If you ever find yourself with a free afternoon in London, be sure to visit Old Spitalfields Market. Located in London’s East End, Spitalfields is a covered market that features stalls selling everything from fudge (pictured above) to antiques to arts and crafts. If you love perusing antiques stores like I do, definitely plan to visit on a Thursdays when the antiques vendors are there. My favorite stalls were those selling 1800s era photos of London, old magazine advertisements, and World War II militaria. The “antique” offerings at other stalls are a bit more suspect, however; one vendor was selling an oak wardrobe for an astronomical price, claiming that it was from the Victorian era, yet it looked just like one I saw at the Furniture Market recently. Others were selling toys from my childhood, which I guess could be considered antiques depending on your definition of “old”.
My first visit to Spitalfields was in January 2010 on a visit to London. Oddly, I never made it to this market when I actually lived in London a few years prior. Back then I lived near Borough Market, so typically spent every Saturday morning there buying fresh fruit and enjoying some freshly made falafel and hummus. Whereas Borough Market focuses exclusively on food, at Spitalfields you can find a wide variety of products for sale. My friend was in a shopping mood and purchased an alpaca sweater that was handmade in Peru. My purchases were smaller, but delicious; I bought some of the above fudge and a “world’s best brownie” (if you couldn’t tell already, I have quite a sweet tooth). Much easier to take on the plane than an antique piece of furniture!