markets & shops

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We list here some of the best London street markets. They are full of colour and character, and are free provided you don't buy anything. We also list memorable shops, which are well worth a visit even if you are not buying. And there are auctions, whose speed and contested nature provide great spectator interest.  

OUR FAVOURITE markets & shops

Arthur Beale. Yacht chandler. Westminster. 400 years old, the company originated as a rope maker on the banks of the Fleet river. Rescued from financial decline in 2014. More info. 

Columbia Road Flower Market. Tower Hamlets. A Sunday flower market  in a characterful street. Bedding plants, shrubs, bulbs and freshly cut flowers. More info. 

Davenports Magic. Westminster. Founded in 1898, and in the same family since, Davenports is the oldest continuously owned magic shop in the world. More info. 

Gardners. Market sundriesmen. City of London. Paul Gardner sells paper bags and price labels for market traders from the shop opened in 1870 by his great grandfather. More info. 

New Covent Garden Market. This vegetable and flower market moved from central London to its 57 acre site, formerly the Nine Elms Locomotive Works, in 1974. More info. 

Portobello Road Market. Originating in the 19th century as a fresh food market, it is now the largest antiques market in the UK, busiest on Saturdays. More info.

Selfridges. Department Store. Founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge. He transformed British shopping into a social experience. More info. 

Sotheby's. World's largest art auction business, with sales of several billion pounds a year. Most auctions are held during the day and are free and open to the public. More info.

Thomas Goode. China and glass. Established in 1827, the shop has been on its present site since 1845. Notable customers included Queen Victoria and the Tsar of Russia. More info. 

V.V.Rouleaux. Ribbons & trimmings. Westminster. A breathtaking emporium of ribbons, tie backs, trimmings, tassels, feathers and flowers, in 100 colours. More info. 

LIST OF MARKETS & shops

MARKETS

Borough Market. Southwark. London's oldest food market has been operating for 1000 years. The present buildings were built in 1851. Vibrant and colourful, the market describes itself as a place where food is talked about almost as enthusiastically as it is consumed. The retail market operates on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from about 10am. The wholesale market operates every weekday morning from 2am to 8am. More info. See on map. 

Brixton Village Market. Home to more than 20 cafes, restaurants and takeaways. Open late with live music on Thursday and Friday nights. International cuisine. More info. See on map. 

Broadway Market. Hackney. An east London street running from London Fields to the Regent's Canal. A thriving produce market was established here in the 1890s. It declined in the late 20th century, and was revived in 2004 as a sucessful Saturday food market. The street is closed to traffic on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. More info. See on map. 

Camden Market. Camden. The market started, with 16 stalls open only on Saturdays, in 1974. Today it is open seven days a week and has over a thousand places to shop, eat, drink and dance. It has around 250,000 visitors each week. Stalls sell crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, and fast food. In 2014 Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi bought many properties in the area and announced plans to invest £300m on improvements. More info. See on map. 

Chatsworth Road Market. Hackney. After a long decline from its heyday in the 1930s, the market closed in 1990. As a result of campaigning by local residents it reopened in 2010, since when it has been running every Sunday. A lively atmosphere, with stalls providing produce, pies, cakes, sweets, and crafts. More info. See on map

Columbia Road Flower Market. Tower Hamlets. A Sunday flower market  in a characterful street. Bedding plants, shrubs, bulbs and freshly cut flowers. More info. 

Crystal Palace Food Market. Bromley. All the produce stallholders are organic, farming without chemicals and keeping animals traditionally. They include tiny farms close by in Kent and Sussex. Most of the cooked food stalls, whose wares include cakes and honey, are very local. Every Saturday from 10am to 3pm. More info. See on map. 

Greenwich Market. London's only historic market set in a World Hertage Site. Open 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Soon to open on Mondays also. Goods for sale include market food, antiques, art, craft, fashion and jewellery. There has been a market in Greenwich since the 14th century; the present market dates from a 1700 charter. More info. See on map. 

Herne Hill Market. Lambeth. A Sunday street market with more than 50 stalls selling locally-produced foods and arts and crafts. All produce is from within a 100 mile radius. Located in the Station Square shopping precinct. More info. See on map. 

