Petticoat Lane, Spitalfields and Brick Lane, London
We also visited Pettycoat Lane Market on a Sunday morning. It's a street market, and has mostly new things at discount prices, with the highest percentage clothing. It was colorful and fun, and if I was a Londoner on a budget I would definately shop here.
However, if you enjoy poking around looking for old or unique items, go to nearby Spitsfield Market instead.
What to buy: I bought a few souvenirs here, a few refrigerator magnets for my sisters and (don't laugh) a little Teddy bear dressed like Sherlock Holmes.
What to pay: Great prices! The same souvenirs I saw elsewhere for about twice the money.
We really enjoyed the Spitalsfield Market in the East End of London, which we visited Sunday morning of our trip. It was inside, rather than on the street, and had a huge variety of things to buy, from antiques and collectibles to clothing to baked goods to crafts to posters to whatever you can think of.
What to buy: I bought a small wooden box (for my small wooden box collection) which had a 1928 Irish coin (a 1/2 d with a picture of a pig on it)and a key inside and a couple of unusual (fabric patterns with "jewels" on them pinback buttons for my collection.
What to pay: I paid about 4 lbs for the box (originally priced at 6) and a pound or so apiece for the buttons. All price ranges.
Just off Brick Lane there are some covered areas (arches) selling all kinds of bric-a-brac and sundry junk. My observant Italian VT friend Barbaraforza said "look at those!!" and there, hanging from the ceiling, were these four pairs of incredibly strange thigh high lace up boots.
I am guessing they are dancers boots from the 40s or 50s but I really don't know. What a fascinating find though!! (Oh I didn't buy any and I have no idea what they would have cost)
What to buy: Anything, but you will come across a lot of trash before you find any treasure :)
What to pay: Depends on what you buy.
Spitalfields Market is a very popular market in London.
You canbuy anything from clothes - both secondhand or new young designer stuff.
Art - new Artists
Food - cheeses/ chocolates/fresh veg
Its a covered market so this is fab for when the weather lets London down!
The market can get very busy so be prepared for abit of jostling.
Best day to go is on a Sunday but they do have certain days for certain things. i.e Fashion day on Thursdaysis also very popular.
What to buy: I love the vintage furniture and clothes
What to pay: You can definitely get a few bargains even though its London
If you like vintage clothing, quirky fashions, interesting craft items – or if you just enjoy browsing in markets – Spitalfields is for you. There are around 100 stalls, all under cover, in the old market here, open every day of the week. And around the edges are some interesting boutiques and plenty of places to eat and drink. On a Saturday there are extra stalls selling original fashion items, and there is a regular programme of free events too – concerts, dance and sports demonstrations, fashion shows and more. The vibe is relaxed and it doesn’t seem to get too crowded, so you can browse with relative ease.
What to buy: We usual come to browse and maybe have a drink, so I rarely buy anything although am often tempted! But I did succumb to that temptation recently and bought a pretty gold ring from one of the jewellers here.
What on earth has happened to Spitalfields Market? This certainly isn't the market I remember from the last time I went there just a few years ago, it's starting to look more and more like the Covent Garden Market, all bright and shiny and trendy...
It was originally a fruit and vegetable market, the name Spitalfields comes from a contraction of the words hospital and fields as this was formerly the site of a hospital. The current covered market is sort of a cross between a covered market and a food court, there are a bunch of chain restaurants like La Tasca and Gourmet Burger Kitchen and trendy shops lining the outside of the market, the interior space is devoted to stalls which vary from day to day.
Sunday is the best day to go, you can combine a visit here with the other markets in the area-Brick Lane, Columbia Flower Market, Petticoat Lane and the Sunday UpMarket. For a walk that includes all of the markets, look here
Market Stalls: Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm and Sundays, 9am - 5pm.
Restaurants: Monday to Friday, 11am - 11pm and Sundays 9am - 5pm.
Retail Shops: Monday to Sunday 11am-7pm.
Monday & Tuesday: General Stalls
Wednesday: Deli/ records & books (1st & 3rd of the month)
Friday: Fashion & Art
Saturday: All shops & no stalls
Sunday: Busiest day
No single shop really. The whole street comes to life, especially around Truman Brewery, and past the mosque heading north along Brick Lane.
There are indoor food stalls with cuisines ranging from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Ethiopian, Turkish, Swedish, Indian, Lebanese, Caribbean, etc !!
There are some quirky wall mosaics near the brewery, and some graffiti art on side road walls.
You'll see Brick Lane as well as the ones right off it have the names written in Bangladeshi as well, as the surrounding residential area (particularly Whitechapel) has a large Bangladeshi population. However the market traders are of all backgrounds, as are the customers!
Bangladeshi restaurants and grocery stores abound on this road.
There are some vendors who even have carrom boards set up for customers/browsers to play!
What to buy: Exotic music CDs, clothes, utensils, home furnishing, jewellery, souvenirs, indoor food market (lots of different world cuisines!!)
What to pay: Range of prices; the main thing is the colours, buzz, range of items available
There has been a market on the site since 1638 when Charles I of England gave a licence for flesh, fowl and roots to be sold on Spittle Fields - which was then a rural area on the eastern outskirts of London. After the rights to a market had seemingly lapsed during the time of the Commonwealth, the market was refounded in 1682 by Charles II in order to feed the burgeoning population of a new suburb of London. Market buildings were sited on the rectangular patch of open ground which retained the name Spittle Fields: demarcated by Crispin Street to the west, Lamb Street to the north, Red Lion Street (later subsumed into Commercial Street) to the east and Paternoster Row (later known as Brushfield Street) to the south. The existing buildings were built in 1887 to service a wholesale market, owned by the City of London Corporation. Spitalfields Market was extended westward to Steward Street in 1926, destroying the northern extensions of Crispin Street and Gun Street in the process.
