Markets in London's East End
Petticoat Lane is the name of a market which has been operating since the 1750s and today takes place in and around Middlesex Street and Wentworth Street.
In Elizabethan times, the market was a trading place for pigs - hence the name Hog Lane. With time, it began selling second-hand petticoats and was renamed Petticoat Lane.
Today, it continues to specialise in mostly new and inexpensive garments and leather items, although, on a smaller scale, some stallholders trade in bric-a-brac and household goods. There are many bargains to be had and competition between the sellers is quite fierce.
The market's best day is Sunday.
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-2pm; Sun 9am-2pm.
Address: Middlesex St and Wentworth St, E1.
Tube: Liverpool Street/Aldgate East
Housed under a glass-covered Victorian building in Commercial Street, Spitalfields Market takes its name from the hospital and priory of St Mary Spital founded in 1197.
Many of the shops and stalls are operated by up and coming designers, who sell their arts and crafts at reasonable prices. This is why you can find beautifully knitted scarves, oriental-style tailored silk dresses, hand-crafted wooden toys and lamps produced with glass-blowing techniques.
Aside from garments and accessories, there's also quality bric-a-brac and a great choice of eateries offering ready-made foods, to be eaten whilst browsing or comfortably seated.
In one corner, there's an organic food market selling not only fruit and vegetables but also meats and baked goods. The best day to visit is Sunday when there are over 200 stalls.
Open: Mon-Fri and Sun 10am-5pm.
Address: Commercial St, Lamb St and Brushfield St, E1.
Tube: Liverpool Street/Shoreditch
Columbia Road Flower Market
By London's standards, Columbia Road Flower Market is a small affair; nevertheless it still has over 50 stalls packed with the tools, accessories and greenery non-gardeners and gardeners alike desire. The market is a pretty sight with sellers trading in cut flowers, bouquets, seeds, shrubs, bulbs and even trees. Watching customers carrying colourful loads adds to the attraction.
Both sides of Columbia Road – at the junction with Ravenscroft Street and Barnet Grove – are flanked with some basic cafeterias as well as little posh restaurants and boutiques selling jewellery, pottery and even hats. The shops sit in terraced Victorian houses. Arrive early.
Open: Sun 8am-2pm.
Address: Columbia Rd, Ravenscroft St, Barnet Grove, E2.
Tube: Shoreditch/Old Street
The East End, the area east of London's City, is not as frequently visited by tourists as the markets in Portobello Road and Camden are. It's notorious as the haunt of serial killer Jack the Ripper and was heavily bombed during the Second World War.
Brick Lane Market
Bricks used to be manufactured in Brick Lane – hence the name. Today however you'll find the Brick Lane Market, which sells anything and everything, from leather jackets to pet foods, furniture and second-hand bicycles.
The Brick Lane market is also the ideal venue to find a good curry restaurant as much of London's Bangladeshi community resides here.
At 159 Brick Lane, you'll find an institution – a bagel bakery which is open 24 hours and serves salt-beef bagels with English mustard.
Open: Sun 6am-1pm.
Address: Brick Lane, Cygnet St, Sclater St, E1.
Tube: Shoreditch/Liverpoool Street/Aldgate East
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