Things to do | Shopping| Britain's markets

Britain's markets

Unique, quirky, unusual and always a bargain

Stall at the Borough Market Source:© VisitBritain / Joanna Henderson

Borough Market

Shoppers at borough market, London

© VisitBritain / Joanna Henderson

There's nothing like spending an afternoon rifling through racks of exclusive, one-off designs or vintage vinyl at the market. Whether you're buying unusual antiques or fresh flowers, you're bound to find a bargain.

London’s markets are a must-see for their atmosphere alone. In the East End, Columbia Road Flower Market sets the street ablaze with a riot of beautiful blooms while Old Spitalfields Market is a beautiful Victorian market selling everything from vintage fashion, craft jewellery and other handmade products to antiques and delicious food.

Across town in Notting Hill, the Portobello Road Market morphs from real antiques to fruit and veg, great clothes, jewellery and household items. Saturday is the market day, but there’s plenty to enjoy all week. South of the River, Greenwich Market , trading since 1700, is still one of the most popular places to visit on the weekends and sells a mix of antiques, clothes and crafts.

Outside London, Oxford Covered Market is a wonderful historic market, where you can buy fruit, flowers and unusual gifts while Birmingham’s Rag Market is the place for fabrics of every kind. You should certainly find something you want as you rummage around in Glasgow's Barrowland, affectionately known as The Barras . It’s expanded from its humble beginnings at the turn of the 19th century to include 100s of stalls and shops selling everything and anything.

The vibrant indoor market set in the heart of Cardiff is a paradise for collectors of specialist records and books, and just the place to find unusual gifts and souvenirs. As you would expect, the market also sells a huge range of fresh Welsh foods, including meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and dairy produce.