Islington Farmers Market. Established in 1999 by the food writer Nina Planck, this is the first farmers market to open in London. It has changed locations twice, and is now held at the western end of Chapel Market every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Notable products include fruit and vegetables, plants and herbs, apple juice, pasta, cream, and German style cakes and bread. More info. See on map. 

Leadenhall Market. City of London. Originating in the 14th century, Ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon, and cream, by Horace Jones in 1881. More info. See on map.

Marylebone Farmers Market. Westminster. Every Sunday 10am to 2pm. With an average of 40 stalls the market offers seasonal produce from the asparagus in April to strawberries in May and cherries in July. Try oysters for breakfast from Norfolk based Longshore, or a mushroom sandwich from The Mushroom Table. Also artisan bakeries and honey. More info. See on map. 

Maltby Street Market. Southwark. Open on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm, and on Sundays from 11am to 4pm. Characterful market jammed into a narrow alley alongside railway arches. Interesting and high quality food, including very special brownies, and raclette melted cheese. Also a LASSCO warehouse selling architectural salvage. More info. See on map. 

Mercato Metropolitano. Southwark. A 45,000 square foot covered food market which focuses on sustainability and community development. Committed to 'small is beautiful' and originating in Italy, this is their first branch outside the country. Based in a former paper factory on Newington Causeway it is in the vibrant Nelephant (north of Elephant & Castle) area. It includes an arts centre, cinema, and fitness centre. More info. See on map. 

Netil Market. Hackney. A smaller adjunct to Broadway Market. There are 15 permanent shops including a florist, a barbershop and jewellers, also 15 additional market stalls every Saturday. The brainchild of local creative hub Netil House, which houses over 100 creatives including architects, web designers, yoga teachers, and record producers. The Netil House slogan is Eat Work Art. More info. See on map. 

New Covent Garden Market. The market moved from central London to this new 57 acre site, formerly the Nine Elms Locomotive Works, in 1974. It is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the UK, with 175 companies providing ingredients to many of London's top restaurants and hotels. More info. 

Old Spitalfields Market. Tower Hamlets. A market has stood on this site since Charles I gave in 1638 a licence for the sale of flesh, fowl, and roots. The existing buildings were built in 1887 by the City of London Corporation. The wholesale fruit and vegetable market moved in 1991 to Leyton. The modern market is open every day, for the sale of fashion, arts and crafts, food, collectables and bric-a-brac. More info. See on map. 

Portobello Road Market. Kensington & Chelsea. Originating in the 19th century as a fresh food market, from the 1940s it has increasingly concentrated on antiques. It is now the largest antiques market in the UK, with its busiest period being Saturday mornings. In addition to antiques, there are stalls selling second-hand goods, clothing and fashion, bric-a-brac and fruit and vegetables. More info. See on map. 

Real Food Market. Camden. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon on Kings Cross Square, in front of Kings Cross Station. Stalls selling high quality artisan produce. Managed by Real Food Markets, whose aim is to use high quality food to regenerate and animate cities. More info. See on map. 

Ridley Road Market. Hackney. Set in the heart of Dalston, this market has been operating since the 1880s. It now has 150 stalls offering a fusion of Afro-Caribbean, Asian and European goods and food. To the sound of reggae music the market offers fruit and vegetables as well as household goods. More info. See on map. 

Smithfield Market. City of London. The oldest market in London to have been operating continuously on the same site. Founded in the 12th century as a livestock market, in 1852 it ceased to deal in livestock and became a wholesale meat and poultry market. New buildings, now Grade II listed, were completed in 1868. Open Monday to Friday from 2am. More info. See on map. 

MEMORABLE SHOPS

Arthur Beale. Yacht chandler. Westminster. 400 years old, the company originated as a rope maker on the banks of the Fleet river. Rescued from financial decline in 2014. More info.  

David Penton. Hardware. Westminster. A hardware shop that displays its goods with the reverence of a museum. Trading from Marylebone Lane for more than 160 years. More info. See on map. 

Daunt Books. Bookshop. Westminster. This first shop of the Daunt chain is housed in an elegant Edwardian buil ding reputed to be the world's first purpose-built bookshop. More info. See on map. 

Davenports Magic. Westminster. Founded in 1898, and in the same family since, Davenports is the oldest continuously owned magic shop in the world. More info. 

