East London's Best Markets

London is well known for its markets but we have absolutely no doubt that you’ll find the best of these in East London. Drawing from a huge range of cultures and history of the city, a walk around one of East London’s markets is anything but dull, with a rich variety of things to be found at different locations. Here are some of our favourites.

Food & Beverage
  • 17 Apr 2024
Food & Beverage
Fruit and vegetables at a market.
Roman Road Market

Looking for an authentic day out with friends? Roman Road Market is as traditional as you can get. A street market that has been running for over 150 years, it stretches half a kilometre through the heart of Bow, on the edges of Stratford, home to the fabulous Queen Elizabeth Park and ultra cool Hackney Wick. Visit Roman Road Market for its affordable women’s fashion, quality homeware and rather fabulous street eats such as Polenta Paola and the Donut Man who has been selling his famous churros here for over 20 years.

Other popular stalls include Lucy B’s Fabric Stall, Perfume Pat, Saint Sugar of London, and end of line French Connection and Topshop stalls.

You can find the market from 10am-3.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 9am – 4pm on Saturdays. 

Fun fact: The “Roman Road” where the market is located, was famously walked by Boudicca, queen of the ancient British Iceni tribe, as she marched from Camulodunum (modern Colchester) on her way to fight the Romans in Londinium (modern City of London), The Roman Road is also one of the oldest known trade routes in Britain.

Petticoat Lane Market

Petticoat Lane Market in Spitalfields goes back even further than Roman Road, tracking its origins to the 1600s when it was known for fabrics and cheap goods. One of the oldest markets in London, it has a fascinating history and was impacted by the arrival of immigrant settlers, including Huguenot master weavers in the late 17th century, and Jewish immigrants in the 19th century, who were escaping persecution in Europe. These groups helped influence the fashion and clothing that the market is famous for today. 

Petticoat Lane market operates from two places across adjacent streets, with Wentworth Street Market open weekdays, and popular with local workers for their lunch breaks, and Middlesex Street, hosting the booming Sunday market.

You can find the market from Monday-Friday 10 am-2:30 pm and on Sundays 9 am-2 pm

Fun fact: Petticoat Lane Market is no longer actually on Petticoat Lane because the road no longer exists. In the Victorian era, the Victorians were quite sniffy about mentions of undergarments and in 1846 the street was renamed Middlesex Street. 

Broadway Market

With a somewhat chequered history, Broadway Market in Hackney dates back to Victorian times. Post Second World War, this once thriving road, and its market, had declined into a pretty pitiful state. However, willingness to bring it back to life, and to reinvigorate the area, meant that in 2004 49 traders kick started what is now one of the most popular markets in London. 

In addition to a thriving Saturday market, with around 150 traders selling everything from clothing, jewellery and plants, to street food and artisan food products, the market’s renaissance has led to the regeneration of the street. Open seven days a week, the street is also now thriving, full of coffee shops, bars, pubs and restaurants, as well as many independent retail shops. There is also a more limited market on Sundays. 

Operating 52 weeks a year, Saturday’s market is held from 9 am-5 pm and Sunday’s 10 am-4 pm

Fun fact - The market has featured in many film and television series from the 1947 film Odd Man Out and the opening scenes of the 1988 movie Buster, to David Cronenberg's 2007 film, Eastern Promises and Netflix drama series Top Boy.

Columbia Road Market 

Vibrant and lively, Columbia Road Market in Bethnal Green is the oldest flower market in London. Famous for its colourful abundance of fresh flowers, bulbs and plant stalls, independent stores and vintage shops, it’s a great place to browse, hang out, enjoy a coffee, and watch street musicians entertaining passersby before heading home with arms full of beautiful flowers and plants.  

You can find Columbia Road Market every Sunday from 8am to about 3 pm. 

Fun fact - In 1869 Angela Burdett-Coutts, a philanthropist and one of the wealthiest women in England, bought the land and established Columbia Market originally selling food. Moving to a flower market, it was originally held on Saturdays but was moved to Sundays, by Act of Parliament, to allow for the needs of Jewish traders. This also allowed Covent Garden and Spitalfield traders to sell left over stock.    

Victoria Park Market 

Known for its fabulous food, Victoria Park Market is set within one of the most beautiful parks in London, and draws people from far and wide on Sundays, when around 60 traders come to sell everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables, organically farmed meat and fresh fish to bread and cakes, pasta sauces, kimchi and ice-cream. 

Filled with wonderful food aromas, it’s a great place to explore the delights of the surrounding park’s 213 acres before browsing the market’s many stalls and global street food trucks enjoying a coffee, sweet treat or lunch, while listening to live music. Alternatively, pick up some fresh produce for your own culinary creations.    

The market is open between 10am and 4pm every Sunday and is held along a pedestrianised street called the Nightwalk which is inside the park between Bonner and Gore Gates.  

Fun fact - During the Second World War, when East London was badly hit by the German Luftwaffe, Victoria Park was largely closed to the public and was used as one big anti-aircraft site to attack planes who were bombing the area’s docks and warehouses. 

Looking for more things to do in East London? Find other ideas for places where you can eat, drink, shop and play in the area.