They say the best way to get a true sense of a city is to stroll around its street markets; and that statement couldn't be more true when it comes to visiting a market in London.
London may be known for its countless tourist attractions, landmarks, palaces and parks, but once you spend an afternoon strolling around a London street market, you will get an entirely different perspective of what London life is all about.
No matter what day of the week it is, there's bound to be some kind of market happening in or around London. Whether you're looking to score on some one-of-a-kind antique or vintage item, save money on some jewellery and clothing, or even just munch on street food as you stroll around a historic street in London, there's no telling what you'll experience when you're shopping around a London market.
Luckily some of the most popular markets are easy to find due to the fact that they're located in the more touristy areas of London.
The Camden markets consist of six different markets in and around Camden Town, all of which are located near Camden Lock. There's also the Portobello Market in Notting Hill, the Covent Garden Market near Soho, and several different Shoreditch markets in East London as well.
But some of the most popular markets amongst locals tend to be in neighbourhoods far away from the touristy areas. Canary Wharf is a must (especially during the summer months) as you can find everything from global cuisine to local produce, and the Borough Market and Brixton Market have been popular amongst locals for hundreds of years, and are some of the oldest markets in the city.
From clothing, accessories and hand-crafted items, to Christmas decorations, artwork and electronics, when it comes to shopping at a market in London, you're bound to find something right up your alley.
If you're looking to purchase unique vintage or antique items for yourself or even for a friend or loved one, Portobello Market has everything from vintage clothes, jewellery, beauty products and antique household items. The Sunday Upmarket in Shoreditch is also a great option for vintage fashion, artwork and accessories, and you can easily find a great deal on vintage clothing or antique furniture at the Brick Lane Market or Vintage Market in East London as well.
If you're hoping to sample some street food or buy organic produce during your stay in London, then you can't go wrong with a visit to the Brixton Market, as it has a ton of international cuisine options from every corner of the world. The Borough Market also has over 100 different stalls selling everything from vegetables, breads, cakes and seafood, while the Boiler House Market offers everything from Korean to Ethiopian cuisine.
If you're staying for a longer period of time in London and you want to see as many markets as possible, it may be a good idea to do some research beforehand as some markets are only open on specific days.
Luckily some markets are open every day of the week (like the Inverness Street Market, the Portobello Market, the Covent Garden Market, and the Covent Garden Apple Market), although some markets may have main antique trading days on Saturdays, while others may be closed on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday.
Other markets may only be selling specific items on a certain day; for example, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Portobello Road Market have more of a focus on local produce and household goods, while the weekends tend to have more vintage clothing, antique and accessory items.
Normally London markets offer a ton of different items at dirt-cheap prices, but obviously some markets are more expensive than others.
The cheapest markets in London tend to be those in South London, such as the Brixton Market and the Borough Market, as well as any street markets in the less touristy areas like Shoreditch.
Markets in London's more touristy neighbourhoods are obviously the most expensive (such as Notting Hill's Portobello Road Market and the Covent Garden Market) but that's not say that you still can't find a great deal on an item when shopping around.
And although it's not uncommon to find a great deal on clothing or jewellery in one of Camden's several markets, in recent years sellers have been bumping up their prices due to the fact that the area is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists. Because of this, you may want to shop around before you make a final decision on a purchase, or even try to “haggle” over the cost of an item.