Contributor Editor: Emma Walton
London is home to roughly 8.3 million people from over 270 nationalities which combines to create one hell of a diverse population. One of the best places to experience the variety of what London has to offer in terms of food, art, pottery, fashion, design and creativity is Old Spitalfields Market in the City of London. Just a 5 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, the heart and spirit of London's East End is most definitely alive and well in modern London.
Based inside a refurbished old Victorian market hall, on its busiest days there are over 170 stalls to choose from. A shopping destination for over 350 years, you can't go wrong. On Thursdays, locals come down to rifle through the vintage and antiques stalls looking to find a piece of treasure and on Friday you can find clothes and art. The market is open 7 days a week and at various stages throughout the month they host special markets - like the record fair on the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month. You'll also find a fresh produce market selling fruit and vegetables from around the South East.
If you are after true East End charm, then make sure you visit on Sunday as that is the traditional East End market day. You'll also find other historic markets open, such as Petticoat Lane, Brick Lane and Columbia Road Flower Market all within a mile or so.
Whenever friends or family come to visit, I always insist on taking them to the market. The vibrant colours, fabrics, aromas and sounds of the market liven the senses and really give you a taste of what London has to offer. I always insist that they take a little token away to remember their trip. Even if nothing grabs your fancy, Old Spitalfields Market is a popular destination for having a leisurely wander, checking out some of the items on offer and treating yourself to a cup of coffee and a gourmet cupcake.
Still if it is shopping you are after...if you want it, Old Spitalfields Market is sure to sell it! 350 years of London shoppers can't be wrong.
If I had one word of advice, it would be to take cash! There are some great deals to be found if you're willing to chat and barter with the stallholders. They are more than happy to talk to you about their products and can be persuaded to give discounts! Most vendors do have card machines however.
You won't forget the feeling of finding a piece of treasure in the markets of East London.