I have always felt London one of those cities that should be experienced, before you visit. And to truly experience London, one cannot exempt oneself from his own very famous markets, one of the attractions that cannot be missed in planning a visit to the city. However, the market I would like to tell you about here is not one of the classic and famous markets we usually talk about, but a particular one, loved by Londoners and still unknown to most tourists, where it is still possible to experience an authentic London atmosphere. : I'm talking about the Flower Market di Columbia Road, in the East End of the city.
Columbia Road Market, as its name suggests, is a plant and flower market, which takes place every Sunday morning on this pretty Victorian shopping street that was once a simple path used to bring sheep to the Smithfield slaughterhouse. .
The story of its origin is truly fascinating.
The very first market in this area was a covered market of around 400 stalls selling food, not flowers. Its name was then "Columbia market" and it was built here in 1869 thanks to the will of the philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts, who wanted it for a very specific reason: to try to re-evaluate an area that had deteriorated due to various problems.
In fact, the area originally housed a quarry for the production of bricks which, once exhausted, was used by a group called the “Resurrection men” for their illegal trafficking. These robbers in fact took care of "stealing" the bodies of people just buried to resell them to the anatomists. When they were arrested and hanged, the philanthropist bought the place and created the very first market.
Since then, despite a thousand ups and downs, the market has managed to survive until today acquiring a reputation that is now internationally renowned.
And thank goodness I would add, since it is really very pretty.
Take a sunny morning to visit it and you really won't regret it.
Along the way, two rows of stalls are set up full of brightly colored plants and flowers. Florists have handed down the secrets of growing the plants and flowers they sell from father to son for generations: the variety of flowers is remarkable and the prices competitive.
The market opens on Sunday morning at eight, but as you can imagine the sellers are here busy setting up their stalls even before the first light of the morning: "Everything for a fiver!" , "Three for a fiver!", "Look at these beauties, only four for a fiver!" is their cry as potential customers pass by. Once tired, you can sit at a table in a restaurant and enjoy the time you have given yourself and your purchases.
In addition, the beauty of this market is enhanced by the colorful and graceful Victorian houses around which, among other things, are now a rarity, namely about sixty independent shops (i.e. not linked to any of the large commercial chains): "vintage" clothing stores, sweets shops, small art, antiques, food galleries, pubs, cafes and restaurants, items related to gardening, candles, soaps and much else.
How to get to the Columbia Road flower Market
By bus via HACKNEY Road, Numbers 26,48,55 N26, N55.
get off at BINGO HALL and go down RAVENSCROFTSTREET for about 5 minutes
Meter. The nearest station is OLD STREET, turn left out and walk along OLD Street and then into HACKNEY Road. 200 meters later turn right onto Columbia Road