Every Sunday, along this narrow cobbled east London street, you can find over 50 market stalls selling flowers, plants, and gardening supplies. It's a truly vibrant experience.
The restored Victorian terraces along both sides of the street house art galleries and vintage clothes stores, plus pubs, cafes, and restaurants. There are no chain stores here as this street is the preserve of independent retailers. This also makes the street popular with photographers and as a film location.
Thousands of gardeners visit Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday to buy bulbs, plants, and shrubs, and to see the exotic array of cut flowers. This tiny street gets really busy so go early for the best cut flowers. Even if you don't intend to buy any flowers, this market is great to visit as it is so colorful.
Many of the market traders are from Essex where they have their own nurseries to produce their own plants. Stock changes every week but expect to find cut flowers, herbaceous plants and shrubs, and an abundance of bedding plants.
Huguenot immigrants came to the area from France in the 17th century and encouraged a demand for cut flowers. (They also brought with them a fascination for caged songbirds and there's a pub on Columbia Road called The Birdcage.
The Columbia Road flower market was on Saturdays but was moved to accommodate the needs of local Jewish traders. The move to a Sunday also gave another outlet for the Covent Garden and Spitalfields traders to sell any stock left from Saturday.
Do pop into Nelly Duff where they sell stunning screen prints with works from many big name street artists. And Cafe Columbia is only open on Sundays but as it's family run, and now into its third decade of serving bagels, this place is a Columbia Road institution. Treacle is known for its cupcakes but also sells kitchenware and vintage bits and bobs so don't worry if you get there after the cakes have sold out.
Getting To Columbia Road Flower Market
Address: Columbia Road, London E2
Nearest Tube Stations: Liverpool Street / Old Street
Columbia Road Flower Market Opening Hours
Sundays only: 8 am to 2-3pm. Traders arrive early, usually around 4-5am, so you can start buying from 7 am on summer days. Expect the market to pack up earlier in wet weather.
Open every Sunday unless it falls on Christmas Day (25 December).
Other Markets In The Area
Brick Lane Market
Brick Lane Market is a traditional Sunday morning flea-market with a wide array of goods on sale including vintage clothes, furniture, bric-a-brac, music, and so much more.
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market is now a seriously cool place to shop. The market is surrounded by independent shops selling hand-made crafts, fashion, and gifts. The market is busiest on Sundays but is there Monday to Friday too. Shops open 7 days a week.
Petticoat Lane Market
Petticoat Lane was established over 400 years ago by the French Huguenots who sold petticoats and lace here. The prudish Victorians changed the name of the Lane and market to avoid referring to woman's underclothes!
See Petticoat Lane Guide.