Floris. Perfumers. Westminster. Family of perfumers operating from the same premises in Jermyn Street since 1730. Edward Bodenham, the current 'nose' is the 9th generation of the family. More info. See on map.

Fortnum & Mason. Department store. Westminster. Founded in 1707 by William Fortnum, a footman in the royal household of Queen Anne. Food hall and restaurants. More info. See on map. 

Gardners. Market sundriesmen. City of London. Paul Gardner sells paper bags and price labels for market traders from the shop opened in 1870 by his great grandfather. More info. 

Get Stuffed. Taxidermists. Islington. A  longstanding family taxidermy business which has been trading from its present premises for 40 years. Commissions undertaken. More info. See on map.

Jack Barclay. Bentley cars. Westminster. The world's oldest and largest Bentley dealership. Founded in 1927 by the rakish racing driver and gambler Jack Barclay. More info. See on map. 

James Smith & Sons. Westminster. A remarkable umbrella shop, founded in 1830. Also tropical sunshades, swagger canes, and swordsticks. More info. See on map. 

James Taylor. Bespoke shoemaker. Westminster. Founded in 1857, all shoes are hand made on the premises, using the most modern 3D foot scanning and CAD/CAM systems. More info. See on map. 

Janes Trains. Model trains. Wandsworth. Founded in 1981, Janes carries a large stock of new and second-hand model locomotives, coaches, wagons, and buildings. More info. See on map. 

John Lobb. Bootmaker. Westminster. Founded in 1866 to produce hand made footwear for European royalty. Still handmakes shoes one pair at a time. More infoSee on map. 

L.Cornelisson. Artists colourmen. An outstanding range of artists supplies, including gilding and printmaking materials. Founded in 1855 by a refugee Belgian lithographer. More info. See on map. 

Lock & Co. Hatters. Westminster. Founded in 1662, Lock purveys hand made hats for ladies and gentlemen from the shop its has occupied in St. James's St since 1765. More info. See on map. 

London Silver Vaults. City of London. With shops created from basement safe deposit rooms, the vaults house the world's largest retail collection of silver. More info. See on map. 

Not Just a Shop. Art students' work. Camden. Home, fashion, giftware and artwork by students of the University of the Arts London. In High Holborn. More info. See on map. 

Paul Rothe & Son. Westminster. Established in 1900, and still run by the Rothe family (originally from Saxony, Germany) this Marylebone Lane shop offers a huge range of jams and honeys; also excellent soup and sandwiches. More info. See on map.

Paxton & Whitfield. Cheesemongers. Westminster. Originated in 1742 as a cheese stall in Aldwych market. Appointed cheesemonger to Queen Victoria in 1850. More info. See on map. 

Samsung KX. A remarkable space, designed by Thomas Heatherwick above the Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross. A temple to gadgetry with great views. More info. See on map.

Selfridges. Department Store. Founded in 1908 by American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge. He transformed British shopping into a social experience. More info. 

Stanfords. Maps & travel books. Westminster. A large map and travel bookshop. Founded in 1853, on same site since 1901. A mecca for travellers. More info. See on map. 

St. Martin's Models. Diecast model cars. London's leading retailer of high quality model cars. More than 30 brands in stock. More info. See on map. 

Taylors. Buttons. Operating from a building once the home of Charles Dickens, Taylors specialises in hand covered fabric buttons. Also vintage and dyed buttons. More info. See on map. 

The Tin Tin Shop. Westminster. A shop dedicated exclusively to books and other merchandise about the cartoon character created by Georges Remi (pen name Herge). More info. See on map. 

Thomas Goode. China and glass. Established in 1827, the shop has been on its present site since 1845. Notable customers included Queen Victoria and the Tsar of Russia. More info. 

V.V.Rouleaux. Ribbons & trimmings. Westminster. A breathtaking emporium of ribbons, tie backs, trimmings, tassels, feathers and flowers, in 100 colours. More info.

ART & ANTIQUE AUCTIONS

Bonhams. One of London's largest and oldest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Also vintage cars. Founded in 1793, and merged in 2001 with Phillips, which wasfounded in 1796. It has two London auction rooms, the former Phillips sale room at 101 NewBond Street, and the old Bonham'ssale room in Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge. Frequent auctions are held in both sale rooms. More info. 

