Visitors love London, its culture, its historical buildings.. and its shopping! Step away from the Tourist trap of Oxford Street and visit some slightly more unconventional places. At these markets you can pick up everything from the latest fashions to some seriously pricey antiques- and you get to enjoy shopping in the style of a true Londoner. Here's a round up of the best places to bag that bargain!
For the cutting edge on the Goth meets nu rave scene visit Camden for a market extravaganza. Here several markets have blended into one, and you have the options of the giant outdoorsy area known as the stables or the more sheltered antiques friendly parts inside.
If you visit on a weekend regulars float arm in arm with tourists all on the hunt for the latest accessory to take hope. You'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped back in time to the swinging sixties with all the ethnic charms and hippy delights on offer, thought the market didn't actually originate till 1972.
Emerging fashion designers enjoy the company of African art, oriental rugs and textiles, vintage clothing, club wear, collectibles, new age products, music and just about everything else you could imagine from top quality goods to commercial tat, all colourfully arranged in three open market yards and a covered market hall.
When you're tired of the shopping experience, take a rest alongside the picturesque Regent's Canal as it runs through Camden Town and watch the colourful barges as they pass through the lock.
Mon - Fri: 10am 6pm
Sat - Sun: 9.30am 6.30pm
Location: Camden Lock Market
Chalk Farm Road
Nearest Tube: Camden Town (Northern Line)
Portobello Road Antiques Market
This market, based in the stylish Notting hill district gets its claim to fame from the eponymous bed knobs and broomsticks movie, when Angela Lansbury sings, 'Anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold off the barrow at Portobello road'.
The market started in the 1800s building a network of aficionados who come for the fashion and antique bargains to be had. It starts early for those true bargain hunters; opening at 5.30am, and by 9am is in full swing selling everything from kitsch teapots, vintage clothing and rare antiques.
Street performers line the sides of the road to entertain visitors and youngsters and street artists sell their wares laid out on colourful tea towels on the ground.
Saturday: 5.30am 4.30pm
Location: Portobello Road Antiques Market
Notting Hill, W11
Nearest Tube: Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle, and District Lines)
Columbia Road Flower Market
This market is a scented heaven hidden in the East end of London. Around 50 stalls and 30 garden shops offer a more fragrant side to London, amongst the bustling wares are exotic flowers, shrubs and cutting to glorify any garden. Truly heaven-scent!
It started as a general market in the early 19th century but evolved into this thriving flower fest, supplying the public with all their garden needs. You can pick up all the seeds, shrubs and finery you need to transform your garden into something truly stately- who says garden borders are only for the rich- here everyone can go herbaceous till their hearts desire.
Sunday: 8am 2pm
Location: Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road, E2
Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green (Central Line)
Home to a flourishing creative community, Spitafields is at the forefront of cutting edge fashion, up and coming designers and home to a wide range of great clothes, food and art.
Starting in 1638 when King Charles gave a licence for flesh, fowl and roots to be sold in what was then known as Spittle Fields. Three hundred and sixty odd years later and now located within the historical Horner Buildings, the market still creates a buzz, if the crowd of shoppers that flock to it every week are anything to go by!
There's something for everyone here, from fair trade gifts to vintage clothes, art deco furniture and rare vinyl. The mix is eclectic and colourful and the vendors are friendly and open to questions. And lets not forget the tempting aroma of the market vendors wares.. from Cantonese, Chinese, Thai to Mexican all palates are catered for!
7 days a week from 9am-5pm
Location: Old Spitalfields Market
105a Commercial Streeet, Spitalfields, London E1
nearest tube : Liverpool Street (Central Line/Hammersmith and City)
Possibly the oldest of London's markets, Petticoat Lane first saw market traders touting their wares during the 1700s in an area predominantly populated by immigrants.
Named after ladies lingerie, the bustling skirts have given way to a selection of cost price leather jackets and gorgeous fabrics, offering a variety of wares to suit everybody- toys for the tots, jeans for the teens, and kitchenware for the more culinary inclined.
Although open all week, Sunday is the prime market day with thousands of stall holders gathered to offer bargain fashions and textiles, leather goods, jewellery, china and all sorts of electrical items.
Local shops offer a variety of delicacies, from Indian sweetbreads to fabulous cream cheese bagels, to fill you up so you can continue your browsing.
Mon - Fri: 10.30am 2.30pm
Sunday: 9am - 2pm
Location: Petticoat Lane Market
Nearest Tube: Aldgate East (Metropolitan and Circle Lines) or Aldgate (Central Line)
Known for its foodie delights the market encapsulates gourmet cooking with one off art pieces. The street is packed with lively cafes and restaurants and the stalls are full of hand made cheeses and smoked fish. Small vendors offer international cuisine from south America to China, and local artisans display their wares- designer hand bags battle it out with hand crafted cards. Not a place to visit for the hard-core shopper, but a great place to relax on a weekend. The chilled out atmosphere and the quality cooking, and the lack of crowds to battle through truly make it a venue that can't be beat.
Clerkenwell, London EC1
Nearest Tube : Farringdon
Street markets are a British tradition, be it a bargain or a brilliant find, but there's no better way to really assimilate the British vibe than spending an afternoon pottering around its famous venues. Mix with the locals and rifle through the rails for that one off bargain, and chill out in the cafes that line very road. Soak in London's atmosphere while having a great day out- not to be missed!