I am moving home in three weeks, so my time living in London is coming to an end. I’m now in a rush to see all the sights I haven’t had a chance to visit yet! And there is quit a bit to see and do. It was a beautiful day Sunday, so I decided to go and battle the crowds at the Columbia Road Flower Market… and a battle it was!
I think I’m going to get whiplash with how quickly the weather keeps changing! It was another scorcher Sunday, the tube was stifling as thousands of Londoners ventured out to enjoy the sun. In hindsight, the bank holiday weekend maybe wasn’t the best time to experience the market. As I arrived at Bethnal Green it was already busy as people walked the short trip to the market, it felt like a hike however with the heat.
I couldn’t believe it when I turned the corner and caught my first glimpse of this famous flower market. I didn’t see the flowers at first as the sheer amount of people was mind-blowing. It was overflowing, how could this many people fit on one little street? The answer is, they don’t!
I struggled to move my arms to take pictures, I battled to get a glimpse of the copious amount of flowers, many I have never seen before. Everybody wanted to look, I planned on buying a new succulent but the stall I wanted to get to was brimming and I didn’t stand a chance.
Despite the crowds going against me, I did manage to look at some of the flowers the market had to offer. It’s no doubt the most beautiful market I have ever seen! There were so many vibrant colours, and amazing smells. The sound of the market was just as exciting, all you could hear was East End salesmen chanting about their flowers coming up with all sorts of ways to get a customer in.
The market has everything a keen plant lover needs; bulbs, herbs, shrubs and bedding plants. I saw some beautiful sunflowers which were all bright and amazing quality, unlike some markets I have been to.
Along the street there are many boutique shops and cafes you can hide in to escape the crowds. They sell a variety of things from perfume to pottery. I would say turn up quit early though, as most shops close earlier than normal on a weekend.
My top tips for this radiant market would be;
- Turn up early! The market starts at 8am and winds down at 3pm, but the crowds are at their worst around 12 and it makes it harder to see all the amazing flowers for sale.
- Don’t go on a bank holiday! If you can help it, avoid the market on a busy weekend like this. It was impossible to enjoy it at it’s best as I was constantly wading against the crowd, and in turn missed a lot of stalls.
- Bring cash and change! I bought a succulent in the end, but the market stall owner was not happy that I gave him a £10 note.
- Don’t be afraid of the salesman! I got shortchanged because he wasn’t happy with me giving him a note, I was too frightened to say anything about it. I regret that, speak up it’s your money!
Other than me coming out with a hatred of crowds, I really recommend this market. It’s a beautiful experience, and one I can tick off my list.