Monday, February 23, 2009

London's Columbia Road Flower Market - your Sunday sanctuary in London

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Columbia Road Flower Market (Columbia Road, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, London, E2 7RG) is certainly not one of those markets that visited by a first time visitor to London. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there's no mention of it in London guide books.

It is for certain one of the smaller markets that comes into life all around London during weekends (on Sundays to be precise). Perhaps Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant should do a sequel that propels Notting Hill to fame, over at Columbia Road.

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Then again, Columbia Road Flower Market, as its name implies is not to be compared with the Notting Hill's Portobello Market. While Portobello Market is known for its antiques and knick knacks, Columbia Road Flower Market is known for, well, its flowers.

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Every Sunday, from 8am till 2pm, crowds looking for some flowers to spruce up their gardens or add some colour to their flats will throng the stretch of road, hardly two hundred metres from one end to the other.

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Whether you are looking for pines, roses, lilies or even some plants with unpronounceable names that can only be found in Wikipedia, they have it here. Like to try your hand at growing them instead? No worries, other than seeds, there are bulbs, stems and seedlings of every variety imaginable. Not only that, there are vases and pots of every size to complement your purchases to be had.
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Also...
Travel through time at Camden Passage

To market, to market - London's Borough Market

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What's fabulous about Columbia Road Flower Market are the rows of shops hidden behind the temporary flower stalls. Shops peddling curiosities, paintings and photographs by local artists, handcrafts lined the street. Tired after haggling the entire day? Pop into one of the many cafes, many of which are themed coffee shops, for a cappuccino, a icing layered muffins or a piping hot burger before heading back out into the crowds again.

Columbia Road Flower Market is certainly a place to whittle away your Sunday morning. Take a stroll through the maze of small alleys and you might just find something that will catch your fancy.

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6 comments:

Martin In Bulgaria said...

Never actually been there, but the place looks timeless, which is more than can be said for other parts of London.

Jack - eyeflare travel advice said...

This looks like a great photo op as well. Have actually seen the market in the guide books, at least London for Londoners, but haven't yet been.

Will soon though!

Stumbled this post for you.

Dutchie said...

There r 2 large stalls at our local thursday market selling flowers. During planting season, an entire flower market will appear. I do go n hv a look-see. Pity most flowers dont hv much fragrance, do they ? I hv some light pink roses which emits a nice scent. I usually cut a bunch for the living room but u hv to be aware that insects n ants r with them without u seeing it at first :-/

That window box with plastic cup cakes is eye-catching n u caught it !

Beamer said...

I gave it a stumble for sure. Nice post. I learned something new to day. Thanks for sharing.

Beamer

EastCoastLife said...

I won't think of visiting a flower market in London but I'm looking for some beautiful gardens to visit should I go to London.

I heard some private individuals open their gardens for viewing ... for a small fee.

C K said...

@Martin,
I get what you mean. There were some grouses that the former Mayor allowed too much development in some parts of London thus remove any character that is left in that area. I know that Spitalfields is one such area.


@Jack,
Really? I should go read some of those London for Londoners guide. Do bring along your camera when you're there!


@Dutchie,
That's the very reason why I hesitate to bring any plants into my place. Coming from S'pore, the last thing I want is to have insects infesting the area.

LOL, btw, those cup cakes/muffins are real. The small ones goes for £1 and the larger ones for £2. I had two of the small ones for my early morning tea.


@Beamer,
Thanks! Appreciate that.


@ECL,
Won't blame you. It'll be quite bizarre for you to visit this flower market if you were to come to London. I mean, even frequent visitors and Londoners do not.

It's like visitors to S'pore would probably not stop by Sungei Road's Theives market. :)

Interesting to know about the private gardens though. Have you been to any before?