Travel diaries: The Columbia Road Flower Market

The Columbia Road Flower Market that takes place in East London every Sunday has to be my favourite thing about living here.  Once a week these quiet unassuming few blocks become the most magical place in town.  More than simply a flower market, it's an entire community of adorable little stores, market stalls, food vendors, charming little hidden coffee shops and ice-cream windows, vintage sellers and street-buskers who come together on Sunday mornings to greet the crowds of thousands that pour onto the tiny stretch of Columbia Road.  Yes, there are a lot of tourists, but they're outnumbered by pairs of young couples (like us!) stocking up on plants for their flats, and by local hackney-dwellers on their bikes with baskets full of blooms.  You'll see families and groups of friends having brunch at one of the many cute cafe's around the market, then strolling into the fray to buy armloads of fresh flowers to take home. And you can't help but smile like an idiot.

The atmosphere is fun and festive without feeling forced, and the crowds for the most part are chilled-out and manageable; mostly locals who've just came down for the day with their dog and their Mum who is visiting from out of town.  Just be prepared not to move very fast once you get into the center of it all. That's the beauty of the flower market, you physically can't be in a rush. So don't even try, just relax and resign yourself to the slow-shuffle pace of the crowds*. Stop and smell the roses (literally), take in the wonderful sights and colours, drink some good coffee and eat some good food.  Sounds like a pretty good day to me. Pretty pretty good. Then, if you live in London, repeat 54 times per year. Easy.

Not in London? Check out your local flower market! Toronto has a great one now!

*not recommended for the agoraphobes or those with a fear of flowers. If that is a thing.

Here are some of the things I saw on my most recent visit:


It's new home in our home.

1 comment:

  1. A.P! What a charming and mesmerizing images of flowers you shared in your blog. They are really very beautiful and attractive. I visited London after boston to washington dc tours but I did not go to this flower market. I think it is my bad luck that I could not see it. In my next tour I must see this gorgeous market.