Columbia Road is in the East End, off Hackney Road, with Shoreditch to the west and Brick Lane and Spitalfields in spitting distance. The area began life as a pathway along which sheep were driven to the slaughterhouses at Smithfield. It transformed into London’s prettiest outdoor market during the Victorian era, ca. 1869.
These days the market open on Sundays from 8am to 3pm(ish) rain or shine. The flower/plan hawkers and their blooms are worth a gander. Behind them are 60 independent shops which are also only open on Sundays. Must-visits for parents: Bob and Blossom, a kids store with retro toys and an in-house kids clothing line. And Jones’ Dairy, for good, organic British fare. Cover your kids eyes: when you pass Suck and Chew candy shop.
Tower Hamlets, E2 7RG, www.columbiaroad.info
Read the full Small Folk Travel London Guide.
Image: Katrin Gilger