As spring takes hold in East London, we explore the wonderful farmers and food markets the area has to offer.
You don’t have to live in the country to access the best of British produce. Even in the urban borough of Tower Hamlets, we can find a fantastic array of cheese-makers, fishmongers, bakers and growers. With so many great food markets in walking distance, get outdoors and pick up some of the freshest, best quality produce London has to offer… then scoff it down on the way home.
If you have better self-restraint and a good trolley or backpack, these are great spots to pick up fresh fruit, veg and bread to cook with the following week. Whether you’re after the cream of the crop, or potatoes in bulk, we’ve rounded up the best markets with prices for every purse.
If it’s flowers, clothes or homeware you’re after, you can find out more about Poplar’s Chrisp Street Market, Watney Market and the picture-perfect Columbia Road Flower Market here.
If you’re looking to splash out on organic, local produce, Victoria Park Market is the place to be. Pop down on Sundays 10am to 5pm to explore foodie heaven.
To find the market, head to the Nightwalk (yes, that’s the name for the lovely wide boulevard cutting north-east from Sewardstone Road to Gore Road). There you can pick up a mouth-watering array of hot food until 5pm, but be quick about your fruit and veg because those stands shut up shop at 4pm.
Weaving your way through the stalls you’ll find everything from fresh fish to raw honey and vegan cheese.
Fancy a fresh tomato salad? Try the Tomato Stall, which offers perfectly-ripe, infinitely-Instagrammable tomatoes in rich greens, oranges and reds.
Maybe you’re looking for freshly-baked focaccia? Look no further than Breadwinners, who use artisanal bread as a means to support refugees into work.
The landscape’s changed a bit since lockdown 3.0, so now’s a great time to explore what the new stalls have to offer.
Find Victoria Market every Sunday 10am-5pm.
Unlike other East London markets, Whitechapel has so far resisted gentrification. You won’t find many hipster coffee vans here. Instead expect a vibrant community market where fresh produce is piled high beneath striped tarpaulin canopies.
Serving a large British-Bengali community, this is the place for fresh produce like naga morich, bangla kodu and green papaya. You’ll be able to pick up delicious spices, too, and a broad range of meat and fish.
And if you’re on a budget, Whitechapel is a great place to sniff out a deal. Many stalls offer bowls of fruit and veg for a pound. Passionfruit, pineapples and avocados can be found for a song, and if you’re a haggler you’ll often come away with even more than you bargained for.
We love Whitechapel, not least because it does its bit for the environment: in 2008, it became the first market in the UK to recycle all its waste.
Find Whitechapel Market Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm.
Globe Town Market
Globe Town Market (known to some as Roman Road Square Market) sits at the Bethnal Green end of Roman Road. Situated on the area’s largest public square between Morpeth Street and Usk Street, it’s home to some of the neighbourhood’s favourite places for fresh vegetables, fish, and flowers.
As well as the household staples, there are plenty of treats to be found. Pick up a pot plant at Martin Fuller’s plant stall for a fraction of the usual cost to fill your home with foliage. Specialising in matcha baked goods, Saint Sugar of London offers a healthy spin on all your classic treats, joining the market every Saturday.
Find Globe Town Market on Mondays to Saturdays from 8am ’till 2pm.
Barge East Market
Having only opened in 2018, Barge East has proved hugely popular with locals. It isn’t difficult to guess why: the setting is beautiful, the location accessible, the food nothing short of top-notch. Showcasing the finest produce that Britain has to offer, this year they’ve upped their game with a small but perfectly formed food market.
Make sure to say hello to the cheese-mongers at Eager to Cheese, who specialise in British cheeses from Lincoln to Bath. You won’t find any of these fares in the supermarkets.
Situated just off the canal path, Barge East Restaurant has a herb garden, sheltered seating and a coffee van. It’s a lovely option for a day out.
Find the fresh produce market at Barge East every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm.
Walking along Regents Canal to Broadway Market makes for a fine outing on sunny Saturdays. Hackney’s finest, the Market boasts a long history going back to the Victorian era. Open from 8am to 5pm, it’s still one of London’s best-loved markets today, and no wonder: you can find anything and everything there if you’re willing to look.
With roughly 135 stalls, Broadway Market is great for food lovers and vintage clothes junkies alike. You’ll find hand-carved wooden vases side-by-side with fishmongers and curry stands.
As far as fresh produce goes, it changes with the seasons and fresh asparagus kicks things off in early spring. Try L’eau à la Bouche for the first crop of asparagus as well as everything you can possibly imagine for your French gastronomy needs.
Plunging among the stalls, Ted’s Veg, Wild Country Organics and Chegworth Valley also offer a range of excellent seasonal produce. As late May becomes June, you can expect to see bumper crops of strawberries popping up around the market too.
Find Broadway Market every Saturday 8am-5pm.
If you liked this piece, you might enjoy our Insider’s Guide to East London Markets.
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