London is blessed with its fair share of grey, rainy days throughout the year, so when the summer sun does put in a much longed for appearance, Londoners and tourists alike revel in their chance to flock outdoors.
London’s many vibrant markets make for a fascinating visit any time of the year, but on a warm summer’s day this experience becomes even more of a pleasure, as the sunshine makes the plethora of weird and wonderful objects on sale look and feel even more alluring than they already are.
The city boasts so many different markets and bootsales in the summer months that even if you were to go to a different one every weekend, you probably wouldn’t cover them all before the sun hides away again behind the autumn showers.
From narrow lanes filled to bursting with antiques, to underground grottos displaying colourful hippy wares; from delicious street food stands offering every kind of international dish to mounds of locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables; from alleys of colourful fresh flowers to Victorian archways wafting the scents of delicious freshly baked breads. You can find it all in London’s vibrant summer markets!
Here's a pictorial tour through five of them —
A foodie paradise housed under London Bridge station, this market sells a huge selection of organic fresh fruits and vegetables, along with cooked food stands of every conceivable variety.
Above: Delicious freshly baked cinnamon buns on offer at an artisan bakery stand.
A cascade of fresh vegetables for sale.
The aroma of a steaming hot mushroom risotto tempts buyers.
A hippy heaven spanning a large area of Camden Town, from the high street, along the canals, and even underground, this market is a combination of funky fashion finds and a myriad of street side food stalls from around the world.
Above: A traditional canal boat for tours down one of Camden Town’s many winding canals.
Food stands offering delicious street-side meals from many different countries around the world.
These goggles turn your world into a kaleidoscope!
Columbia Road Market:
This small East London market is dedicated to fresh flowers and plants of every variety, both potted and cut, with a cute little hipster cafe corner thrown in for good measure.
em>Above: Live swing music being performed on the side of the tiny market streets.
Gorgeous tea roses for sale.
You can spot some real London characters setting up shop here!
Covent Garden Market:
Once a simple fruit and vegetable market, this has turned into the poshest of all London markets, with premium brands and street entertainers vying for the tourists’ attention — and cash.
Above: Hand painted converse shoes, custom designed and executed right in front of the buyers.
One of the many gravity defying living statues performing in and around this market. He stays perfectly still, but put a coin in his hat and he swings up to the delight of the passing crowd!
The famous arches of Covent Garden Market, which once housed a bustling, loud and sometimes even smelly fruit and vegetable market of the past. Nowadays brands like Dior, Chanel and Mulberry compete to take up residence in its tiny boutiques under these same arches.
This famous Notting Hill market is a Mecca for antique collectors and tourists alike, with a wide range of vintage fashion, collectibles of every kind, and antique jewellery and kitchenware for the eagle eyed buyer to browse through to find their dream object.
Above: The market winds its way along the length of Portobello Road, lined with the now iconic pastel-coloured houses.
Antiques spill out of this store, with as much of its trade taking place on the side of the road as inside the actual shop.
A seller proudly shows off one of his many collectible toy soldiers to a curious buyer.
Polina Schapova is a Delhi-based Russian-British photographer. Follow her work on Instagram or on her website