London is a magical city, composed of unique and historical neighborhoods, each with their own vibe and culture. My favorite way to get to know any new city is through food and through people and my favorite way to get to know London was through it’s markets. There are a multitude of markets scattered around the city center, even lovely ones in Greenwich. The best memories I have of relaxing weekends in London are those of wandering around markets with my new friends.
Brick Lane Market: Head down to Brick Lane on a Sunday for amazing food and lovely vintage and handmade treasures. Brick Lane Market has countless booths of vendors selling delicious treats like Thai curry, tacos, Indian food, and any dessert you can imagine (find the booth with cookie dough cheesecake, it’s incredible). After filling your tummies, wander outside along the lane and start hunting for vintage treasures. Vendors set up booths right along the street, selling clothes, jewelry, and other trinkets. If it’s too cold to be outside, there are plenty of shops worth stopping into to, like BLITZ or Beyond Retro for vintage finds, Rough Trade to add to your record collection, Tatty Devine for unique jewelry, or Cereal Killer Cafe if you need a breakfast treat. Walking around this area of East London is a great way to experience the city and get to know the people in the neighborhood. London is an international city, and this neighborhood demonstrates that in an exciting and exceptional way.
Borough Market: If you didn’t get enough to eat at the food market in Brick Lane, head south to Borough Market. Nestled right along the Thames, all of your culinary dreams will come true from burgers and baklava to fresh fruit and veg and spices. Grab a friend, or go on a solo adventure, and spend the day eating delicious treats and savory delights, and then take a walk along the Thames even if you’re too full to move. This is one of my very favorite food markets, and a wonderful place to take your family if they come to visit.
Camden Market: Camden is a classic and culturally rich neighborhood, famous for its eclectic nature. And it’s definitely a market not to miss! Like Brick Lane, it’s full of amazing food, incredible, unique shops with cool treasures but it’s much, much bigger with more to look see. Set aside an entire day to explore the market, because I can guarantee you will want to spend the day there (I did!). Make a budget for yourself, but bring enough cash because you might find the perfect pair of shoes or a great piece of jewelry that you can’t pass up. Or you might want to try Indian food and save room for dessert. Camden is a wonderful place for people watching and experiencing London at it’s weirdest. If you’re on a strict budget, bring just enough cash for lunch and spend your time “window shopping”.
Studying abroad is an amazing and singular experience, and one that encourages getting out of your comfort zone in order to learn about the world around you. Visiting markets in London is so much fun and distinctively London. It’s a great way to spend a weekend and immerse yourself in the relaxed vibe that the bustling city still seems to have at its core.
Missouri State University
As a senior at Missouri State University in the Fashion Design Program I studied abroad with SAI in London at the London College of Fashion and had a life-changing experience. SAI gave me the opportunity to study at one of the top fashion schools in the world while also offering freedom and experiences to learn about another culture and, just as importantly, myself.