Everyone should visit Columbia Road Flower Market at least once in their lives as it’s such a fun, vibrant place. The one drawback is that it does get extremely busy, so much so that nobody can move down the tiny width of the street and this is what stops me from going more often!
Columbia Road is in Hackney, the very depths of the East End of London, sitting right on the edge of the city in walking distance of Liverpool Street Station, with Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Spitalfields nearby. There are loads of little independent shops that line the street and these are only open on Sundays. I often walk down here during the week and it’s like a ghost town, with absolutely nothing open apart from one fabric shop that I really like. On Sundays, the market is open early, from 6am when the stallholders put out, until 3-4 ‘ish, whether it’s raining, windy or blazing sunshine and even on Easter Sunday.
The Market has everything from boxes of normal bedding plants to more exotic specimens such as 10 foot banana trees and bird of paradise flowers. Most of the stallholders and flower sellers grow their own plants at their own nurseries from miles around and they also import flowers from the main growers in the Netherlands.
The gorgeous little shops are mainly composed of around sixty fully independent shops, shops that you won’t see anywhere else. There are small art galleries sitting next to little artisan bakery shops, vintage clothes stores, delis, garden paraphernalia shops and antique shops. There is also a good choice of great pubs, cafes and restaurants.