Dusty classic vinyl, vintage Dior dresses, food from all across the globe – what will you unearth at London’s legendary markets?
A mere 2 hours and 16 minutes away by train, London’s incredible markets are the perfect day trip destination. Hop on board and before you know it you’ll be making your way through foodie paradises, antique treasure troves and vintage wonderlands. Will you return with second hand books, one-of-a-kind handmade gifts or a bag bursting with grub you can only find in the capital? Plan your trip, book your tickets and get ready to master the markets of London!
Take your tastebuds on a trip to Borough Market
Perhaps London’s most celebrated market, the mazy delights of Borough are only 17 minutes from King’s Cross on the Northern Line. Over 250 years old, Borough Market is best experienced on an empty stomach, as the scents of fine food, ground coffee and freshly-baked bread will soon have you salivating. There are covered and open sections, where stallholders tempt you with samples of aged Comte cheese, cured meats, craft beer and more. Despite the bubbling pots of seafood stew and freshly shucked oysters, it still retains its old market feel, with stallholders maintaining a great line in banter.
Hunt down amazing antiques at Portobello Road Market
You might have seen Portobello Road in films like Notting Hill and Paddington, but nothing prepares you for seeing it in the flesh. This isn’t just an antiques market – it’s the biggest one in the world, and the Circle Line will whisk you there from King’s Cross in around 23 minutes. It’s so big that it’s no longer just contained by Portobello Road, it snakes round on to Golborne Road too, over a mile of antique stalls piled high with bric-a-brac. Saturday is the most vibrant day of all, when you can pootle between food trucks and fashion, fruit and veg and second-hand goods. One person’s trash is another’s treasure, so dig deep.
Go south of the river in Greenwich Market
Greenwich is already an unforgettable day out, but the market is the icing on the cake. Step under the archway, where you’ll find a central courtyard arranged with neat lines of stalls and atmospheric alleyways leading to more shops, cafes and pubs. The friendly stallholders will be delighted to chat with you about their handmade jewellery, kid’s clothes, toys and unique fashions. Elsewhere you’ll find antiques, quirky art and food ranging from unusual but delicious ramen burgers to Ethiopian veggie street treats. It’s just 40 minutes from King’s Cross by the Northern Line followed by a short stint on Docklands Light Railway.
Unearth vintage vinyl at Old Spitalfields Market
The daily market at Spitalfields is full of both familiar and unique brands and stalls, but changes regularly with an array of events. The first and third Friday of the month, for example, sees a vintage vinyl market come to East London, so you can dig in the crates for classic 60s albums, hard-to-find house and hip-hop gems and whatever takes your fancy. There’s been a market on this site for more than 350 years, with the wonderful Victorian arches of the current building dating back to 1876. Jump on the Metropolitan Line at King’s Cross and you could be walking in the shadows of this amazing history in just 20 minutes.
Experience street life at Broadway Market
While the street it occupies has played a significant role in London life since the days of the Romans, today Broadway is a thriving old school market that delivers a big dollop of authentic Hackney life. Pick up vintage photos, vinyl and art, fresh fruit and mountains of vegetables both familiar and exotic. Food runs from the stacked salt beef sandwiches of the Jewish Deli to the vegan delights at Biff’s Jack Shack. Need a caffeine hit? Climpson & Sons is renowned for the quality of its coffee. From King’s Cross you’ll want to jump on the Victoria Line then change at Highbury & Islington for the overground.
Have a blooming great time at Columbia Road Flower Market
An experience you can only find in London, Columbia Road Flower Market is home to a riot of colour and scents every single Sunday. Take the Northern Line from King’s Cross to Old Street and you can stroll through this wonderful part of London to be greeted by the vivid hues of the tight knit stalls. You might have to queue to get in – it’s busiest around noon – but you won’t wait too long, and you can ease the pain with a takeaway pint from the Birdcage pub. After that, pick up blooms and houseplants from all over the world. Want an insider tip? The market closes at 3pm, so get there around 2pm for bargains.
Snack in Soho at Berwick Street Market
Soho’s very own street market, Berwick Street has boasted stalls since the late 18th century, and as recently as the late 1990s, it was a very traditional fruit-and-veg market. Since then, however, it has become become a brilliant street food hub, the perfect place to grab lunch when sightseeing. A seven-minute trip on the Piccadilly Line from King’s Cross will drop you at Piccadilly Circus Station, just steps away from Soho. Give the theatres of Shaftesbury Avenue a swerve for now and tuck into dreamy Mexican from Freebird Burritos, souvlaki from Greek2Go and amazing Caribbean-curried goat at The Jerk Drum.
Go alternative at Camden Market
The chameleonic Camden Market has been a fixture of North London life for decades, shifting from an arts-and-craft spot to a grungy pre-Britpop lifestyle destination. It’s now all things to all people, bringing together two old markets – Camden Stables and Camden Lock. It still has a totally unique vibe, drawn from the character of the area. Add in shops and there are over 1,000 places to see, only eight minutes from King’s Cross on the Northern Line. Artisan jewellery, vintage clobber – Modfather is the place for timeless UK street style – and comfort food everywhere you turn, this is still a legendary place to be.
