The best East End markets

East End is primarily known as the depressing backdrop of the long-running BBC soap series 'EastEnders'. But locals know better: this is no longer a disadvantaged district but the hippest area in the city. Shoreditch, Spitalfields and Hoxton form a nicely refurbished neighbourhood full of creative shops, delicious curry houses, slick cocktail bars and some of the most interesting markets in London.

Bargain hunting at the Petticoat Lane Market

Bargain hunting at the Petticoat Lane Market

The famous Petticoat Lane Market

Back in the days of the Tudors, the Petticoat Lane Market, one of London's most famous markets, sold petticoats and lace. At first glance it seems hard to understand why this market is so famous. Contrary to what the name suggests, the market features approximately 1,000 stalls that mostly sell cheap clothing and shoes. However, if you take a closer look, you may discover a nicely priced leather jacket or last season’s designer shirt. Most visitors don’t come here looking for a bargain but rather to browse and have something to eat and drink.

Sunday sea of flowers on Columbia Road

Sunday sea of flowers on Columbia Road

A sea of flowers: Columbia Road Flower Market

The flower market at Columbia Road in the Hackney district adjacent to Spitalfields is a colourful and lively affair. Every Sunday, from early morning until afternoon, almost half of London seems to stock up on flowers in the narrow street between the Victorian terraced houses. When shoppers loaded with bouquets, hibiscuses and palm trees sit down on the patio of The Royal Oak pub to relax over a cup of tea, last night’s party may still be going on inside – a wonderful contrast with the lovely flower market outside.

Vintage design at Spitalfields Market

Vintage design at Spitalfields Market

Hipsters: Old Spitalfields Market

Due to poor accessibility at the Old Spitalfields Market’s the greengrocers moved away in 1999, and the market was immediately slated for demolition. Half of the historic market hall from 1683 was cleared away to make room for modern office towers. The rest was supposed to follow suit but London rebelled just in time. The remaining half is now a popular market with local designers, fashion items, organic food, art and kitsch. The 250 stalls draw quite a crowd, especially on Sundays. And it is nice to know that even Madonna and Kate Moss are occasionally seen browsing here.

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