Nestled in the heart of East London between Liverpool Street Station and vibrant Brick Lane, sits Old Spitalfields Market. Occupying exactly the same space as it did when it was established some 400 years ago, the covered market is synonymous with London’s East End and has remained a prominent feature of the community drawing locals and visitors with its diverse mix of offerings. Old spitalfields market offers a true taste of london.
Planning a visit to the Cockney corner of the British capital? Here are 11 reasons Old Spitalfields Market offers a true taste of London.
#1 YOU CAN PICK UP OLD COLLECTABLES
Fashion features prominently at Old Spitalfields however there are a number of different themed markets throughout the week offering niche items that are perhaps not available on the general market stalls. If you’re looking for collectables plan your visit around the Vintage and Antiques Market that takes place every Thursday.
#2 THE MARKET HOSTS EVENTS & POP UP STORES
As the seasons change so does Old Spitalfield’s events programme. Hosting everything from a Young Designers’ Takeover and an African artisan showcase, to art nights and weekly fitness dance classes, there’s something for everyone on offer year-round.
I recently took part in a mother’s day floral masterclass, you can read all about it here.
#3 THERE’S AN INCREDIBLE SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Open daily (check the website for holiday opening times), Old Spitalfields stands at the heart of a shopping community which stretches out to the commercial boutiques that fringe the market, and further still into the lanes and alleyways that greet its perimeter.
Filled with chatter and laughter throughout the day it is a great example of London’s ability to foster diverse and caring communities.
#4 DIAGON ALLEY IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Wizarding fans will be thrilled to hear that Artillery Passage, just south of the market, has featured in the popular Harry Potter films as none other than the magical Diagon Alley.
So if you fancy witnessing a little hocus pocus during your visit, take a walk down this cluttered little street on the way home from Old Spitalfields.
#5 THERE’S AN ENTIRE SHOP DEDICATED TO CHEESE
Now the lactose-intolerant travellers won’t be so excited to hear, however Old Spitalfields hosts a treasure trove of cheesy delights at the Androuet shop and restaurant. Serving the best fondue in London alongside cheese & charcuterie boards, raclettes, fresh cheese pasta, and toasted cheese baguettes, it’s a must for those with a taste for the strong stuff.
#6 AND AN ASTRO-TURFFED VAN SERVING A RAW TAKEAWAY MENU
Le Camion Gourmand (the gourmet truck) is unmissable within the market. Blanketed in bright green astro-turf this converted white van serves up a celebration of some of the best local produce available. Seasonal and wholesome, their menu includes raw items and focuses on ingredients that are essential for good health.
#7 THE FASHIONS ARE FLOGGED BY THEIR DESIGNERS
Nurturing young and emerging talent, at Old Spitalfields you’ll often find that the vendor selling the goods on display is the designer and the maker as well. A great place to support British talent the market is a must for anyone with individual style.
#8 AND SOME HAVE AN ETHICAL IMPACT
As well as ethically sourced fashions the market boasts one ethical fashion success story that stands out. On the outskirts of the market you’ll find the flagship store of Gandy’s, a travel clothing brand with a heart.
Donating 10% of their profits to helping underprivileged children that are affected by the 2007 Tsunami, founders Rob and Paul are known for their brightly coloured flip flops which were their first product line to hit the shelves.
#9 THEIR COSMETICS ARE ABNORMAL
Old Spitalfields is also home to DECIEM, The Abnormal Beauty Company; a haven for the skin-care savvy who know their hyaluronic acid from the rose hip oil this is beauty at its very best.
Promoting good beauty brands that ‘do what they say on the tin’ and cost far less than their name branded competitors, DECIEM is changing the beauty industry one bottle at a time. Believe me, I’ve converted to their ‘The Ordinary’ product range.
#10 YOU CAN ZONE OUT AT THE ETHOS YOGA & FITNESS STUDIO
Mind, Body, Alchemy.
Ethos is a health and fitness hub in Old Spitalfields offering hot yoga, yoga, TRX, spinning, HIIT workouts, barre, and ballet, in an effort to fuse the divide between the worlds of yoga, fitness, and sport science. Just make sure you hit the market’s street food stalls after your workout and not before!
#11 AND CYCLE MEET UPS HAPPEN AT THE RAPHA CAFÉ
Quite possibly my favourite hangout at the market, Rapha is a cycling brand (come coffee shop) with a difference. Producing stylish, functional clothing for the everyday cyclist its stores act as hubs for adventure seekers and offer everything from batch roasted coffee to group rides through the French Alps.
If you’re heading to East London don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this rich and diverse indoor shopping haven. From cockney traders and vintage trinkets to alchemic yoga and raw street food, Old Spitalfields Market offers more than just the traditional fruit & veg stalls of times past.
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