There’s so much more to London than Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Pippa Middleton. The numerous antique and vintage markets that sprawl across the city have made London a design aficionado’s hunting ground for fabulous vintage and antique finds. From Portobello to Brick Lane, Simplifying Fabulous! contributor Brittny Drye shares her rounds-up of London’s best antique markets:
Set in the charming neighborhood of Notting Hill in the shadow of the iconically colorful Mews houses is Portobello Market, where antique dealers display their wares along the narrow street. For the largest selection of wares, hit the market on Saturdays, the most popular–and most crowded–day for Portobello. For antique aficionados who don’t want to combat the cluster, weekdays still provide about 90 vendors. For a sugary shopping pick-me-up, pop into Hummingbird Bakery for a tryst with their delicious frosted confections.
Portobello Road, W11 1LU; Antique section runs between Chepstow Villas and Elgin Crescent
Located in the East End neighborhood of London is Spitalfields Market, which beckons buyers daily into its marketplace, a recently renovated building out-skirted with contemporary art and light installations. Thursdays are prime antique-hunting days, when you’ll find a wide range of idiosyncratic knickknacks, large vintage furniture pieces, and wonderfully worn luggage and trunks.
Brushfield Street, London, United Kingdom E1 6DT
The modernization of Spitalfield’s sent shoppers who yearned for the market’s yesteryear straight into the streets of the Brick Lane Market, where Eastern food meets East End style. First known for it’s curry houses, the area’s marketplace is quickly becoming a mecca for retro finds every Sunday. Seek out The Tea Rooms, a cavernous space beneath 93 Feet East that houses reasonably priced antiques and ceramics. Don’t leave without perusing the carpet stall, located just off of Brick Lane on Bacon Street, where you can find well-made carpets and rugs at budget prices. Finish your trip off at Goodnight Vienna, a stall selling Ercol tables and chairs in near-perfect condition.
Brick Lane, E1 6PU
Dubbed as London’s largest indoor market, Alfie’s Antique Market is a go-to for famed local designers such as Nina Campbell, Jasper Conran and Tom Dixon. The market is a great source for big-ticket items such as Murano glass chandeliers, retro Cassina nesting tables, and other top-notch vintage items.
13-25 Church Street, Marylebone London, NW8 8DT
Spend an afternoon rummaging through the moderately-priced silver-plated flatware, antique maps, and prints found in the stores and vendors tucked along Camden Passage, a quaint cobblestone alley in London’s Angel neighborhood. Uproot treasures ranging from one-of-a-kind finds to vintage mass-produced gems. If you’re lucky, you’ll also find fabulous design-y souvenirs such as antique tea sets and furniture adorned with the Union Jack. Hit the streets early and enjoy brunch at the Breakfast Club (31 Camden Passage), a sunny yellow stop that boasts delicious breakfast foods with an American spin.
Camden Passage, off Upper Street, N1 5ED
It’s well worth pushing your way through Camden Market‘s obstacle course of hagglers selling kitschy tourist bric-a-brac, to make it to The Stables, a converted horse hospital where dealers sell their antique and vintage wares out of wooden stalls. Open daily, it’s a great spot to find vintage threads; It’s the weekends that attract antique dealers and shoppers! For a mid-shopping break, head to the charming cafe in the back of the downstairs area for a traditional tea for two.
Chalk Farm Road, (opposite junction with Hartland Road), London, NW1 8AH
> All images courtesy of Brittny Drye