The original wholesale fruit and vegetable market moved to New Spitalfields Market in 1991.
The western end of the old market has been redeveloped to include restaurants, shops and a large award winning indoor arts and crafts market. Being at the centre of a revival in the area, the eastern end of Spitalfields still retains its old charm with a popular food and general market that is open seven days a week, but is particularly lively on Sundays.
After visiting Bricklane and Spitalfields, we continued on to Petticoat Lane but didn't see much of interest there for us as it was mostly clothes with a bit of household goods, bric a brac and leather thrown in. The Sunday market, estimated at 1,000 stalls, is held along Middlesex Street and Wentworth Street, several websites say that it is also open Monday-Friday but just on Wentworth St. The best day to go is Sunday when the market becomes much larger and you can combine with the other markets that are open Sunday only in the East End-Brick Lane, the Columbia Flower Market and the Sunday Up Market.
There's been a market here since around 1750, it is closed on Saturday because of the tradition of observing of the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday. You won't find Petticoat Lane on a map, the street name was changed in 1846 to Middlesex Street to avoid the reference to ladies undergarments. A reference to Sex was apparently more acceptable...
Different websites have different hours, most say that it's open Sunday 9:00am – 2:00pm and Monday - Friday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Brick Lane Market is another of the East End Sunday markets, the area is probably best known for Indian food, although many say the restaurants here are now all tourist traps. The area also has ties to the Jewish community, once again explaining why it's a Sunday market and you will find a couple of famous bagel shops a couple of doors apart. We picked Beigel Bake because it not only had the longer line but also police officers who usually know where the good food is. It's open 24 hours a day, try the hot salt beef bagel but be careful of the mustard, it's definitely a sinus cleaner!
On the rest of the street there's a variety of people selling second-hand furniture, clothes and junk. The market is open on Sunday from early morning until around 2 pm, I assume the local restaurants are open during the week as well.
Look at the street signs on the buildings, they are written in both English and Bengali due to the large population of them in this area.
We wandered by the Sunday UpMarket while wandering through the area looking for Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market. It's an indoor market inside the Old Truman Brewery building, around 140 stalls selling clothes, jewelry, crafts, and ethnic food.
We had a good laugh when we saw the booth selling Mexican food, the two people working the booth were an Asian man and a Middle Eastern woman, not who I'd expect to be selling burritos and tacos!
Open Sunday 10 am-5 pm
I was disappointed from Brick Lane market (pics 1-2-3) although we enjoyed the general area and the Flower Market (read separate tip).
It is a typical Sunday market selling general goods that spreads along Brick Lane street. We saw fruit/vegetable stalls but also many sellers with low quility items, second hand clothes, old furniture, cds, probably some bargains but you have to search inside a lot of junk. The market has a long history though as it developed during the 18th century for farmer selling livestock and produce outside the London City boundary. The best part of the market for us was the Beigel Bakery(pic 4) that is open 24 hours a day and has some great tasty bagels :) You may also want to try the numerous curry restaurants of the area.
The market is open on Sundays 8.00-15.00
Spitalfields Market(pic 5) is a big covered area across Commercial Street that houses a some restaurants and numerous stores and stalls selling general goods but depending on the day you may find antiques/vintage(Thursdays), cheap clothes, fashion and art(Fridays), music and books(Wednesday), souvenirs etc although it was London’s commercial market for fruit and vegetables until 1986. Now, you can see some trendy shops outside and numerous stalls selling crap inside.
It was built at the end of 19th century on the site of a much older market licensed by King Charles II in 1682!
It is open daily 9.00-17.00, the shops till 19.00 and the restaurants stay longer
At the end we skipped Petticoat Lane market because we were already tired and didnt really care about it as it is mostly dedicated to clothes and a lot of crap. It’s located at Middlesex Street and Wentworth St.
Petticoat Lane Market is London’s world famous Sunday market and is a fashion and clothing market in the East End that actually consists of two adjacent street markets. The market dates from the 17th century, although Petticoat Lane itself doesn't actually exist anymore, the name was changed to Middlesex Street in 1846 due to the Victorians wishing to avoid any reference to undergarments.
Wentworth Street Market is open six days a week (Monday to Friday) and Middlesex Street Market is open on Sundays only.
Wentworth Street Market: 10:00 am to 2:30 pm
Middlesex Street Market: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
What to buy: With more than 1,000 stalls lining the streets selling mainly clothes for men, women and children, from street-cred clubwear to over-orders of designer goods, leather wear and last year's must-haves. Bargain hunters come from all over to shop or just to browse.
Petticoat Lane is East London's celebrated Sunday morning market. Overrateted, overpriced and appeals to those not thinking straight after Saturday night at the pub.
Broken chocolate bars, ugly trinkets and cut prices on cleaners.
Good if you have a lot of time in London.
What to pay: Nothing for anything
The Petticoat Lane Street Market is the place to go to look for a deal in clothing.
This East End market has been held since the 1750's.
Mo-Fr: 10AM - 2.30PM
Su: 9AM - 2PM
What to buy: Clothes.
What to pay: Lower prices than in the shops.