Creative London Markets

Last week, I traveled to London for my 12 Countries in 12 Months project, and happily I received many great tips from locals as to which markets I should visit during my stay.

One of the first London markets I visited was on Portobello Road in the beautiful Notting Hill neighborhood. On Saturdays this lively market is full of international tourists (perhaps all hoping to see Hugh Grant?), but the atmosphere is warm and friendly, music floats in the air, and there are plenty of tempting food stalls and outdoor cafes to prevent anyone from going hungry.

The Portobello Market sells everything from antiques to handmade crafts in a wild jumble of stands, some old and some new.

Another great London tip for anyone who loves historic markets is the Borough Market, which features beautiful architecture and many traditional British foods, drinks, handmade and organic products.

I had great time here wandering around, sampling delicious treats, and soaking in the rich colors, tastes, and sounds. If you like contemporary art, the Tate Modern is located nearby and is definitely worth a visit.

One of the absolute highlights of my London trip was visiting the Spitalfields Market, the Sunday UpMarket and Backyard Market at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, and the Columbia Road area.

On Sundays, these connected streets positively overflow with incredible handmade, vintage, pop up shops, and culinary markets. There is so much to see, it is somewhat overwhelming, but definitely worth spending a Sunday here, walking about and discovering new shops and indie designers.

Of course I made the pilgrimage out to Columbia Road to visit Ryantown an adorable shop featuring the colorful, delicate, humorous paper cuts and screen prints by artist Rob Ryan. Thanks to Louise and Caroline at the Ryantown shop for being so friendly and helpful.


A special thanks also to Tif Fussell aka Dottie Angel who actively encouraged me to explore this giant market area. One of Tif's favorites places on Columbia Road is Vintage Heaven and Cake Hole, which you can read more about in Andrea and Ana Maria's Poppytalk post here.

For those of you who appreciate the culinary arts, I found the cupcakes and whoopie pies to be particularly gorgeous at the Sunday UpMarket stand of Kooky Bakes. If you live in the UK, you can even order online here.


Stephanie Levy is an American artist and illustrator living abroad in Munich, Germany. 

{We hope you enjoyed Stephanie's market tour today. If you'd like to see a bit more of her travels in Europe, please visit her 12 Countries in 12 Months blog and check out her latest Creative Courage ecourse starting April 9th which helps women make their creative dreams real, featuring exclusive guest interviews with well-known artists, designers, photographers, and published authors from around the world. Her latest session, Creative Courage will also include a fun, virtual art and culture trip to Paris, France. To find out more, please click here} -Jan.

Jan Halvarson


oh, hello friend. said...

Thank you so much for this post - it is awesome! My husband and I have been thinking about moving to London but a lot of my income is from shows and I wasn't sure what sort of markets London had to offer. This is a great resource and I am excited to check these markets out in our trip this fall!

oh, hello friend. said...
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A Cup of Sparkle said...

Amazing post. I love European shops, every time I visit I am always fascinated by their small, original styles. Those are really awasome photos. Thanks for sharing.


A and B said...

I love those cut-out cards! This post makes me want to move to london ASAP

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

OOOOOOH -- love it ALL! The Hot Cross Buns! The pork pies! The art! Magical.

Luna Levy said...

Thanks so much Jan for the opportunity to share my travels and market tips! I truly did love London, such a great city! xo

Jamie-Lynn said...

I love markets and cute shops...I wish I could visit this place!

Littletree Designs // Rebecca said...

Such a great round up! I love the Sunday Upmarket and Spitalfields Market - haven't been to ryantown yet but its on the 'to visit' list!x

Zane said...

all the places look so gorgeous

Samantha said...

these markets and shops sound fab, I have, for a long time wanted to visit Portobello Road ever since watching the old movie bed knobs and Broom sticks when my kiddies were little.
I don't know why but it sounds sort of dreamy and oddly romantic..

Koosje Koene said...

Now I really want to go to London! I've been there years ago, but it just moved up on my to-go-to-list. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!

Kathryn Smart said...

As a local I would also recommend Broadway Market on Saturdays in the uber cool London Fields area, its mainly food but is great for people watching. Its a favourite with fashion street photographers. If you go to Ryantown on Sunday it coincides with the lovely flower market (closes at 1pm) on Colombia Road.

If you are finding Borough Market a bit too crowded, head to nearby market in Maltby Street on Saturdays 9-2pm for a smaller scale set up of local food suppliers.

Battersea Car Boot (flea market) is on Sundays 12-5pm and is worth a rummage around. The massive Chiswick car boot in West London is on the first Sunday of the month and is also a great place to find vintage stuff.

Enjoy London!