Like most attractions in London, the Columbia Road Flower Market is steeped in history. Two fun facts:
1. It was started in the 1800’s by Angela Burdett-Coutts, who was known as the richest heiress in England and who married her 29 year old secretary when she was 67. The original Demi Moore??
2. Originally this market operated on Saturdays, but it was moved to Sundays in the mid 1900’s to allow the Jewish traders who lived in this area to work. In order to do this an Act of Parliament was passed because Sunday trade was prohibited at the time.
Although Columbia Road has had different market trades operating throughout the years, it is now strictly a flower market. There is an amazingly varied selection – the gorgeous blooms on display feel like a culmination of the year-long drizzle you find in England.
The market is fun to see, but the crowds around the flower stalls on Columbia Road are pretty intense. So pickup some peonies and then turn off onto one of the side streets. You’ll find narrow, cobble stoned streets lined with boutiques and small restaurants. There is often live music, and the overall vibe is much more conducive to spending a lazy Sunday. I tried Jones Dairy for freshly shucked oysters which were served outside, with Tabasco and lemon.
Note: The market is open every single Sunday of the year, even Easter Sunday, unless Christmas falls on a Sunday. It runs from 8am to 2pm (but the Jones Dairy Cafe often runs out of their oysters by mid-day! )