Our guide to England’s local markets
The best way to get under the skin of any destination and tap into the identities of the places and people living there is by visiting a market. The beating heart of many communities, farmers’ markets, flea markets and like-clockwork Sunday markets are one-stop shops for rummaging for antiques, picking up vintage coats or sniffing out local foodie treats. Just make sure you bring some sturdy bags for hauling your treasures home!
Flanked by handsome Tudor and Georgian buildings, Ludlow market takes place in one of the most photogenic market squares in the country. From fresh produce to upcycled furniture, this traditional open-air market has been abuzz with stallholders flogging their wares for over 900 years. As well as a regular market four days a week, you can peruse vendors selling previously-owned goods to beady-eyed buyers. on two Sundays every month.
• Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for the general market
• Every second and fourth Thursday of the month for the Local to Ludlow produce market
• Every first and third Sunday of the month for the antique and flea market
Lauded as the largest open-air market in England, Norwich Market is famous for its 200 stalls sheltered by colourful stripy awnings (you definitely won’t miss it). A one-stop shop for clothes, toys, jewellery and more, the market also stocks local items including regional cheeses at The Cheese man and independent beers at Sir Toby’s. Don’t leave without buying ethical, zero-waste toiletries from water + earth and fuelling up on Japanese-inspired bao and dumplings from Bun Box.
• Monday to Saturday on Gentleman’s WalkFind more markets in Norwich
South East London
If you’re in the market (get it?) for high-quality yet affordable vintage furniture, lighting, ceramics, poster, prints and more, head to So Last Century, which hold popular vintage fairs in south London between 10 and 12 times a year. Setting up shop across venues in Beckenham, Catford, Peckham and New Cross, you’ll find up to 50 hand-picked dealers in one space.
• Selected Saturdays and Sundays throughout the yearFind more of the best markets in London
Malton, North Yorkshire
Located in Yorkshire’s foodie capital, Malton’s monthly food market is the most renowned in the region. Set against the backdrop of St Michael’s Church, this Saturday market is home to specialist food stalls selling mouth-watering delights from local cheeses to freshly baked loaves. Malton’s Traditional Saturday Market simultaneously takes place in the central market square and sells everything from handmade gifts to bargain fashion staples and, of course, plenty of food too.
• Every second Saturday of the month for the dedicated food market
• Every Saturday for Malton’s Traditional Saturday Market
Visit Britain’s highest market town (at 315 metres above sea level) for its famous weekly market. Between 9 am and 4 pm every Tuesday and Saturday, Buxton sees artisan sellers congregate to trade clothes, homeware, food and more. Specialist markets also take place throughout the year including the Food & Drink Special Market and the highly anticipated Christmas Market each December.
• Tuesdays and Saturdays for the general market
• Every third Saturday of the month for Food & Drink Special Market
• Christmas Market in early December
If you’re an antique collector or fancy furnishing your flat with vintage finds, flock to Kempton Park Racecourse in Sunbury-on-Thames on the outskirts of southwest London for a flea market like no other. Over 700 stalls are sprawled across three indoor halls and out into the car park, where dealers barter out of their car boots. All you have to do is put your haggling hat on to secure a bargain on furniture, silverware, ceramics, paintings, books and much more.
• Every second and last Tuesday of the monthFind more markets in Surrey
Inside a beautiful Georgian arcade in Bristol’s old town, you’ll find St Nicholas Market (known locally as St Nicks), a mix of independent stalls, cosy shops and hearty food outlets. Every Wednesday, St Nicks is joined by a farmers’ market selling pastoral delights from the West Country and Saturdays see the Bristol Indies’ Market take centre stage. Formerly known as the Nails Market, this arts, crafts and antique fair has bits and bobs spread across rickety tables, from handmade pottery to delicately designed rings.
• Monday to Saturday for St Nicholas Indoor Market
• Wednesdays for Bristol Farmers’ and Producers’ Market
• Fridays and Saturdays for Bristol Indies’ Market
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Dating back to 630AD, the market in Bury St Edmunds is an integral part of this East Anglian town. Twice a week, between 60 and 80 stalls open up on Butter Market and the Corn Exchange selling everything from Portuguese pottery to colourful blooms alongside local seasonal produce, specialist products like gluten-free cakes and tasty street food. For indie East Anglian brands, look out for upcoming dates for the WAVY Market, where a bounty of local makers and artists sell their creations inside The Centre, St Johns Street.
