If browsing for hours on end sounds like the perfect weekend (or weekday) for you, here are some of the best markets to visit in London right now.
For sustainable + artisanal goods
Step into the beautiful regenerated St Mark’s Church and visit Mercato Metropolitano’s sustainable community market in Mayfair. There are two floors dedicated to food and drink, where ingredients are fresh, artisanal and sustainably sourced as far as possible (feel free to talk to the vendors!). Head down the wine cellar to pick up the perfect cheeseboard for your party and a bottle of red from Santo Grill before wandering up the roof terrace for a spot of fresh air. Keep tabs on their social media to see the performances lined up for the week.
St Mark’s Church, North Audley St, London. Mon to Thurs, noon to 11pm; Fri to Sat, noon to midnight; Sun, noon to 10pm.
For vintage fashion + antiques
Adored by locals and tourists alike, Portobello Market is perhaps the busiest market in London, and for good reason. There are over 1,000 stalls lining the street, selling a multitude of antique and vintage items, from clothing and homeware to jewellery and all kinds of bric-a-brac. It is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered, that is, if you have the stamina to look through everything. Tired from shopping? Hop over to the food market and recharge by tucking into delectable pastries, crepes and churros. Bonus: If you want to re-enact your favourite Notting Hill scene, the bookshop is just a stone’s throw away.
Portobello Rd, London. Mon to Sat, 8am to 7pm.
Maltby Street Market
For international fare + bars
The Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey may not be the biggest in London, but it is certainly one of the best, especially if a food hunt is on the agenda. Populated by traders, bars and plenty of international food stalls, the market is abuzz with energy every weekend as the Ropewalk — located under railway arches and festooned with flags from all around the world — comes alive with loud chatter and the combined aroma of cuisines wafting through the air. Be sure to sample the black pudding scotch egg from Finest Fayre and cheese blanket from Venezuelan street kitchen La Pepiá. For something with a kick, Amen’s Ethiopian cuisine packs a punch.
Arch 46, Ropewalk, Maltby St, London. Sat, 10am to 5pm; Sun, 11am to 4pm.
For fresh produce + street food
A trip to the quintessential Borough Market is a must for those who appreciate food purveryors. After making your run securing fresh produce and a couple of sausage rolls from Ginger Pig, try your luck at getting a serving of seafood paella — you cannot miss the giant pan heaped with fresh prawns and mussels — at the heart of the market. Then, stop by Utobeer for a couple of pale ales to wash it all down. If you love oysters, Richard Haward serves the freshest kinds. A tip: while the extra-large varieties are great for Instagram, the smaller ones are total flavour bombs.
8 Southwark St, London. Mon to Fri, 10am to 5pm; Sat, 8am to 5pm; Sun, 10am to 3pm.
Alfies Antique Market
For antiques + collectibles
Looking to spruce up your London abode? This indoor emporium off Lisson Grove is every decorator’s dream. For more than 40 years, Alfies Antique Market has attracted serious collectors, interior designers and celebrities with its varied collection. From antique jewellery and art to furnishings and textiles, there are up to a hundred dealers across four floors at which visitors can browse. PS, we spotted an Ultragrafola mirror, if you are still on the lookout for one.
13-25 Church St, Marylebone, London. Tues to Sat, 10am to 6pm.
This article first appeared in The Edge's London special issue on Oct 10, 2022.