Hey, Christmas might be over but a little bit of self-gifting never hurt anyone, right? Street markets may be a dime a dozen in a city as bustling and diverse as London but only a delicious few have the kind of far-reaching reputation that can hustle in hungry shoppers from all over the world. Say hello to Portobello! This market is more of an amalgamation of several markets all mashed up into one and rolled out a couple of miles along the length of Portobello road.
One of London’s original shopping hotspots has a history that dates back to the start of the 19th century. It has since graced the silver screen, immortalized in films like Notting Hill as Hugh Grant did his bumbling, disgruntled English gent thing through the seasons while the food market and community fast forwarded life around him. Nowadays Portobello market is one of London’s top destinations for locals, tourists and even those celebrities who can’t resist a good bargain.
Smaller, general purpose stalls selling bric-brac, knick-knacks and handmade items are open every day of the week (bar Sunday) but Saturday is the best day for antiques. Colourful fruit and veg stalls vye for attention Monday through Friday around Golborne road, jostling up against delectable street eats from noodles, soups and salads to pastries and cupcakes.
Spot the camper van at Orange Coffee where a love for hot beverages and cute camper vans go hand in hand; pick up some pizza at the delicious and fresh Pizza on the Green; take a bite of the Caribbean at the institution that is Mama’s Jerk Station and for a little slice of something dreamy, drop into the famous Hummingbird Bakery. Born right here in Portobello, this is the place du jour to get a little sugar high.
However, the real star performance at Portobello occurs on Fridays and Saturdays when Portobello Green and the Westway come to life and fashion becomes the name of the game. This area is known as the fashion market. Vintage delights hang alongside edgy and unique, new creations. Sequins, leather and gorgeous furs just beg to be stroked and tables covered in sparkly treasures are guaranteed to make you coo like a magpie.
So beat those January blues and start looking after number one again with a healthy dose of Portobello and a whole lot of retail therapy.
Alex Saint is a writer based in Bristol, England – a place she calls home due to its friendly, diverse atmosphere and never-ending list of fun things to do. She loves tattoos, quirky fashion, pugs and, of course, travelling.