When I first moved to London, I lived around the corner from Columbia Road in the East End, and I've been going to the Sunday flower market there ever since with my best friends and with my family.
Last Sunday I extracted Meriel from the grip of her adorable baby Lily. We braved the hectic centre aisle of flower stalls, contemplated the miseltoe & holly,
and then spent our afternoon browsing through the wonderful independent stores, restaurants & other businesses along both sides of Columbia Road & along Ezra Sreet, which normally only open on Sundays to coincide with the market.
I like Bahasa at number 114 for chic imported homewares & properly kitsch tree decorations:
All trips to Columbia Road require pit stops for nourishment. Fairy cakes from traditional English cake shop Treacle at number 112 are my choice:
Present shopping is simple, no matter for whom you are buying. Pantone mugs for creative types from amongst the design stuff at Supernice at number 106:
Beautiful tiles from brilliant illustrator Rob Ryan's shop Ryantown at number 126:
I am rather longing for a leather briefcase from Wawa (who also sell elegant chaise longues & sofas) around the corner at 3 Ezra Street.
Established in 1979, Idonia Van der Bijl was one of the first shops on Columbia Road, and is my absolute favourite place for interesting, not expensive presents. Meriel bought glass votive night lights for £1.50 here last weekend, and last year I bought lil'sis the dachsie mug and Muv the Jack Russell one as part of their Christmas presents:
There are actually shops that sell gardening supplies, it being a flower market an'all. I like Open House at 152, who sell vintage style hanging baskets, & The Garden Shop at number 120:
Where you can also buy jute bags to carry your shopping:
And don't forget some sweeties from Suck & Chew at number 130 for the way home:
I cannot describe the nostalgic bliss of being able to ask for 'a quarter of pear drops, please' instead of 100gms...
(Columbia Road flower market and shops are open on Sundays from 8am ’til 3'ish. Columbia Road is in the East End sitting on the edge of the City of London, with Shoreditch to the west and Brick Lane & Spitalfields nearby.)
Old Street, Liverpool Street, Bethnal Green Road.
Images above by LLG. More at Flickr here