Columbia Road Flower Market, London Guide
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From the dazzling tapestry of rainbow-hued greenery to the aroma of freshly cut flowers in the air — flower markets in London are the adult equivalent of a kid in a candy store.
Columbia Road is known to provide a slice of floral-filled heaven on Sundays that will make any budding botanist burst with excitement.
An electrifying buzz encapsulates the market, from bumbling bees and busybodies, a visit here on a Sunday will definitely be one for the books.
Whether you’re drawn by the buckets of blooming bouquets or looking to expand your cacti family at home, the Columbia Road Flower Market is the place to be.
Ready to delve into the wonderful world of flower fever at this East London event? We’ll guide you through the tangled vines of this market to unearth the top stalls and sites worth seeing at this blossoming display and weed out the misses.
FAQ – Columbia Road Market Opening Times & More
While exploring the magical buds of Columbia Road Flower Market is a wonderful way to spend your time, a few unanswered questions surrounding this event might make your experience a little less enjoyable.
Here are some answers to general queries that you should know before you embark on this joyous journey through the Columbia Road Market with confidence:
Where Is It Situated?
Specific Location: Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, United Kingdom.
Located in the East End close to Spitalfields, this charming road is peppered with Victorian-styled shop fronts and is one of the most famous streets in London.
This flower market is situated near an abundance of quaint shops and eateries, so you’re in for a treat.
What Are the Trading Hours & Best Time to Go To Columbia Road Market?
This spectacular event takes place on Sundays from 08:00 to 14:00, whether it’s a sun-drenched day or a chilly teeth-clattering winters morning. Come rain or shine; the Columbia Road Flower Market will ensure it feels like spring each visit.
Due to the popularity of this market, this space can get quite busy if you go at the wrong time. Try to go early (before 10:00) or near closing to avoid the swarm of locals and tourists. The perk of going later is that stalls tend to implement massive discounts to reduce their stock before closing.
What is the History Behind Columbia Road?
In 1869, Angela Burdett-Coutts, a British philanthropist started a tradition that became the cornerstone of London’s retail history. She set out to start a food market with various stalls that quickly became popular.
Unfortunately, the building where the market was located was demolished in the 1950s, however, the market was revived. It is now held on Saturdays and Sundays and specialises in flower sales.
What Can I Expect?
With traders getting up at the crack of dawn to set up vibrant and colourful displays of their prized plants and flowers, you can be sure its beauty will dumbfound you. This market has something for every kind of green thumb, from sprouting seedlings to sunflowers in full bloom.
Once you enter the vicinity, you’ll be met with the bolstering sound of activity, which ranges from traders belting their best prices to the joyful laughter of an enjoyable day. While it might be overwhelming, you’ll quickly learn the ebbs and flows of this market and haggle with the best of them.
Many of the traders at Columbia Road have been setting up shop each Sunday for decades, often resulting in a family-run stall passed down from generations. An example of these historic institutions is the Saffron Flowers stall run by Dennis, who happens to have been around this market since 1973.
The flowers at this market in London can generally be dependent on what the given season has to offer. In spring, you can expect an abundance of pastel hues sprinkled on the market’s plains, such as peonies.
You can expect a floral fiesta of leafy splendours ready to take on the cold weather with gusto during the winter months. From the snow-like foliage of Geranium Argenteum ‘Album’ to the enchanting appearance of a Christmas rose, the winter stock is a kaleidoscope of greenery to discover.
While many believe this space is a chlorophyll-filled cornucopia of well-priced plants, this market also has an abundance of other items for sale at various stalls. This includes everything from amazing antiques to intriguing Buddist artefacts.
Are There Any Things to Do Nearby?
Columbia Road Flower Market is an exceptional excursion, which can be enjoyed till the afternoon. If you’re still craving some adventure after browsing at this flower market, London has a variety of nearby attractions to help you fill your wanderlust craving. These include:
- Hackney City Farm – Located in the lively neighbourhood of Hackney, this nearby farm is the perfect break from the large crowds of the market. This educational space is a great way to learn about farm animal handling techniques while petting some feathered and fluffy critters.
- Japanese cooking classes – This short excursion into the flavourful world of Asian cuisine is a gastronomic adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime. These classes take place at Atsuko’s Kitchen, a stone throw away from the market.
- Exotic East End Food Tour –What better way to spend a sunny Sunday than exploring its broad tapestry of markets? This tasty food tour starts at Shoreditch High Street and takes patrons on a journey of London’s best Sunday nibbles.
- Urban Food Fest – While this delicious event does not take place on Sundays, this foodie paradise is a must-do activity if you’re staying in the area. Open on Fridays and Saturdays; you’ll have an abundance of options to sample the melting pot of cuisines available in London. This fest will have you rolling home afterwards, from botanical cocktails to finely-crafted street food.
Columbia Road Market Surrounds – Best Shops & Eateries
Steeped in an old-timey Victorian charm, Columbia Road in London will have you believe you’ve travelled back in time to an era of romance and whimsy.
