It’s fair to say that London’s market scene is thriving. But when you’re tired of Spitalfields, seen all the stalls at Borough Market and grown weary of the tourists at in Camden, where’s left to browse? Happily, craft markets in London aren’t in short supply. Flea markets, antique markets, and yes, even vegan markets are yours for the mooching among. We’ve rounded up our favourite hidden gems. Though, we’ve included a couple of big hitters that you might not be aware of too. The kind that pitch up with cocktails stalls and DJs in darkness or set their stall out on a racecourse… because where else would you find space for 700 antique sellers in London?
Oval Night Market
On a few select dates in the summer, the Oval Night Market brings a Big Apple vibe to the gasworks at Cambridge Heath. For some, the free entry that gives you access to the DJ sets and craft ale bars is more than enough. Others? Well, they’ll be taking advantage of the artists peddling their wares under cover of darkness. Shopping for jewellery after a couple of cocktails could be a dangerous pursuit, but hopefully it’ll just add to the party atmosphere. Stall holders vary – but past street food offerings have included Korean chicken, chocolate smothered waffles and cheese toasties that defy all laws of physics. In terms of crafts? Artist’s products are most easily pegged as a distinctly Etsy bunch. In other words, reasonably priced, often one–off pieces, that you’ll be chuffed to take home.
Orbzii tip: This isn’t just a place to party, Oval’s stalls play host to big names. Designer Sophie Darling has popped up here, selling gorgeous picks from her Brighton store.
Just around the corner from the very well-known Broadway Market lies Netil Market. Here, stalls are tucked into shipping containers, giving the market a very interesting, if rather permanent, aesthetic. Stalls are open all week, but it’s Saturday when the creative dial is turned up just a notch. Even more traders join the fray, bringing their crafts, vintage clothes and artisan bagels with them. Much will be made of the street food being steadily served from an eclectic set of hatches. And, do tuck in if you feel inclined. It’s by no means a vegan market – but there are plant-based stalls if you’re in the mood for seasonal greens and tasty grains.
Orbzii tip: Away from the distracting street food, you’ll find it hard to resist the wildlife-inspired animal jewellery by Frances Hetherington. Cute with a capital C – made all the more joyous when you discover there’s opportunity to make your own in her workshop.
Venn Street Market
Foodies will want to set aside time every Saturday (between 10am – 4pm) for a forage among the stalls of the Venn Street Market. There are plenty of buzz words flying about on this one. Artisan, organic, biodynamic and award–winning wares are all well and good. But the one to focus on? Vegan. Yes, being plant-curious is on trend, but the vegan stalls here are worthy of your tastebuds, whatever your food preferences. The patisserie selection from Bake Empire is just the thing to accompany the coffee that eagle-eyed readers will have picked up from our round up of London’s coffee roasters. For something more substantial? The vegan sushi burritos by Let’s Do Maki hit all the right food notes. Satisfying, flavour-filled and pleasingly high in nutrients and goodness – for a street food feast.
North London Vintage Market
If you love the vibe at Spitalfields but are looking for something a little smaller, drop in to the North London Vintage Market. The founders earned their market stripes manning a stall there and have brought their knowhow – and network of stall holders here. Expect a decidedly vintage vibe – which, yes, sometimes tips over into kitsch, but that’s rarely a problem. Colourful retro pieces nestle neatly among chunky kitchenalia, vintage clothing, pre-loved fashion and jewellery. Perhaps the best finds among the stalls? The gorgeous collections of 50s and 60s fabrics. Just the thing to take home and get working on your next craft project.
Orbzii tip: Don’t miss this market’s Christmas season. In the run up to the big day, stall holders bring in carefully curated festive finds that make wonderful stocking fillers for fans of the vintage era.
Wood Street Indoor Market
Let’s face it. Not every weekend in London will be blessed with blazing sunshine. For rainy days where you feel compelled to set your eyes on some bargains? It has to be Wood Street’s Indoor Market. There’s an eclectic mix among the 30 stalls. Some might label it a flea market, but that doesn’t quite do this market’s consistent stock of memorabilia, retro goodies, antiques and vintage vinyl justice. We can’t promise there are rare jewels to be found on every stall, but shopping here does feel like a treasure hunt, rather than a casual browse. Popping into the retro sweet shop always delivers on nostalgia, which pairs rather nicely with a browse of the superhero figurines at the vintage toy dealers. Niche intel is bound to help bargain hunters, but for the casual market moochers, it’s a lovely place to step back in time.
Orbzii tip: No market experience is complete without a sampling of street food, drop in to Homies on Donkeys for a taco. And, if you manage to have a chat with owner and chef Smokey, all the better.
Sunbury Antiques Market
We can’t pretend for a moment that Sunbury Antiques Market is a hidden gem. After all, it’s been peddling antiques for four decades. But, if you’re not in the antiques biz – or a London regular, it would be easy to miss this bi-monthly bonanza held among the green, green furlongs of Kempton Park Racecourse. So what makes the 50 minute car journey from central London worth the schlep? 700 traders selling the kind of vintage wares that get interior designers, prop buyers and set designers out of their beds at 6 am on a Tuesday morning. Antiques from across the country pitch up to sell their finds. From the big ticket furniture items, to tiny collectibles, there really isn’t much you won’t find here. Free parking, free entry and a range of inside and outside stalls ensures the weather’s rarely an issue.
Orbzii tip: If you feel compelled to pop over to France for some antique finds, pause. Jean-Francois brings Normandy’s treasures to you. You’ll find his stall on the racecourse side of the market – near the ramp.