From pop-ups, to permanent markets, and long standing events, London is teaming with vintage and antique events to suite every taste. From some of the world’s most highly respected auctions and events like BADA, Adam’s, Little Chelsea, Olympia and more, to trendy pop-up fleas and vintage fairs.
Let’s look at some of London’s flea markets, including, some of the quirkier, lesser known, and highly atmospheric antique and vintage happenings, and how they can be combined with an unforgettable day out in the capital.
London can be more like a collection of sprawling urban villages, each with their own unique atmosphere. The capital’s size and layout, means that when you visit one of London’s quirkier antiques or flea event; you are sometimes better off combining your trip with a visit to the area, to soak up the place’s unique atmosphere, and culinary delights.
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Stoke Newington Church Street
Visitors to Hackney Flea, and The Big London Flea, will be landing in stylish Stoke Newington in North East London. So why not combine the visit with a mooch down Church Street?
With its stylish cafes, and shops, pop up arts and crafts events, Stoke Newington is steeped in history and quirk. Why not pay a visit to historic Abney Park Cemetery, or Clissold Park before treasure hunting at the event?
These particular flea markets start a good deal later than some of the more competitive antique fairs, so you wont have to carry your finds around as you explore the area. Expect to find vintage fashion, memorabilia, a spattering of vintage arts, and collectables, rather than furniture and larger items.
Image courtesy of: https://oldspitalfieldsmarket.com
East London Delights
Lets head south down Stoke Newington High Street now, through the rich and diverse streets of Hackney, through Shoreditch – East London’s creative and tech hub; and beyond. To one of the city most famous markets, Spitalfields. Its known for arts, fashion, artisan goods and food; as well as a smaller amount of collectables, vintage and memorabilia. Spitalfields makes a great day out.
Spitalfields hosts a variety of events from tea dances to start up fairs. A visit to Spitalfields combines well with a visit to one of London hippest venues for chic pop-up flea, vintage and artisanal markets: The Old Truman’s Brewery.
Truman’s brewery off of Brick Lane, hosts a range of events throughout the year, around which it is worth planning a trip to Spitalfield, Brick Lane Market (Sundays) and surrounds. Again this part of London has its own very unique atmosphere, that is at once multicultural, post-industrial, historic, uber modern and artsy.
Image courtesy of: https://www.greenwichmarket.london/
Beautiful Greenwich is teaming with charm and old world sophistication. With its beautiful architecture, views, museums, observatory and rich maritime history, Greenwich is an antique lover’s dream, a great day out, and a step back in time.
The undercover market mostly sells modern arts and crafts, but does include 11 regular antique and vintage dealers; and is surrounded by a kooky maze of stylish boutiques, cafes, antique shops and other curios. They host a number of events throughout the year, such as the atmospheric new years day vintage car display in the main hall.
The Greenwich Vintage Market is more of a traditional flea; with over 40 traders selling a range of shabby chic, clothing, memorabilia and more. They also hold a range of events. From late opening market events to auctions.
Undercover Greenwich Market: https://www.greenwichmarket.london/
The Greenwich Vintage Market: http://www.greenwich.market/events
Flat Iron Square and Bermondsey Antique Market
Heading back towards central London from Greenwich, we hit one of London’s most stylish districts. London Bridge and surrounds, is better known for the street food of Borough Market and iconic landmarks such as the Golden Hind, Tower Bridge, The Tate Modern and Southwark Cathedral. It is also home to one of London’s hippest new flea markets, and one of its oldest.
Flat Iron Square is one of several new mixed indoor/outdoor venues that not only serves world class street food from independent traders in a funky atmosphere, but provides seating areas to relax, sometimes DJs, events, classes and more.
One of their main highlights is their weekend flea market, which attracts a variety of traders, from vintage fashion, to antiques, homewares and collectible. This little market is an interior designers dream, with its little bits of quirky style inspiration, great food and atmosphere.
Bermondsey Antique Market is one of London’s oldest antique’s fairs and is a real find. Set in a proudly working class borough, it gives a taste of old London culture, and a chance to pick up a real bargain. From furniture to homewares and unusual collectables, some say it is a feeder fair for Portobello. Expect colourful characters, and a bit of haggling.
Although it is harder to get to than some, it is worth the effort as it lies well off the tourist path, offering a truly authentic experience.
Image courtesy of: http://www.portobelloroad.co.uk/
Portobello and Golborne Road
Heading over to West London now, Portobello is possibly the world’s largest and most famous flea market. Saturday is main market day, although there are different markets almost daily. The market is very large and divided into sections. So be sure to check the markets online section guide; and travel guidelines, to avoid disappointment.
There is also a large fashion section on Saturdays. But, this diversity can make for a great family day out where family members have different interests.
Many locals and interior designers, head straight to Golborne Road Market, which dissects Portobello. With its own unique ambiance, some liken Golborne Road to the feel of the ‘old’ Portobello, before the rising popularity of the Nottinghill area, made Portobello Road Market a main tourist destination.
Expect quirky architectural antiques, second-hand and vintage. Golborne Road is also a great place to eat, serving as a hub for the local North African and Portuguese and communities. So if planning a trip to Portobello, this is a great place to aim for for lunch.
Image courtesy of: https://www.camdenpassageislington.co.uk
Camden Passage – The Jewel of Islington
Not to be confused with famous Camden Lock Market, also in North London, which is a fabulous market selling quirky new goods in its own right, and worth a visit.
Camden Passage is a charming and quirky flea market just off of famous Upper Street, between Angel and Highbury and Islington, in North London. It offers a unique blend of vintage clothing, bric-a-brac, collectables and one-offs.
A destination in its own right, it also combines well with catching an afternoon concert at the Union Chapel, or shopping and lunch at Upper Streets iconic range of shops, bars and eateries, many of which are independent or small chains.
Prepared to travel a little further for that special find?
Image courtesy of: https://www.sunburyantiques.com
London’s interior designers flock to ‘London best kept secret’ : The Sunbury Antique Markets. Located at the edge of London, if you are prepared to travel that bit further, you will find a high calibre of antiques with a slightly lower price tag. The fair has a more rustic, shabby chic and unusual twist. In some ways, Sunbury is more akin to the larger rural antique fairs, but much nearer to the city.
For a fabulous day out of town, Ardingly, is the largest fair in the South of England and lies only an hour from London. And the quirky seaside town of Brighton with it flea markets, arcades and antique shops, is of course only an hour and a half from the capital.
Also worth a look
There are hundreds of events that cross over with the London flea market’s. Even Covent Garden still has a spattering of antiques, and collectables amongst new and crafts goods, food and street theatre.
Alexandra Palace Antiques & Collectors Fair is one of the largest in London, and combines well with a day out to the ‘people’s palace’ which has spectacular views over London; and one of the UK’s best farmers markets every Sunday in its grounds.
The Bloomsbury Ephemera fair is a treasure trove for collectors of old postcards, magazines and out of print books and other quirky print Ephemera. Alfie’s Antiques, near to St John’s Wood and Regents Park, is London largest permanent indoor Antique Market, with its own cafe, it is said to attract the famous and stylish.
Capital, Wimbledon and Battersea car boot sales, all in South London are also well worth a mention for bargain hunters. And of course keep an eye out of local vintage fairs; which are forever springing up in London’s diverse neighbourhoods.