Any day of the week, London locals and tourists have a plethora of markets to choose from ranging from flea markets, antique markets, food markets, farmers markets, or even a mixture of the kinds. With a broad range of items, suited for the shopping lovers to the foodies, one could spend hours at them. But these markets didn’t just pop up out of nowhere, there is a rich history in the London markets. Dating as far back as the Roman times, these markets were used to feed the first settlers. They also served as major hubs of commerce in the 16th, 17th, and 18th century. Now today, they still serve as shopping centers as well as major tourist attractions. From a business point of view, these markets are also vital to the success of small businesses. These markets are filled with small business who make a majority of their income from there.
Every market in London has new and different things to offer, each with its own unique twist. Take the Borough Market– absolutely perfect for all the foodies out there! It is located only a few minutes from the famous London Bridge. There are so many different treats to try while walking around shopping for more items to bring back home for later. In one form or another, this market has existed for around 1000 years. But it is impossible to pinpoint an exact date as to when it began because there was no special ceremony or even celebrating the opening of it. A thousand years ago this market was thriving, being so centrally located was also a very popular stop because back then the London Bridge was the only pathway across the river into London’s capital. Jeri Veingrad studied in London for two years. She said no matter what day of the week, Borough market was always flourishing with people.
Greenwhich Market is another amazing market that began with a copious history. It was originally located on the West Gate of the Old Royal Naval College. Its dark streets and corridors enticed some dangerous acts that were hard to control. Therefore, in an effort to clean up the image of the waterfront and raise the standards of the buildings near the Royal Hospital, the market was moved to its current day position into the cobble stoned streets. Aside from cool antique items, the original market was used to sell meat, fish eggs, poultry, etc.
In fact, in some parts of the market you can still see the old slaughterhouses and stables. Because the Greenwhich Hospital Commissioners spent an ample amount of time and money moving, updating, and building the current market, Parliament passed an act that enabled them full control of the operations of the market. Now it is home to many small business vendors and continues to thrive like it did many years ago.
Jeri is a market lover and an avid traveler. Even in the United States, she is always traveling to any markets she can get herself too. According to her, there is a huge difference in the markets in London and the markets in the United States. London markets are so rich in history and looking from a consumer aspect purely based on shopping, the markets have much better deals. If you want to buy a pair of sterling silver and fresh water pearl earrings, you could get a pair in London markets for about 15 GBP (equal to about 18 US Dollars). In the United States an item like that would cost about 25 – 30 US Dollars. Even in shopping malls and stores in the states, items made of fake silver and fake pearls would still likely try to charge a person at least 20 US Dollars. Jeri bought a vintage tea kettle from the very late 1800’s for only 1
On top of the fact that London is famous for its famous London Bridge, Tower Bridge,
The Beatles, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, black cabs, red phone booths, and its rich history in England- its markets play a key role in all the tourism brought to the city. Their markets are world renowned. It is also very well-known for its fashion, every year hosting London Fashion Week. But when you can’t afford designer like Burberry, Hermes, and Chanel, where do you go? The answer is London because in these markets and small shops you can buy quality items at affordable prices and stay in style. And- its just fun to impulse buy too!
It is not common for London Markets to emerge out of nowhere. There are rules as to what, where, when, and how markets can open. Many of the small markets that have tried to open have failed. People love the old markets. They are established, they have history, and most of all- they are fantastic. That makes it hard for new ones to compete. Currently, Time Out has had success with the opening of a market in Lisbon, Portugal. Now they are working on opening a market in London on the East End perfect for the food and art lovers out there. It is expected to arrive in the second half of 2017.
So, if you ever find yourself in the breathtakingly beautiful London Town- you should definitely make your way to the markets! Recently, I took a 3 day trip to London and I just had to fit everything in that I wanted to do (aka make sure I hit the best markets!!). And I sure did. My top recommendations: Covent Garden, one of the most recent markets to emerge- had awesome shops in the Jubilee Market sector, a super cute dining area, and great larger retail stores in the surrounding area. Camden Town was so much more than I expected. Every corner had awesome stores, and just when I thought the shopping would end, I’d find a another hidden market in the side of the street. There was of course the giant, main market with plenty of stores to suit everyones needs and absolutely delicious food stands. Not to mention, they might have had some
of the best fresh orange juice I have ever had! Notting Hill was also an absolutely beautiful area, with beautiful homes and an even better market. Portobello Market was the length of about two long narrow streets with about 100 stands and small shops. Make sure to bring lots of cash because you are sure to buy so many awesome things!