Walking down the street from Qbic, you would be forgiven for thinking that East London’s markets aren’t anything to write home about; despite its local charm, Whitechapel market doesn’t have much to offer visitors. Fear not. Many of the capital’s best markets are within walking distance of Qbic and well worth checking out.
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields is one of the few markets that’s open every day of the week, and on each day you’ll find a different selection of stalls. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday a mixture of vendors selling just about everything fill the area. It’s followed up by one of the capital’s best antique markets hosted on Thursday. On Fridays and Sundays, the focus is firmly placed on fashion, while a different theme takes over the area on each Saturday of the month. It’s also a handy place to head when the heavens open; the entire market is undercover and also houses a number of great restaurants.
10 minutes walk north from Qbic
Columbia Road Flower Market and Shops
There are two good reasons to head to Columbia Road on a Sunday: the flower market and the independent shops, many of which only open at the weekend. The quaint East London street is vividly lit up by the colours and smells of the flowers and plants. (A cursory look on Instagram will give you a flavour of what lies in store). The shops are bursting art prints, ornaments, homewares and jewellery, making it the perfect place to pick up an original gift or memento.
20 minutes walk north of Qbic (closest station: Hoxton)
Brick Lane markets
Every Sunday, Brick Lane transforms into a series of huge markets centred around the Truman Brewery. The expansive Sunday Up market features some terrific independent fashion and quirky knick-knacks along with all sorts of delicious street food. Head over to the Backyard Market – also open on a Saturday – which brings together locally produced craft, while even more food is on offer in the Boiler House Food Hall nearby. There’s also, of course, the usual array of vintage shops, bars and restaurants that Brick Lane serves up throughout the week.
Minutes from Qbic
Broadway market is considered one of London’s best eating and drinking streets. But there’s one day when it reaches new highs: Saturday. It’s the day that the market that gave the street its name goes stratospheric with the quality and variety of street food. There’s also everything from stylish homeware, beautiful books and even handmade lingerie being sold. While you’re up there be sure to step around the corner to Netil market, where any number of local creative upstarts sell their wares.
Closest station: London Fields (from Liverpool Street)
Village Green, Hackney Downs
This would normally be the part where we’d say no list of London’s market would be complete without London’s biggest food market, Borough (give it a Google if you need to). Although Borough’s legendary status as one of the world’s great food markets is wholeheartedly deserved, we’d rather keep things East, and away from the tourists. For something a bit different head to Hackney Downs studios for Village Green. Held right outside hundreds of artists studios and a number of independent shops, its well off the beaten track and a nice quiet way to spend a Sunday.
Closest station: Rectory road (from Liverpool Street)
Images credit: Columbia road market by Magnus D