It’s not often that UK grime artist Wiley inspires me, but I’ve got to acknowledge his tweet this morning as the catalyst behind this blog post.
I’ve never been to Dagenham market (I’m sure it’s lovely), but London has many, many brilliant markets to explore. So, I’ve complied a couple of my favourites that are great to check out over the summer, or later on in the year for quirky xmas presents.
Colombia Road (Sundays from 8am ’til 3’ish): This is what I think of as a proper East End market (Wiley would probably disagree). Stalls on this tiny Dickensian street are piled-high with tiers of cascading flowers and shrubs, punters squeeze by whilst stallholders shout ‘TWO FORRA FIVAhhh’ and other classic ‘Laahandan’ market catchphrases at them. There’s a massive variety of beautiful plants and flowers and the stallholders genuinely know their horticulture, so if you’re looking to buy more than a bunch they’ll be able to advise on where/when/how to plant them. Be sure to buy something though as the vendors tend to get annoyed with people only interested in taking photos.
Portobello Road (09:00 – 19:00 Friday and Saturday): Portobello has everything and it’s correspondingly huge. The market snakes all the way from the North African cuisine on Goldbourne Road, under the fashion lined West Way flyover and down to the Antiques stalls near Notting Hill. There is lots of great food to be had on route, both fresh and pre-prepared, and it’s the only place I know of where you can buy a second-hand cashmere jumper for a tenner. I like to spend a whole Saturday wandering down Portobello Road, rifling through piles of ‘vintage’ clothes, picking up some tasty fruit and looking at the amazing costume jewelry in the covered antiques market.
Spitalfields Market (Saturday Style market 11-5pm): In E1, between Brick Lane and Liverpool Street station, lies Spitalfield market. It’s great for lots of reasons, a big one being that it’s a covered market so good for exploring on a wet weekend. The once dilapidated structure has been renovated over the past decade so now stalls and shops remain open Mon-Fri as well as on a Saturday. However the Saturday market is the best and showcases 60 odd designers, artists, bakers and antiques dealers under one roof. I like heading to Spitalfields for jewellery presents as you can often find unique pieces sold by the designers themselves. There are also lots of established cafés and restaurants to have lunch in if you get peckish looking around. At five, when everyone starts packing up head round the corner to the Water Poet, on Fleur de Lis Street, for a pint and an evening of live music.
In the wise words of Wiley ‘god bless all markets.’