• Wednesdays and Saturdays for the general market
• Selected dates throughout the year for WAVY Market
Find more markets in Suffolk
Set beneath its industrial iron cover in London Bridge, Borough Market (said to be one of London’s oldest food markets, dating back to the 11th century) lures in gastronomes with its array of independent stalls selling artisan bread, high-quality meats, luxury olive oils, indulgent desserts and freshly caught seafood. Hungry lunchtime visitors will also enjoy plenty of authentic street food vendors cooking pans of paella, batches of empanadas and crispy falafel wraps.
• Monday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 8am-5pm and Sunday 10-3am – with a fuller selection of stalls from Thursday to Saturday
• Wholesalers’ market begins weekdays at 2am
Notting Hill, London
Immortalised by Richard Curtis’ Notting Hill, west London’s Portobello Road Market is said to be the world’s largest and most famous antique market. Every week, over 1,000 traders set up stalls along a half-a-mile stretch of Portobello Road to sell every kind of collectable imaginable. Take in the sights and talented street performers before trying your hand at haggling for antique trinkets, Victorian regalia and second-hand fashion.
• Monday to Saturday, Friday and Saturday being the busiest daysFind more antiques markets in London
Explore a patchwork of intimate restaurants, boutique shops and artisan food traders at Oxford’s Covered Market, a historic indoor bazaar for independent businesses, some of which go back generations. Open daily, you can uncover the very best in local crafts, food and drink, including handmade soaps from Oxford Soap Company, glittering gems at John Gowing Jewellers and home-brewed libations at nano-pub, Teardrop Bar.
If you fancy learning more about this former food market, download The Un-Covered Market immersive audio tour. Made up of a mixture of sound recordings, poetry and history, the tour will lead you around the market and show you hidden corners and details you may have overlooked.
• Monday to Saturday 8am-5.30pm and Sundays 10am-4pmFind more shopping in Oxfordshire
Leeds, West Yorkshire
Bag everything from Scotch Bonnet chillies to fresh razor clams at Kirkgate Market. A shopper’s paradise inside an ornamental Edwardian market hall, this (almost) daily market is a multicultural mix of over 600 colourful characters offering the likes of flowers, jewellery, haberdashery and exotic veg. Don’t miss the world’s very first Marks and Spencer too, which opened here back in 1884. An Asian Bazaar takes place every Wednesday morning where you’ll find exotic spices and silk saris, and a farmers’ market is held twice a month.
• Monday to Saturday 8am-5.30pm
• Wednesday morning for the Asian Bazaar
• First and third Sunday of the month for the farmers’ market
Newcastle, Tyne and Wear
Stretching from Swing Bridge to Millennium Bridge, The Quayside Sunday Market is a flourishing street market that caters to foodies, fashionistas, browsers and buyers. Independent traders from all over the region bartered their goods here since 1736 and nowadays you’ll find handcrafted Geordie products and artworks, street artists and buskers alongside cakes, sweet treats and tempting street foods.
• Sundays 9am-4pmFind more markets in Newcastle
From hand-carved sculptures to pre-loved furniture, gardenalia to kitchenalia, you never know what you might find at the Bath Vintage & Antiques Market. Held under the vaulted glass roof of the historic Green Park Station – which also hosts other markets throughout the week – this indie market is the place to go for sustainable, second-hand shopping.
• Last Sunday of the month for Bath Vintage & Antiques Market
• Monday to Saturday for general markets
Totnes has been home to bustling weekly markets for hundreds of years. A gem of a shopping experience, Totnes Town Market is full of friendly traders, colourful sights and an array of ethical and Fairtrade items like local honey and homemade gifts. If you’re in town on a Sunday, stop for lunch at Totnes Sunday Food Market, or visit on a Tuesday to see vendors dressed in full Elizabethan period costume.
• Every Friday and Saturday for the general market
• Every third Sunday of the month for Totnes Sunday Food Market
• Every Tuesday morning (between May and September) for Elizabethan Market
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