Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs, posh antiques, or vintage vinyl, London’s colorful street markets are a treasure trove for shoppers. Each weekend, neighborhoods across the capital teem with serious buyers, window shoppers, and those who come to enjoy the city’s best people-watching. With so many markets to choose from, we’ve narrowed the list to our top three, each with its own distinct personality.
With an eclectic collection of purveyors offering everything from mod-era fashion to handmade jewelry to tarot card reading, Camden Market is a sprawling curiosity shop with something for everyone. Fancy a set of retro china teacups or a hand-knitted Union Jack baby sweater or a pair of custom Converse sneakers? You’ll find them all here, along with a sampling of international cuisine ranging from traditional fish and chips to vegan falafel to Szechuan squid. Its history as a shopping destination dates to 1974 when a handful of stalls cropped up in a neighborhood of abandoned gin distilleries, warehouses and stables next to Regent’s Canal. Today, Camden is home to over 1000 sellers spread out among six distinct markets, welcoming upwards of 250,000 visitors a week. Go early on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
HOURS: Open 10am – 6pm daily
ADDRESS: 32 Camden Lock Pl, London NW1 8AL
TUBE STATIONS: Chalk Farm, Camden Town
Portobello Road Market
A picturesque paradise for antique lovers, Portobello Market occupies a one mile stretch of road sandwiched between the pastel Georgian rowhouses of London’s charming Notting Hill neighborhood. In its arcades, shops and open-air stalls, you’ll find an assortment of all things vintage, from ancient Roman artifacts to mid-century glassware to toy soldiers. Although the market has existed since the nineteenth century, its popularity and growth coincided with the gentrification of Notting Hill in the 1980s. Now the world’s largest open-air antiques market, Portobello Road attracts tourists, celebrities, and collectors of all stripes. Come to find a one-of-a-kind gift and enjoy the lively scene of buskers and street performers, with a plethora of dining options from paella to bratwurst.
HOURS: Main antiques market is open Saturday from 8:30am; some markets also open Friday
ADDRESS: 192A Portobello Rd, London W11 1LA
TUBE STATIONS: Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, Notting Hill Gate
Bermondsey Antique Market
Situated in Southeast London, on the site of a former Benedictine Monastery, Bermondsey more closely resembles a flea market than a curated antiques shop, and for that reason you’re more likely to stumble on a genuine treasure here. Spread over 200 or so stalls, knowledgeable sellers hawk everything from jewelry to paintings to furniture. Peruse the stacks of Victorian-era photos, vintage postcards, and antiquarian books. Marvel at the 19th-century medicine bottles, anatomical models, and porcelain dolls. Less well-known than Camden or Portobello, Bermondsey is a bargain hunter’s dream, and a favorite of antiques dealers from the U.K. and beyond. For prime finds, be prepared to arrive early (stalls open at 6 am), and don’t be afraid to haggle for the best price. Sellers close up shop at midday, the perfect time to grab lunch from one of the pop-up food vendors that converge on the square.
HOURS: Open Fridays from 6am – 2pm
ADDRESS: Bermondsey Square, Southwark, London SE1
TUBE STATION: Bermondsey