A far cry from your traditional East End street market, Victoria Park’s bustling Sunday food market draws customers from afar and is well worth the trip.
One of the East End’s best-known offerings has got to be our wide variety of street markets. From the traditional kind found on Roman Road and Petticoat Lane to Hackney’s swankier additions, there’s something about market stall trading that just makes sense in East London.
And if you’re partial to the open-air shopping experience and live in the area, there’s a high chance you will have visited Victoria Park’s bountiful food market that has been running for the last six years and remained open throughout the pandemic.
Every Sunday morning, more than 60 traders descend upon Victoria Park, setting up shop along the wide, smooth pathways, hoping the sunshine will draw customers out in droves.
The market was originally a simple produce market held on the pedestrianised street known as the Nightwalk, which runs between Bonner Gate and Gore Gate.
If you’re entering the park through Bonner Gate, be sure to look out for the proud Dogs of Alcibiades statues that have been standing guard over the entrance since 1912.
The lively colonnade of stalls on the Nightwalk still comprises the heart of the market selling all your countryside market staples.
With fresh produce, baked goods, fish, cheese and wines, it’s a great place to buy a show stopper for your Sunday lunch, or a bottle of something fancy to gift to your next dinner party host.
Seeing as the park is such a special spot for East London’s canine population, it seems only right that the market features a dog delicatessen selling all the best doggy treats and chews that you won’t find in your local supermarket.
The hot food is a more recent addition to the market, with vendors now stretching almost all the way around the path that connects either end of the Nightwalk.
The extensive selection of global street food will leave you spoilt for choice, and with almost every costing £8 or more, you don’t want to make a rash decision that you might regret.
From Indonesian coconut curries to mac n’ cheese and comforting crepes, the hot food available rivals nearby Broadway market, and can be enjoyed in the leafy surroundings of the park.
Unlike council-run markets that charge a set fee, Victoria Park Market is run by the Good Market Company which takes 15% of stallholders’ commission.
With spaces at the market in such high demand, priority is given to traders who live in Tower Hamlets as well as social enterprises.
On a hot summer’s day, over 10,000 people have been known to visit the market, so you have to come prepared to wait in line at the most popular stalls.
And if the hustle and bustle becomes too much, there are plenty of quiet places to find refuge in the park. If you don’t mind a walk all the way to the East End of the park, you will find two stone alcoves that are older than Vicky Park itself.
Original features of the old London Bridge that was erected in the 1760s, the alcoves were donated to Victoria Park in 1860 after the bridge was demolished. Though weather-worn and sprinkled with moss, the alcoves still hold a sense of quiet grandeur and make for a nice spot to unwind on a Sunday.
Victoria Park Market is open every Sunday from 10 – 4 pm. The nearest postcode for the market is E2 9JW.
For more green spaces to visit in our area, find our list of the best parks and quieter spots around Bow.
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