With farm-fresh florals and stall owners equipped with friendly dispositions and a bounty of gardening knowledge, this sublime space is the place to be.
Take a look at the hot spots around Columbia Road and flower market to incorporate them into your Sunday morning itinerary:
This otherworldly store has a wide range of unique driftwood sculptures to transform your house into a love letter of nature’s wonders. You’ll walk around these displayed recovered wood creations in awe as it ranges from intricately shaped giants to miniature detailed marvels.
This establishment works with pieces that have been exposed to natural decaying processes, which is a testament to what the earth creates and forms.
No two pieces are alike, which allows you to have a one-of-a-kind piece that will be sure to be the staple piece of any room.
The Royal Oak
A vibey gastropub located in the middle of Columbia Road transforms into a lovely courtyard cafe every Sunday to entice the market crowds. A mere minute walk away from the market; you’ll have the perfect place to rest your feet after a day filled with botanic browsing.
With a pint-laden bar downstairs and a lovely Sunday roast available in the upstairs area, this red-bricked establishment has it all.
From hearty burgers to the quintessential London experience of battered fish and chips, The Royal Oak provides a slice of British life at its finest.
If you’re looking to upgrade your living space with some fantastic crockery and utensils, this establishment is a must visit. This canary blue-hued space specialises in sustainable and contemporary pieces handcrafted in Southeast Asia.
These products will have you spoiled for choice, from pasta bowls for your next dinner party to stoneware coffee mugs to enjoy a hot beverage with a good book. Make sure you’re ready to spend a penny or two as this store is nearly impossible to leave empty-handed.
JD Succulents & Cacti Ltd
This mother and daughter duo is a fan-favourite of the Columbia Road Market and provides a beautiful selection of hassle-free living organisms to take home. From palm-sized succulents to flowering cacti, you’ll have a blast searching through these peculiar plants to find your perfect fit.
While this stall is relatively small in contrast to the other stalls, this space has some unusual specimens that will be sure to brighten up any living space. With a new plant baby that is nearly impossible to kill, you’ll transition into plant parenthood with ease with these spiky sprouts.
A.E Harnett & Sons
With a history spanning a century, this gang of growers knows a thing or two when it comes to providing exceptional greenery. A 4th generation establishment based in Essex, A.E Harnett & Sons showcases their botanic beauties at various available markets.
With a wonderful set of plant-filled knowledge at their disposal, you’ll not only have a chance to buy a thriving plant but also have the proper expert advice on how to care for it. From trimmed shrubbery to picturesque pansies, you’ll find the growing green companion of your dreams.
If you didn’t get a chance to visit these growers at this flower market in London, this establishment offers an online shopping option on their website for your convenience.
Columbia Road Flower Market in London – Top Tips
Due to only being open on Sundays, the Columbia Road Flower Market can be a bulb-filled battlefield, which you don’t want to tackle unprepared.
From prodding elbows to swarms of tourists looking for the perfect Instagrammable spot, you’re in for a hectic time.
No need to get your pepper spray out and say your prayers just yet, as specific tips and tricks can lead you to victory. Some things to remember are:
Money is King
While many stalls have adjusted to modern payment methods, such as card machines, some establishments might only accept cash. Be sure to stuff a few pounds in your wallet before you make your way to this London flower market.
Ask Permission Before Taking Pictures
As one of the most popular markets in East London, you’re bound to see a sea of selfie sticks and flashes of cameras. While it might be tempting to take your daily Instagram story to make your followers green with envy, you should ask before you snap.
These stalls are often fertilised with the blood, sweat, and tears of an individuals’ passion, so a quick go-ahead before taking one’s picture is always common courtesy.
Learn to Haggle
This market is no space for the faint-hearted, as the bustle is also a hot spot rife with the bolstering method of bargaining. While this might be daunting practice, you need to remember that these stalls are exposed to all types of hagglers and hustlers.
You’ll quickly get into the rhythm, and you might get a pound or two sliced off the printed cost. This is the perfect place for penny pinchers to revel in the treasure trove of hunting for the best price tag.
Remember to Take a Break
While it might be tempting to plunge headfirst into the busy atmosphere, this market can become a bit overwhelming at its core hours. Luckily, Columbia Road has several side adventures to complete.
From freshly baked morning pastries to trendy boutiques, you’ll always have places to explore in this busy street if you need a break from the vast vegetation.
Get Ready to Queue
The Columbia Road Flower Market has in the past allowed its visitors to merely arrive at this busy space and dive into its captivating crevasses, but this has recently changed. Now, patrons can expect to stand in line before entering the premises.
This allows for a lessened packed sardines in a tin can feel, which will ultimately give you a better and carefree experience. The waiting times are usually shown to queueing individuals.
Final Thoughts on London’s Columbia Flower Market
A Garden of Eden space filled with entranced visitors and a sugary sweet scent embedded within its essence, Columbia Road’s Flower Market is an experience like no other.
While it can be a pleasant adventure or simply strolling through the various stalls, you’ll be sure to leave this market with a pot plant or two.
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