London is justifiably proud of its markets, most of which date back to medieval times. They tell the history of London: Borough Market, the oldest, has long lost its medieval glamour but retains its Dickensian air - recently specialising as an organic produce market and film-lot. Some, like Camden and Portobello are thriving, Camden's turnover makes it Britain's 4th largest retailer.
Bermondsey Market - Friday 04:00 to 12:00
Antiques market, famous for once being where thieves could sell their goods with impunity - a royal license meant that stolen goods bought here did not have to be returned was restricted so items could only be sold before sunrise, hence the market's early hours.
Berwick Street Market - Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 17:00
Tiny, cheap, fruit and vegetable market in the heart of Soho, consumables need to be eaten on the same day. Haunted by the ghosts of the 1960s, it's featured on the cover of an Oasis album. If you're after fabric, and music on vinyl or CD the shops on Berwick Street are the best places to start.
Borough Market - Mon - Fri Farmers' Market 1200-1700, Friday, 10:00-16:00 Saturday
One of London's trendiest markets, mainly for its unspoilt Victorian architecture and its location under the railway as it leaves London Bridge Station. A film location manager's dream, there's rarely a month when a film isn't being shot here it seems. Borough Market gets very crowded, so early visits are best.
Camden Market - Weekends from about 09:30 to 17:00, part open weekdays
Recently recovered from a serious fire, Camden Market is one of London's top attractions. Virtually everything is on sale here, clothing, music, antiques, collectibles, ethnic art, rugs and food and drink.Does tend to get a bit crowded on Sundays, and has a wide variety of food stalls, pubs and restaurants - and there's live music and comedy in the evenings. Very mixed quality of goods on offer but there are few real bargains to be found. Recently it's become a haven for emerging fashion designers.
Columbia Road Flower Market - Sunday: 09:00 -12:00
Somewhat off the beaten track this is one of the best ways to start a Sunday - there are several places to have brunch. Well signposted from Shoreditch tube station which opens specially on Sundays for the Market selling Flowers and Plants.
Covent Garden - Everyday 10:00 - 18:00
The old fruit 'n' veg market that appeared in old Hitchcock films has been converted into the piazza in the centre. The London Transport Museum Shop in the corner of the Piazza is good for gifts. There is a nice cluster of shops around the market which makes it a major, if somewhat expensive, shopping area.
Gabriel's Wharf - Weekends 10:00 - 18:00
Small market on the South Bank next to the OXO building, selling mostly jewelry, ethnic nick-nacks and artsy paraphernalia. Most people stumble across it rather than head for it. You can hire bicycles here and there are one or two restaurants.
Greenwich Market - Wednesday to Sunday 10.00am - 17.30
Sprawling series of small weekend markets selling antiques, arts & crafts, clothing, books. There's also a covered market in the central square, near the DLR station and the Cutty Sark which is like a mini Covent Garden. The best way to approach this is to take the Docklands Railway through Canary Wharf and get off at Island Gardens, and walk the foot tunnel to Greenwich.
Petticoat Lane/Brick Lane - Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
Petticoat lane is one of the famous markets in the East End, Brick lane market is amazing it's the slightly disorganised and happening nature of the stalls that make it special.
Portobello Road Market - Saturdays from about 06:00 - 16:30
The South end of the street is mainly antiques, and make sure you go off-street as there are bargains to be had late afternoons especially in the smaller markets, underground, the middle is vegetables, and the north end bric-a-brac.As it's held in ultra-fashionable and expensive Notting Hill it's also great for just hanging out.
Spitalfields Monday to Friday 10:00 - 16:00, Sundays 09:00 - 17:00
Old fruit and veg market, opposite Liverpool St Station on Bishopsgate, transformed over the past five years into a slightly bohemian weekend market - it's at its best on Sunday and a good starting point for exploring the architecture and history of Brick lane and the surrounding area. Many leading contemporary artists and sculptors have their studios there which makes it one of the most popular London markets.