Columbia Road Flower Market
If the sun's out, this market is one of the most delightful in London. Columbia Road is just a single narrow street of 1860s shops and houses where some go to buy flowers and plants, but the majority visit for the easygoing scene. In fact, you may want to avoid the main market itself at peak times as it can get extremely busy. Street musicians and enterprising vendors selling coffee, cakes and samosas from the doorways add an entrepreneurial energy and there are plenty of quirky and one-off shops to explore with vintage furniture and clothes, customised maps, funky childrenswear, jewellery and old-school sweets.
Columbia Road Flower Market is open from 8am till 3(ish)pm, with the street’s shops following suit (check individual shops for specific opening times). Columbia Road is in the East End, sitting on the edge of the City, with Shoreditch to the west and Brick Lane and Spitalfields both nearby.
Every Sunday, the street is transformed into a bustle of foliage and flowers. Everything from bedding plants to 10-foot banana trees are up for grabs. The air is intense with the scent of flowers and herbs, and the sound of barrow boys chanting “Everthin’ a fiver”. The stallholders either grow their own plants or import them from around the world.
Situated in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, the market is a leisurely walk or cycle ride from any of the surrounding boroughs – Islington, Hackney and The City of London.