You may think you don’t need to visit a flower market when you’re unlikely to be buying a bunch to take back to your hotel room but, trust us, this is worth it just for the atmosphere. Plus, there’s lots of window-shopping. Columbia Road is a diverse blend of quaint English charm and edgy East London grit. The boutiques lining the street are packed with quality finds from homewares and kitchen utensils to jewellery and vintage pieces, all which make cool gifts for everyone at home. A Portuguese Love Affair (142 Columbia Road), Keeping House (144 Columbia Road) and Delicious Home (118 Columbia Road) are some of the best, while the Vintage Heaven (82A Columbia Road) and its hidden Cake Hole Café is a foodie’s fantasy. The market runs on Sundays only, from 8am until 3pm. Be warned: cafés seem to run out of scones before lunch so best to arrive before midday.
If catching the underground, get out at Old Street. From there it’s about a 15-minute walk to the market. Much closer is the overground Shoreditch High Street station. Don’t despair if it feels a little dreary when you turn off Shoreditch High Street and start along Columbia Road. Keep on going, lured by the sounds of flower sellers crying out in Cockney accents; soon, you’ll encounter the prettiest market in London.
Image: Kyle Taylor