One of my favourite things to do in London is to spend the weekend at Columbia Road Flower Market London. The market is actually named after a street located in the eats of London and has now became famous amongst both locals and tourists. The street market in Bethnal Green is a road of Victorian shops off Hackney Road in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is open on Sundays only.
Me and Theo had a spare Sunday last month so we decided to drive in to London and spend the day exploring the lesser known areas of London, including Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Brent. Columbia Road Market is London’s principal flower market devoted to selling plants, flowers, garden fittings and gardening equipment at reasonable prices and is the best flower market I’ve ever been to so it’s a must-visit if you are visiting London.
As we all know London doesn’t always have the best weather, which is why I’d also recommend reading this guide to what to do in London when it rains.
THE HISTORY OF COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET LONDON
The market’s been happening, on and off and in various guises, since 1869 and for the past half-century traders have regularly been selling seasonal flowers and plants at bargain prices. In recent years, as the nearby Brick Lane has gained increasing Sunday flea market stalls, Columbia Road market has become a hot tourist attraction with millions visiting every year.
HOW TO GET TO COLUMBIA ROAD FLOWER MARKET LONDON
The nearest Overground stops are Hoxton and Shoreditch High Street (that’s the orange one on the map); from either it’s a 5-10 minute walk. Be sure to look out for some of the cool street art dotted around! The nearest tube to Columbia Road Flower Market is Old Street.
BUYING BLOOMS AND SHRUBS
It’s worth shopping around, don’t be afraid to barter and prepare for it to get very busy. The market is popular with locals and tourists and during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that perfect pot plant. If you can’t bear crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens.
GRAB SOME FOOD OR COFFEE
When you’ve bought your blooms, head behind the stalls and down side streets to find cute cafés, independent restaurants, delis, shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls and small galleries, many of which follow the market’s opening hours. Pop into Jones Dairy Cafe on the corner for organic and local produce (and they’ve even got a cat in the cafe who sleeps all day), treat yourself to a no-frills British bake at Treacle or sink a locally brewed pint at the Nelson’s Head.
For a bargain, visit when the market is winding down (around 2-3pm) because that’s when the traders reduce their prices to shift the remaining stock.
And, don’t forget to bring cash. Some stalls have handheld machines to accept debit card payments but that should not be relied upon. There is an ATM nearby but it charges around £2 per transaction.
Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG – Columbia Road Flower Market London opening times | Every Sunday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.