London Guide: A Sunday at the Columbia Road Flower Market and Brick Lane Market

October 4th, 2015

London has been enjoying a string of some gorgeous fall days over the last two weeks, with clear blue skies, a light nip in the air, and all the leaves turning a rich russet and ochre color. Oh and signs for pumpkin spice lattes at the coffee shops, although fortunately pumpkin everything is not as ubiquitous here as in the States.

East London hosts a plethora of markets of all kinds on Sundays and the Columbia Road Flower Market had been on my “to go to” list for quite awhile now so when this past Sunday dawned clear-skied and somewhat warm we put on our light jackets and headed out toward Bethnal Green.

The Columbia Road flower market and nearby shops are open every Sunday from 8am until 3pm, rain or shine. Dozens of stalls line the narrow road with everything from bedding plants, beautiful big bouquets, and 10 foot banana trees with flower sellers hustling up the crowds yelling out fire sale prices.

We didn’t get there until late morning and the narrow corridor between the stalls was so jam packed that we didn’t move very far before abandoning ship and heading to the less crowded sidewalks to admire the flowers from afar as well as check out the neat collection of shops that line the street. Ranging from art galleries, pastry shops, vintage clothes stores, delis, garden and antique shops to cafes and tiny cute little alley way coffee stands, it’s a quintessential London High Street.

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If the crowds haven’t overwhelmed you yet, keep heading south towards Brick Lane Market and join the always present but quick-moving line to pick up a hot salted beef bagel at one of the 24 hour Jewish bagel shops. I also recommend getting a caffeine fix with a flat white and a delicious slice of cake at the charity-run Kahaila coffee shop. Or save your appetite for the dozens of various food stalls at Old Truman Brewery Markets- a chaotic, bustling artistic hub with street performers, stalls selling second-hand wares, artisan goods, and all kinds of food. It’s definitely a feast for the senses!

The market area is huge and just seems to go on and on! One market wasn’t enough so a community of markets was created. You can find art, clothing, and vintage wares at Backyard Mark[E1]t, Vintage Market, and The Tea Rooms and food at the UpMarket and The Boiler House. Dan and I wish we had endless room in our stomachs since every stand we passed looked absolutely amazing but alas choices had to be made. All the more reason to return next Sunday!

For more info on Brick Lane Markets click here!

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