From food to antiques, North London boasts a multitude of markets to while away many an hour. Mark Kebble picks out seven of the best
1 Old Spitalfields Market
In 1893 Old Spitalfields was transformed into one of the finest markets in England. It quickly became a mecca for artists, fashion designers and creative start-ups all selling their wares and, today, is a Grade II-listed piece of London history and a resounding commercial success. The market now trades seven days a week, attracting over 20,000 people on a Sunday who come for the food, fashion and fun atmosphere.
2 Archway Market
From one of the biggest markets going to the smallest. At Archway Market you’ll find a friendly crowd, including Ted’s Veg; O Toma O Marte and their spectacular display of seasonal artisan cheeses; Montadito’s chorizo; The Celtic Bakery and its organic artisan breads; and, perhaps best of all given the humongous queues, Neriman’s Hog Roast, free range hog marinated in rosemary and fennel, slow cooked for nine hours and served with rocket and a choice of home-made apple sauce or chilli sauce. All for £4 too. Located just 500 yards from Archway Tube station, the market is open Saturday 10am-5pm and Thursdays 12-6pm (the latter a mini market, with no food for sale).
3 Camden Passage
It has been some time since Camden Passage was known primarily for its antique traders. They are still very much a part of the area, but ever since Islington Farmers’ Market first launched in 1999, the area now offers a diverse range of traders. The Islington Farmers’ Market has since moved on (more of that later), but Camden Passage continues to thrive with four market sites: from the north end there is a market opposite the Camden Head pub, the next runs along the north end of Camden Passage outside Colindale, the third is on the corner of Charlton Place, and the fourth is in front of Pierrepont Arcade, which is an extension of the markets with 14 small specialist shops. Market days are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, with a book market every Thursday. The vibe is lively and welcoming, and you will find just about every type of collectable goods.
Head out of Angel Tube and turn right and walk for five minutes to find a mass of antique dealers, interior designers, and vintage clothing. The market is open Wednesday and Saturday, with a special Sunday Food & Craft Market now open.
4 Chapel Market
In April 2010 Islington Farmers’ Market moved to its new home at Chapel Market. As local residents know, Chapel Market has for many years been filled with quirky stalls offering a real bargain, so the addition of a farmers’ market on a Sunday always sounded appetizing. As well as the farmers’ market every Sunday, the general market – located between Liverpool Road and Penton Street – sells all types of goods and foods, from fruit and veg, to travel goods and jewellery. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9am-6pm, and Sunday 8.30am-4pm.
5 Exmouth Market
Just two minutes walk from Sadler’s Wells, Exmouth Market has that villagey feel with a burgeoning fashion and lifestyle scene. Their market runs weekly, Monday-Saturday from 9am-6pm, when street vendors are out. ‘On sunny days the street food market has a real buzz with so much choice of an excellent quality,’ says Samantha Clark, who owns Exmouth Market’s tapas restaurant Moro, and who’s own stall is open Monday through to Friday, with a daily changing menu.
6 The Cally Market
This features a variety of fresh produce and original designs. The core is about quality food, but on certain weeks you will be able to discover hand-made items, amazing arts & crafts, vintage clothes and original paintings. There are also charming independent shops and cafes along with the stalls. It’s located along the Caledonian Road and open 9am-5pm every Saturday.
7 Nags Head Indoor Market
Judging by a typical English summer, this indoor market set in an old-style market hall is a godsend and throws up a host of bargains and vintage buys. You’ll find electrical goods, fruit and vegetables, records and more. On Sundays and Wednesdays, there are second-hand dealers selling bargain shoes, clothes and so on. Open Monday to Saturday, 8am-5pm, and Sundays 7am-2pm.