Stir the melting pot at Brixton Village & Market Row
These two separate covered shopping arcades form an indoor market close to the famous Electric Avenue in Brixton – just 24 minutes away from King’s Cross on the Victoria Line. They reflect the area’s melting pot of cultures, with heavy Asian and Caribbean influences. You can get a taste of the area’s amazing jerk food – head into Rudie’s Jerk Shack or Fish, Wings & Tings for stewed oxtail and curried mutton. The Franco Manca here is the very first one, from the days before it was a national chain. Shopping-wise, seek out colourful African fabrics, inclusive kid’s reads at Round Table Books and reggae records at Lion Vibes.
Feed your face at Maltby Street Market
Make a beeline for Bermondsey – the Northern Line will whisk you from King’s Cross to London Bridge in 12 minutes, a short walk away – and one of the capital’s best kept secrets is ready for you to discover. Maltby Street Market is all about the food – think of it as a bijoux Borough Market with just a fraction of the crowds. In other words, it’s a place for those in the know. Snack on sourdough from Snapery Bakery then delve into the diverse dumpling offerings of Gyoza Guys. Duck Frites might be worth the trip to London alone – confit duck and raclette cheese oozing over triple-cooked duck fat chips. Wowza!
Shop the multiple markets of Brick Lane
Brick Lane is a market of many colours – it actually incorporates five different offerings in a buzzing part of the East End. For arts and crafts, seek out the covered Backyard Market, with stalls manned by creatives, while Sunday Upmarket is the go-to for food and jewellery. The Vintage Market is open every day, it’s the perfect place for retro finds and clothes ranging from 1920 to the turn of the millennium. After that, you’ve got the world food hall of The Boiler House and the vintage nook that is The Tea Rooms. This smorgasbord of market greatness is 25 minutes from King’s Cross on the Circle Line.
Take a leaf out of Southbank Centre Book Market
London’s Southbank teems with life, a stretch next to the Thames where you’ll find icons such as the London Eye, BFI IMAX and the National Theatre. But that’s not all! Get on board the Piccadilly and Northern Lines from King’s Cross and you can be at its famed book market in just 20 minutes. Open every day of the week until 7pm, this is one of the few antique and second-hand outdoor book markets in the country. Browse the stalls and you might pick up some bargain paperbacks or speak to the one of the specialists and head home with a rare antiquarian classic. Heck, you can even pick up unique maps and prints.
Taste a world of food at Vinegar Yard
Fancy feasting on the finest street food in an urban garden peppered with antique and vintage shops? Jump on the Northern Line from King’s Cross and you’ll be at the vibrant Vinegar Yard in about 20 minutes. One of the newest arrivals on the London market scene, this cool spot is open all-week round in the shadow of London Bridge Station. It has its own bar serving London beers, a scrap-metal installation by artist-in-residence Joe Rush and global grub that hits every spot. Baba G’s dish up their renowned Bhangra Burger packed with Indian spices, while Nanny Bill’s deliver the classic dirty burgers of your dreams.
Seek out the unusual at Hackney Flea Market
Clocks of yesteryear, neon signs from long-forgotten bars, the perfect vintage lamp – all this and more may be waiting for you at Hackney Flea Market. This weekend-long cornucopia takes place in an old hall on Stoke Newington Church Street – 30 minutes from King’s Cross via the Victoria Line and overground. The traders change as often as the stock, with an array of goodies that might include designer dresses, French copper pans, taxidermy or lovely old suitcases with stories to tell. If there’s one London market where you’ll find a true one-of-a-kind object, it’s definitely the Hackney Flea.
Potter around Leadenhall Market
Perhaps the most photogenic place on the list, Leadenhall Market is an iconic gem that would give the galleria of Milan a run for their money. Markets have been held here since the 14th century, although none were as majestic as the current incarnation, a breathtaking 1881 Victorian structure. Look familiar? It was used as the entrance to Diagon Alley in the film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Even Muggles are allowed in though – it’s home to premium brands such as Diptyque, Barbour and Reiss. There’s great food on offer here too, all just 17 minutes on the Northern Line from King’s Cross.
See London’s past and present at Covent Garden
No longer the fruit-and-veg market that stood here from the 1650s onwards – Covent Garden remains one of the most popular places for visitors to London. Perhaps it’s the echoes of the Italianate squares and plaza designed by Inigo Jones, maybe the hustle, bustle and energy of London life – whatever it is, Covent Garden always feels alive. Weave through the arcades and you might chance upon antiques in the Jubilee Market or head through the Apple Market and East Colonnade Market for crafts, prints, handmade soaps and gifts galore. It’s all less than 10 minutes from King’s Cross on the Piccadilly Line.
Shoot down to the capital for just £30 each way!
London is just 2 hours and 16 minutes away by train. That’s the equivalent of a hit West End show (which, by the way, is a great reason to go). So what are you waiting for? Book now and enjoy:
- Wi-Fi and power sockets at every seat
- Order food and drinks directly to your seat
- Space to spread out and enjoy the ride
- Book direct for no booking fees