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Columbia Road Flower Market

2 May

Columbia Road Flower Market in East London is a Sunday morning institution.  It’s a proper old fashioned market with Cockney geezers yelling “Six for a fiver!” and steamy cafes selling tea and egg sandwiches.  Nowadays it also has fancy shops selling trendy gardening doodads and expensive cake.  And of course you can buy flowers.  Lots and lots of flowers.


Six for a fiver!

4 Dec

Columbia Road Flower Market in East London, is a Sunday morning institution.  The narrow, ancient drovers road is crammed from end to end with stall holders selling their wares by the age old medium of yelling in a barely intelligible voice “six pots for a fiver, six for a fiver people”.

London has a plethora of weekend markets from Portobello in the West to Brick Lane in the East.  Pre-children we often spent our weekends squeezing through crowds and browsing stalls of secondhand Viewmasters, handmade jewellery or tropical plants, takeaway coffee in one hand, Portuguese custard tart in the other.

After a couple of attempts to snowplow a buggy along Goldborne Road with a toddler sized Eve who was less than impressed with a morning spent looking at other people’s knees, we regretfully gave markets up as a bad job and embraced the convenience of internet shopping.

But last Sunday, a failure to check museum opening times meant that we were hanging around in a very damp Shoreditch, with an hour to kill.  As Columbia Road Market was literally the only thing within walking distance that was also open, it was an easy decision to make.

And I’m glad we did.  The rain meant that the crowds were merely bustling rather than the usual jampacked, and the children loved the vendors and their patter.  Even in winter, the variety of plants for sale was impressive and it was our first Christmassy outing with fir trees and decorated wreaths for sale at every other stall.  Being a Sunday at the end of  November, it’s now been raining for the best part of a month, so they’ve diversified into umbrellas too.

Columbia Road is also home to lots of very enticing looking shops full of beautiful handmade crafts and cosy cafes with proper cakes and delicate wobbly chairs.  We decided not to inflict our damp, boisterous children on the cafe owners but we’ll have to come back on a sunny day and take turns to have a solo browse, whilst the children enjoy the large playground just behind the market.

We went home laden with a plain blue fir wreath, to decorate ourselves for Christmas, big bunches of shiny red berries like sweeties and triffid-like white amaryllis.  And of course, who could resist six pots of pinky-white, heart-leaved cyclamen for a fiver?  It’s a steal.

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.  For lovely travel pictures, click here