I have been painting London scenes for many years and has a particular interest in the ever changing face of the street markets.

Many have been on the same site for over 500 years, and some for just a few years. To survive and thrive however each has to adapt to the unpredictable shifts the metropolis throws at them. This can be cultural changes in the local populous or literally fire, pestilence and famine.

These markets are not just about selling apples and pears, they tell a real story of street life in London. Do visit them if you can. The opening times are listed though do check first prior to a visit just in case.

Camden Market

Camden Market painting

Camden market is situated on the Regent’s Canal and occupies a complex of disused Victorian warehouses, and even an old horse hospital, that cluster around the canal and up Camden High Street. It mainly sells clothes, books, music, food and a range of wonderfully useless bric- a- brac.

The market is loosely composed of six large sections covering many acres, and is so large on Sundays, that they have to partially close the Camden Town tube station to help with the overcrowding.

The stall holders are mainly modest independents so naturally, big corporates have made bullish attempts at muscling in on all that lovely money going in the wrong pockets, but so far so good.

Despite attempts to knock it all down and build something in glass and steel, the leaky, rusting Camden market soldiers on. It is like no other shopping street in the country and has more in common with Marrakech than Manchester, and all the better for it.


There are stalls and shops open all week although the main market days are:

  • Saturday
  • Sunday

Nearest transport
Closest London Underground station:

  • Camden Town

See more about Camden Market here

Columbia Road Flower Market

Painting of Columbia Road Market

Columbia Market goes back to 1869 and was originally a large neo gothic structure more akin to a church or a civic building rather than a market. It contained about 400 stalls selling food and flowers. The stall holders preferred working out on the street and over time they graduated into Columbia Road where they still are today.

The lovely building that once housed them was sadly demolished in 1958. The local French Huguenot population were keen on cut flowers so flowers dominated the sales from then on. They were also keen on caged song birds too and one of the streets pubs is still called ‘The Birdcage’ as an echo of this time.

The market then was on Saturdays though many of the local traders were Jewish and this caused issues with their Sabbath so by an act of Parliament it was changed to Sundays and Sundays it still is.

There shops open all week although the main market day is:

  • Sunday 8am -2.30pm

Nearest transport
Railway stations:

  • Hoxton
  • Shoreditch high Street

Closest London Underground station:

  • Bethnal Green

See more about Columbia Road Market here

Portobello Road Market

A painting of Portobello Road marketPortobello Road Market is in Notting Hill, and is about two miles long. It was developed in the mid19th Century to sell fresh produce to the wealthy inhabitants of the surrounding squares.

The market has since developed into the largest antiques’ market in the UK as well as festooned with pubs, cafes and food stalls. It is of course a very popular filming location from 50’s B movies to Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, the Italian Job and of course that one with Hugh Grant. It gets massively busy at the weekends.


There shops open all week although the main market days are

  • Monday To Wednesday 09:00 – 18:00
  • Thursday 09:00 – 13:00
  • Friday and Saturday 09:00 – 19:00
  • Sunday The shops are open but no street market

Nearest transport
Closest London Underground station: 

  • Notting Hill Gate
  • Ladbroke Grove

More about Portobello Road market here

Covent Garden Market

a painting of Covent Garden Market

To me at least Covent Garden is not ‘London’, it is an international gathering spot, a place where visitors go and look out at London though they are unlikely to experience it there, Covent Garden is a sort of safe ‘Tourist-ville’ mini state.

Tourist-ville is not just in London either; it has embassies across the world. You will find it in St Mark’s Square in Venice, around the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Las Ramblas in Barcelona too.

They have the same population wearing the same clothes, the same ‘standing still for hours painted gold’ street entertainment and you will experience the same prices as well.

Yes folks, Tourist-ville has its own international bank and the exchange rate is murder. I feel Covent Garden has far more in common with these places that it has with London.

I am not saying don’t go there, of course any adventurer needs a base camp, a familiar place to re-charge before the next expedition and Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and such are ideal for this, fine places.

Though London is so much more and I would say that once you have had your Skinny Latte and your Genuine Scottish Shortbread, pick up your Oyster Card and sally-forth to London’s outlands that are not on every tourist map and discover something for yourself.


  • Open every day of the week: 10am – 7pm

Nearest transport
Closest London Underground station:

  • Covent Garden

More on Covent Garden Market here

Borough Market


Although sellers have been on the site for well over 1,500 years the market was officially established in Act of Parliament in 1756 and administered by a group of trustees who have to live locally. It covers an area of over four acres.

Borough market is one of London’s most popular and ‘up market’ markets you will find. No point looking for cheap knock off Nike trainers or 30 bananas for £1 here.

You will discover a labyrinth of eateries, wet fish stalls, the best cheeses in the country and everything in between. All this squeezed in to the narrow spaces beneath a spaghetti of wrought-iron and brick railway bridges.

It is a great place to pick up a picnic for the day and eat it in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral or take a quick walk around the corner and sit by the river to take in the view of the opposite bank.


  • Monday-Tuesday 09:45-15:1
  • Wednesday-Thursday 10:45-17:15
  • Friday 11:45-18:15
  • Saturday 07:45-17:15

Nearest transport
Railway stations:

  • London Bridge

Closest London Underground station:

  • London Bridge

See part one of the Ten London Street markets here


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