|At Borough Market|
I am a street market girl from way back, so London is my kind of town. I will always take a market over a shopping mall for local color, interesting, one-of-a-kind items, and fantastic food. In my post a few days ago about Greenwich, I shared a few photos from the Greenwich Market, and I've posted about London Markets before, but who gets tired of markets? Not I!
|Lunch at Borough Market|
These first few shots are from Borough Market on the south side of the Thames, tucked in under London Bridge next to the beautiful Southwark Cathedral. Borough Market is a wholesale food market, but on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays it is open to the public, and it is the place to get lunch. Say you're planning an afternoon at the Tate Modern or the Globe Theatre; stop in here first for samples, then grab lunch from a vendor or two and eat it in the beautiful little garden next to the cathedral. The food, atmosphere, and people-watching opportunities will make it a memorable part of your London experience.
|Owl cookies from Cinnamon Tree Bakery at Borough Market|
|At Borough Market|
|Neal's Yard Dairy at Borough Market|
Okay, so while these next few shots are technically shops and not stalls, they are located at Borough Market, and for me, they are an absolutely essential part of any trip there. I so hope you're not lactose intolerant, because you simply must try these gorgeous British artisanal cheeses. The original Neal's Yard Dairy is in, you guessed it, the wonderfully quirky Neal's Yard, and I love that one, too, but this one has the added bonus of being next door to Monmouth Coffee. There's a reason so many people are waiting in line for coffee. This stuff is fabulous. Seriously. I don't drink coffee anymore, but I always break down and have just one small cappuccino when I'm in London, and this is the place where I get it.
|Monmouth Coffee . . . love|
|Looking at the market from Neal's Yard Dairy|
|English muffins and croissants from The Flour Station at Borough Market|
|Flowers at Borough Market|
On Sundays, we often head to three markets in East London: Spitalfields, Brick Lane, and Columbia Road Flower Market. Spitalfields is great for clothing, vintage, handcrafted items, and food. I've posted about it before, so you can read more here.
|Early morning shopping at Spitalfields|
|Big Donut at Spitalfields|
After a morning at Spitalfields, a very short walk through some incredibly fascinating architecture brings you to Brick Lane, which is really just one long flea market on both sides of the street. Brick Lane is lined with Indian restaurants, lots of cafes, and several indoor markets as well. It gets very, very crowded, so go early! You will find people selling everything from leather goods to books to clothing to army surplus (seriously, if you need a gas mask, this is where to find it) and old records. I never buy as much at Brick Lane as I do at Spitalfields, but I do love the food!
|Delicious vegan Ethiopian food at an indoor stall next to Brick Lane|
|Ethiopian injera and several fantastic salads--my favorite meal on this London trip--all for 5 pounds!|
|Singing and Selling at Brick Lane|
|The crowds at Columbia Road Flower Market|
If you continue all the way up Brick Lane and follow the crowds just a bit farther, you will find your way to Columbia Road. Hit this market last for truly astounding flower and plant deals--and good photo opportunities. If you can stand the crush, you'll find gorgeous flowers at rock-bottom prices. When we were there in the afternoon, vendors were selling armfuls of truly beautiful tulips for just a few pounds.
|Paella at Covent Garden|
A fun market any day of the week is Covent Garden. It is among the most touristy of all the markets, and as I've said in other posts, a good comparison is Boston's Faneuil Hall. Still, it's a great place to grab a bite to eat, get your Laduree macaron fix, and find gifts from the lovely to the tacky . . . and everything in between.
|Entertainment at Covent Garden|
It's also a perfect place to go to be entertained. If you need a break from all the noise and frenzy, just sneak around to the quiet rose garden behind St Paul's Church, also known as the Actors' Church, where you can read the names of famous London actors on the memorial benches (John Thaw, who played Inspector Morse in the BBC series, is one of my favorites).
|I always buy some of these pretty handmade soaps in Covent Garden|
These are highlights from just a few of the markets I love. I have other favorites, like Camden and Portobello Road and the Bermondsey Antiques Market. To read more, check out this post.
And there's more London love to come. Just think color, architecture, and John Keats . . . xo Gigi