Here are the best flea markets in London, and as the legend goes, all students are broke. We genuinely, truly, honestly do not know where our money goes: food, transport, stationery, cleaning supplies? (If you haven’t given up on cleaning yet). The truth is, at the end of every month we find ourselves with an almost – let’s say almost – empty bank account and the eternal phrase that finds its way out of our mouths every time we log on Instagram: “I want to go shopping”.
It’s in this sort of scenarios when us London students need to bid goodbye to Oxford Street (bye H&M, bye Zara, bye Topshop) and welcome flea markets in our lives. But don’t worry, if the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a flea market is “messy and dusty”, we have the perfect list to change your mind: here’s the top 10 flea markets in London you’re missing out on!
Hackney Flea Market
Also known as The Big London Flea, this is the paradise of costume jewellery and vintage furniture. Just picture it: more than 50 stalls of retro heaven, with pre-loved clothing, oddities (really odd stuff, I once saw a porcelain doll’s head that had been turned into a plant pot), accessories, cute tea cups and cutlery… Prices vary according to how good an eye you’ve got for bargains.
Alfies Antique Market
Imagine Ali Baba’s cave… but make it Vogue. That’s what Alfies Antique Market looks like. This indoors antiques market will lure you in like the proper maze it is, with the tiny difference that will not want to find your way out. Alfies Antique Market is arguably the only place in London where you can find Middle Eastern art, Chinese vases and African carvings cohabitating in harmony with antique furniture and vintage movie posters. If you eventually get tired of wandering around being constantly awed by all the unique items, you’ll be happy to know there is a rooftop kitchen that looks lovely this time of the year. A great option for flea markets in London!
Bermondsey Antique Market
Get ready to barter! This is the bargain hunters’ favourite flea market for a reason: it’s busy, it’s full of hidden gems and it’s so. Damn. London. The very cockney vibe and the knowledge that this is one of the few flea markets in London where most of the antiques are authentic make Bermondsey Antique Market worth more than one visit. One visit to fall in love with it, and a second to show up at 6am like the pro bargain hunter you are only to make sure you actually find something. The sight of people walking around the stalls with flashlights as they rummage through the antiques is something difficult to forget.
Independent boutiques, vintage comic books and rare trinkets, all of this only 5 minutes from Angel Station! This picturesque flea market is famous for its wide variety of product, as it is the home of 200 antique dealers trading in from vintage clothing and Parisian accessories to retro playing cards. And if you get hungry, you can always stop by at Chipotle or Crepe Affaire, located in the middle of the passage. A great place to go when searching for flea markets in London
The Flat Iron Flea
The eclectic and European vibe of the flea at Iron Flat Square is what’s gained it its position on this list. Make sure you bring a power bank with you, because your phone will quickly run out of battery after you spend the morning immortalising the beautiful arrangements of old books, vintage clothing and retro-looking cameras.
Portobello Road Market
If you claim you have the ability to walk down Portobello Road without remembering Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, or humming “She” by Elvis Costello, you’re a liar. If you also claim you’re able to go to Portobello Road Market on a Saturday without feeling the terrible urge to buy something… that’s twice you’ve lied. Portobello Road Market is the only place in London where you’re happy to put up with crowds and slow-walking tourists, because everything around you – antiques, pottery, jewellery, old maps and books… – is so pretty, you just can’t help enjoying yourself.
Holloway Car Boot Sale
Ah, Holloway Car Boot Sale… most students know it as the free entry market with a 20% student discount on most stalls. Don’t be discouraged by the “most stalls” bit, if there’s ever been a place in London with better prices, we haven’t found it yet. We’re talking about serious bargains here: jumpers for 50p, dresses for only £2, boots for £8… You’ll go home with a new wardrobe and you won’t even need to feel guilty about it.
Brick Lane Market
When in search of something cool, new and indie, head East. And more specifically, head to Brick Lane. Forget everything you knew about flea markets, with stalls aligned on both sides of one street; Brick Lane Market is an intricate network of markets and streets that are the perfect metaphor for East London’s lifestyle, such is its diversity in product, sellers and costumers. Our last advice: don’t leave without trying the salt beef bagels at Brick Lane Beigel Bake.
Chatsworth Road Market
Located in one of London’s longest streets, Chatsworth Road Market is mostly known for its fantastic street food stalls, including an award-winning butcher, which you’ll love if you’re one of those students who actually cooks. However, it also offers a wide variety of pre-owned clothing, antiques, vintage jewellery and, wait for it: handmade beauty products!
Capital Car Boot Sale
The story behind this boot sale is one of our favourite reasons why we love it: freelance personal shopper Faye Marriott decided one day she wasn’t satisfied with the look and quality of London’s car boot sales… so she went and set up her own! Today, Capital Car Boot Sale is the only one in London that opens every Sunday all year round, with indoor and outdoor stalls. The only thing left to say is the Evening Standard has described this particular sale as the “favourite among fashion insiders”.
What are your favourite flea markets in London and what do you usually buy? Let us know in the comment section below!
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Journalism student from City, University of London. Originally from the Canary Islands. I am super enthusiastic about women rights, arts, fashion and everything that involves learning and growing as a person.