The best Flea Markets in London lifestyle
From Portobello Road to the Greenwich market, in this list you will find the best Flea Markets in London to buy antiques at a bargain price.
The Flea Markets are second-hand markets, where you buy and sell antiques. Going shopping in Madrid, Barcelona, New York or Rio de Janeiro means dropping by one of these markets, which are successful due to the social flow of sustainable consumption.
Flea Market etymology
In the article ‘What is a flea market?’ By Today’s Flea Market, 1998, Albert Lafarge said that flea market is “a literal translation from the French “marché aux puces”, an open-air bazaar in Paris which is named from the parasites that infected the upholstery of old furniture up for sale. “The book ‘Flea Markets in Europe’ published by Chartwell Books, explained, however, that at the time of Napoleon III, in 1860, the army occupied the area dedicated to trade, forcing the merchants of that time to put their stalls up in the north of Paris. The gathering of all those exiles from the slums of Paris soon received the name of “Marche aux Puces”, which means “fleeing the market”. London at a bargain price.
Although the Los Angeles market is the one with the highest number of celebrities accumulated per square metre, the British city of London is one of the best known for the historical nature of its Flea Markets.
Celebrities such as Julianne Moore, Zosia Mamet, Emily Mortimer have admitted to having made some of their best purchases in stores or second-hand markets. Source: Architectural Digest
Portobello Road Market
The London Notting Hill neighbourhood hosts this craft and antiques market, considered as one of the best in Europe. Between colourful architecture and a delicate bohemian atmosphere every Saturday, hundreds of people come together in this Flea Market in search of original objects at knock-down prices. From Chepstow Villas to just below Westway, in Portobello Road Market there are up to 2000 stalls every week, where one can find furniture, clocks, books and porcelain. Fresh products such as fruit, vegetables and spices are also sold in this mythical flea market.
The name of this picturesque street comes from the Panamanian city of Puerto Bello, taken from Spain by the English during the Jenkins Ear War in the 18th century.
Greenwich flea market
To the south of London, in the neighbourhood of Greenwich, there is this renowned market based in a covered building. Although the first news from the Greenwich flea market dates to the fourteenth century, it was not until the early eighteenth century when the foundations of the current market were established. In addition to its antiquity, one of the features of Greenwich Market is that each of the five days it opens, from Wednesday to Sunday, is dedicated to different products: food and household items, handicraft and antiques, art, second-hand items and collectibles. Its location is a great tourist attraction, being flanked by the National Maritime Museum, the Old Royal Naval College, the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory. Next to the dock, there is the Cutty Sark museum-boat and just a few metres from it, there are some typical taverns where, on Sunday, it is possible to try the typical Sunday Roast.
Brick Lane Market
Based in the east end of London, Brick Lane has been the alternative cultural centre of London since the 1990s. It was not always the artistic and modern neighbourhood which it is today, but, for centuries, this area was home to many immigrants and outsiders, it was even used as a Roman cemetery, it is said, because of its proximity to the old city walls. In the 16th century, Brick Lane became famous for brick and tile production. It was not until the seventeenth century when bars and restaurants began to appear in the neighbourhood, and in the 1990s, it had already hosted most of the city’s artists, hippies and bohemians, due to the countless pieces of street art. Currently, picturesque buildings and facades host dozens of collecting lovers. Sunday is the day to visit.
In narrow Upper Street in the London district of Islington, Camden Passage can be found; a pedestrian area which dates back to 1767 which is home to many antique shops. In Camden Passage, an attractive and inviting antiques market has been set up, which also has many old items of interest. The market can be visited on Wednesday and Saturday morning; it is called Camden Passage Antiques Market and it is visibly different from the famous Camden Market. In Camden Passage Antiques, today there are still some 200 distributors with unique items for sale. It is quite simply heaven for vintage style enthusiasts from where items such as: Staffordshire pottery, tops hats and art-deco jewellery; they can all be found, handled and bought. Camden Passage is also known as the famous pub, the Camden Head. There, comedy nights take place, which sees local talent strutting their stuff, and furthermore, we also have the Rock Archive Gallery which has photographic collections.
Chatsworth Road Market
This Flea Market is on a Sunday, and although it goes all the way back to 1930, it was closed down in 1990. It was finally opened again in 2011, thanks to the restorative efforts made by local people and local businesspeople.
Market Terrace is the text plate which can be found on the façade of one of the apartments at the beginning of Chatsworth Street. The plate acts as an indication of the area, where earlier, the original market could be found.
Although cultural and racial diversity can be found in this neighbourhood, it is far from being an ethnic flea market. The Chatsworth Road market is a place where Londoners get together on Sunday so that they take it easy as they stroll through the market stalls, having something to eat or drink. There, it is possible to come across gourmet products, vintage clothes, sweets, handcrafts, jewels, cleaning products and antiques; as well as many other interesting items.