If you’re going to be in London on Sunday and want to experience a gorgeous flower market, I highly recommend making time to explore the Columbia Road Flower Market in Londons’ East End between Shoreditch and Brick Lane, Spitalfields.
If you’re a plant or flower aficionado, you’ll be tempted to scoop up all the fabulous fresh bouquets and potted plants. The street erupts in a riot of color and if like me you’re attracted like a bee to the blossoms!
The market runs Sunday only from 8 to 3ish. Nearby shops are also open on Saturdays, but you’ll want to visit on Sunday to get the full experience.
I had a little trouble finding the market my first visit. If you’re getting there by tube, Olde Street is the nearest station, turn left on exit, walk along Old Street into Hackney Road and after 200 metres turn right into Columbia Road. See this map for more details.
Shoreditch is the area around Columbia Rd. and full of interesting little shops. The flower market itself runs for several blocks. The flower vendors are lined up on either side of the street. As the street is narrow to begin with, it quickly gets packed with flower lovers.
This is no ordinary “flower” market but an opportunity to find interesting house plants, bedding plants, herbs and blooms all as fresh as daisies. If you’re a plant lover, the Columbia Road flower market is the place to get your fix. Gorgeous high quality blooms at very reasonable prices. As I wasn’t able to take home any plants on my visit, I settled for a nice fragrant bag of lavender at £2.50.
In the mood for a pint or glass of something? Pop into the Restaurant at the Royal Oak at 73 Columbia Road. You’ll find a shambolically convivial place to rest your weary legs and those of any of your four legged friends.
Other spots to grab a coffee or bite:
- Lily Vanilli’s off Ezra St (bakery) – small bakery where you can grab a coffee, on this day there was limited seating and we wiped off outside bench seats with napkins as it had just rained. Had a power granola bar which was freshly baked and a coffee.
- Vintage Heaven Cakehole (bakery and stuff) 82 Columbia Rd. Open 8:30-5:30 Sun
- Jones Dairy, 23 Ezra St. (cafe) open mid day Fri, Sat, Sun.
If you want to make a day of it:
A visit to the Columbia Flower Market can also be combined with a visit to Spitalfields Market, a 15-20 minute walk away. Spitalfields is an indoor market set up as a permanent flea market with lots of individual sellers of clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. My first impression was it was set up to appeal to a more youthful market, but you may enjoy browsing and looking. The building itself has held some type of market for over 300 years. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are market days.
Nearest tube stations:
Aldgate East and Liverpool Street. The only way to get from one market to the other is to walk, bus or taxi it.