Having lived in London for nearly two months now I have had the chance to visit quite a few of the wonderful markets. It is such a pleasure waking up on the weekend and calling up friends to decide which area of the city to explore and namely which market beckons.
There is the quintessential London market, Portobello Road in Notting Hill, which has a total mix of offerings from antiques and prints to vintage clothes and delicious lunch time snacks. With the brightly colored buildings and never ending stream of tourists and locals both young and old, it has a quaint neighborhood feel and is perfect for a Saturday stroll.
My personal favorite is the Borough Market by London Bridge which is a food market. Enough said, right? The market is rather unusually placed under a train track, next to a church and even has the new Shard looming above. The smells and sounds coming from this sprawling foodie paradise make my mouth water just thinking about it. Whether you are doing a bit of grocery shopping or just looking for a spectacular hot lunch and a cup of steaming mulled cider the Borough has it all for the London gastronome.
Jumping up north much closer to where I live are the Camden Town Markets. These consist of a series of seemingly endless interconnecting alleys and buildings which I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of and are always filled to the bursting with quite an eclectic collection of people. The markets sit next to the Camden Locks and are off the high street so that the surrounding area is a great place to explore on its own but the markets offer a wide variety of people watching opportunities and merchandise ranging from unusual crafts to London souvenirs.
The last major market that I have been to and thoroughly enjoyed is the Sunday Up and Bricklane Markets in East London. Here is where the best people watching is to be done and if you are into vintage this is the place to go. East London is very trendy and people’s style is enough to get me down there on a Sunday along with the street art, food and amazing shops. It has a different vibe from the others and is much more frequented by young hip Londoners.
This is my fourth time in London and it feels so much different because I am actually living here and studying as a UK student. Because London is such an international city there are many more distinctions than usual between tourist and local. I am not a local but I do feel like I really live in London and know my way around and with all the students here I feel connected to a community, a student identity, much more so than in Seattle. Hitting up all the London markets is something for tourist and locals alike and is one of the best things for students because you can have such an enjoyable time without spending money…even though that somehow always happens!