Chiswick Auctions. A general auctioneer of art and antiques. Also fortnightly Interiors & Design sales covering decorative arts, painting, furniture and collectables. Two sale rooms in South Kensington and Chiswick, at which over 100 sales are held each year. More info. 

Christie's. One of the world's leading auction houses for art and antiques, founded by James Christie in 1766. Now owned by Artemis, the holding company of French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault. Its main London sale room is on King Street, St.James's, where it has been based since 1823. More info. See on map. 

Rosebery's. Lambeth. A privately owned auctioneer, based in Knights Hill, West Norwood. Auctions covering Asian Arts, Modern and Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts and Modern Design, Fine Ceramics, Glass, Silver, Jewellery, Paintings and Collectors' Items. Also Fine Wine, Whisky, Vintage Fashion and Antique Furniture. More info. See on map. 

Sotheby's. The world's largest art business, with global sales in 2011 exceeding $5 billion. Its London sale room is in New Bond Street. Most auctions are held during the day. They are free and open to the public, with the exception of occasional evening auctions, which require tickets. More info. 

Southgate Auction Rooms. Enfield. A general auction of antique furniture and household goods, held every Monday at 2pm at 55 High Street, Southgate. Viewing is on Saturdays and Monday mornings. Children are allowed to attend viewings, but must leave before the auction starts. More info. See on map. 

CAR AUCTIONS

British Car Auctions. Founded in 1946, BCA is Europe's largest car re-marketing company, selling over a million cars a year. Vendors include fleet operators, rental companies, and finance houses. BCA has 22 car auction centres across the UK, including one on the A10 in Enfield. They typically have 10,000 vehicles available, from runabouts to exotic imports. More info. See on map. 

Manheim Auctions. Manheim is the world's largest vehicle auction house, with 145 auction sites worldwide. It operates 16 car auction centres across the UK, including one at Plough Lane, Wimbledon. Auctions are every Wednesday and Friday from 10am. More info. See on map. 

GENERAL AUCTIONS

Criterion. London's largest weekly auctions of affordable items of antiques, jewellery, and contemporary furniture. Sale rooms in Islington and Wandsworth. Sales each Monday start at 10am and finsih around 7pm. Viewing 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday. More info.

Frank Bowen Auctions. Waltham Forest. Specialising in auctioning of stolen property on behalf of the police. Sales are held every two weeks on a Thursday. Auctions start at 11am and take two to three hours to complete. Viewing is on the day before sale from noon to 4pm. Sales take place at the Hitchock Business Centre, High Road, Leytonstone. More info. See on map. 

General Auctions. Wandsworth. Garratt Mills, Trewint St, SW18 4HA. Auctions of everything from delicate cut glass and crystal to powerful diesel-powered road diggers. A weekly slot is reserved for vehicle lots. Specialises in sale of items confiscated by public authorities, including HM Revenue & Customs. More info.  

Greasby's. Wandsworth. 211 Longley Road, Tooting SW17 9LG. Specialise in auctioning confiscated goods on behalf of police and local authorities. Also railway and museum lost property. Greasby's will sell anything provided it is legally compliant with current legislation. Their services to vendors include the clearance of storage units. Bargains to be had. More info. 

North London Auctions. Barnet. 9-17 Lodge Lane, North Finchley, N12. Weekly general auctions at 4pm on Mondays selling affordable furniture, rugs, clocks, ceramics, light fittings, and other homewares. Also cameras and jewellery. Most items come from the local community and businesses. Viewing 9am to 1pm Sunday and on Monday prior to sale. More info. See on map. 

PROPERTY AUCTIONS

Allsop & Co. Alsop is the UK|'s leading auctioneer of residential and commercial property. Residential property auctions are held approximately once a month. They take place at central London hotels, including the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane and the Cumberland Hotel, Great Cumberland Place. More info. 

Barnard Marcus Auctions. Residential and commercial property auctions are held monthly in central London, currently at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Great Queen St, WC2B 5DA. More info. See on map. 

Strettons. Established in 1931, Strettons holds six combined residential and commercial property auctions each year. They are held in central London, currently at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, Great Queen St, WC2B 5DA. Vendors include mortgagees, receivers, public and private companies,trustees, executors, housing associations, and local authorities. More info. See on map.