Borough Market, London
England was a country of market towns where people sold, bartered or traded their wares. Most cities had a central square where the markets were held. This was central to daily life and a necessity in order to survive. Many towns and cities in the UK still have market days once or more each week and these are normally held in the town or market square. Despite having supermarkets these days, people still throng to markets. This is where you can still get household goods at a reasonable price as well as fresh local food of all sorts. Vendors come from the Continent to some markets in England and these products are well loved.
In a large metropolis such as London, there are markets in many areas of the city. Some specialise in a certain product such as the Columbia Road Flower Market. Many run along the streets and others are held under cover of a building. Some markets are well known such as Borough Market which is known for its wide variety of food. The variety of cheese, breads, ethnic foods, meats, vegetables and everything in between is mind boggling. You could indeed spend many hours here. You can snack, find a spot to sit or take food home. A market was close by at the foot of London Bridge one thousand years ago but the Borough Market moved to its present site by Southwark Cathedral in 1756. Many restaurants have sprung up around it which has expanded the foodie vibe. It is now open 7 days a week. Another popular market is the Portobello Road Market in the Notting Hill area of London. It is known for antiques, silverware, leather and clothes. The market runs along the street and there are indoor shops there as well. There are always food stalls and many ethnic food stands are at the top of the Portobello Road. The amount of people walking up to and along Portobello Road is often quite astonishing, The market itself is not there on Sundays but the shops along the street are open. Another large London market is Camden Market which runs along the Grand Union Canal. It can be reached by 3 metro stops. It covers a very large area. This market has a cross section of food, clothes, and collectibles and is open 7 days a week. All of these markets are crowded on Saturdays and are a joy to be part of. Other notable markets are Old Spitalfields (under cover with lots of clothes, food, books, gifts and designers), Covent Garden ( under cover with homewares, restaurants, jewellery, and often musicians from the Royal Opera House singing), and Greenwich (150 outside stalls on weekends - mostly artisans).
In smaller cities you will often hear a cockney accented individual calling out their wares. This makes going to a market in a small town just as much an experience as being part of a large mass of people experiencing the wonders of what a large market has to offer. If you haven't been to a market, make it part of your next journey to the UK.