Old Spitalfields Market

If you like a decent dose of history while your taking in the London sights, there’s been trading at Old Spitalfields Market since 1682, which is 334 years for those of you who can’t be bothered to work it out. The market was started when silk thrower John Balch was granted a patent by Charles II allowing for the sale of flesh, fowl, and roots. At that point, nothing was mentioned about unbeatable burgers and carnival-inducing Caribbean food - that was to come later.

The market’s rich history is obvious even today, after all, where else would you find a street food market in a Grade 1 listed building? But there are also plenty of modern treats to celebrate at Old Spitalfields Market, where an original mix of cutting edge and unique brands sit side by side with high quality culinary creations from around the world.

about the market

Old Spitalfields Market has something new to offer locals and visitors every day of the week. The market, located just a five minute walk from Liverpool Street Station, is open seven-days-per-week, with main market days on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Thursdays are antique market day, when traders and collectors of antique items flock to the area; Fridays cater for clothes shoppers and art lovers alike; there’s a themed market every Saturday, from affordable vintage to designer makers and plenty more; Sunday is a mixed market with something for every visitor to enjoy.

Now let’s talk food. Two of the most popular stalls at the market have to be Bleecker Burger and Café Caribbean. Firstly, it’s important to note there is nothing bleak about the Bleecker Burger. In 2010, the stallholder Zan Kaufman tasted the best burger she had ever eaten in New York. It made such an impression that she learnt how to make the burger, where the ingredients came from and how it tasted so good. She then brought this knowledge with her when she moved to London just a year later. Her signature dish is the Bleecker Black, which is officially ‘delish’.

Café Caribbean is another firm favourite. If you like homemade Jamaican food that’s prepared and cooked fresh every day, you’ll find owner Warren Richards, an ex-professional boxer who turned to cooking after suffering from an eye injury, serves dishes good enough to make your eyes water!

THINGS TO DO IN EAST LONDON

The area of Spitalfields, where the Old Spitalfield Market can be found, straddles both the City and the East End of London. This prime location between these two disparate areas gives visitors access to a wide variety of nearby attractions, as well as making for an interesting contrast of good old Cockney boozers and more sophisticated wine bars.

No trip to the East End is complete without a stroll through Brick Lane, where you can barter for a curry on Osborn Street or rummage for apparel from yesteryear in the area’s eclectic vintage stores. Shoreditch is also renowned for its bustling nightlife and clubbing scene. Whether it’s basement clubs or warehouse raves, the area’s hedonistic hangouts, from the inimitable Cargo to the alternative Book Club, will have you dancing till you drop.

If you fancy taking things a little more leisurely, the White Chapel Art Gallery, on Whitechapel High Street, gives visitors the chance to enjoy nine galleries showing works from leading British and international artists. There’s also a quality arts bookshop and fine-dining restaurant where you can relax in style.

Further into East London is the redeveloped area of Stratford, home of the largest urban shopping centre in Europe, Westfield Stratford City. The area also boasts the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where you can take in some of the famous sights from London 2012.

And if you find there are simply too many things to do in East London and beyond for one day, why not stay the night in one of the many hotels near Liverpool Street and take it all in at your leisure?