crafts, antiques
Although something of a London institution, Covent Garden Market is too commercial and generally too crowded to provide a particularly characterful retail experience. However, the colonnaded 19th-century building is impressive, and occasionally some of the performers and entertainers can even be worth watching.
Good for: food, antiques
There are plenty of stalls selling bric-a-brac, second-hand clothes, ethnic ornaments, CDs, crafts and jewellery galore at Greenwich Market. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, the market takes a different turn with an excellent antiques and collectibles.