London is an expensive city. The British Pound is worth twice as much as the sad, weak U.S. ‘greenback.’ So for those making bags of Sterling, that can mean a lot of disposable income floating around and of course, there are a lot of places to spend it. Besides the glittering and massive stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols, there are other great places to find just about anything you don’t really need. Oh, and the first ever (and the largest) Whole Foods outside of the United States has recently opened here in the fashionable South Kensington neighborhood.
I had fun checking out several of the local markets:
Camden Market— Commercialized hippie Market with intense incense, smiling Buddhas, and heaps of hemp clothing. It’s huge, fun, and goes on forever, but you can always take a break and feast at some of the great ethnic food stalls scattered about.
Borough Market— In a great location just under the London Bridge across from the gothic Southwark Cathedral. This arched brick cavern of gourmet delights was one of my favorites. It was all about food and I’m all about that. What to eat? Ostrich burgers, Panini sandwiches, German sausages, juicy olives, Moroccan cous cous, gooey brownies, and steamy coffees beckon you on a chilly, damp London afternoon. And apparently the famous ‘naked chef,’ Jamie Oliver, shops here often for his local organic ingredients.
Spitalfields Market— A trendy, modern, glass-covered market surrounded with restaurants and boutiques, this market has the standard jewelry, photography, and t-shirt stalls.
Sunday Up Market—This one was just a block away from Spitalfields, but was like its edgier pierced cousin. Located inside the Old Truman Brewery… which is old, just like its name, and in 1873 it was the largest brewery in the world. It’s a hip, alternative market full of young artists and designers selling overpriced cool t-shirts, jewelry, and the like. This market of current coolness also has some great food stalls—from Ethiopian specialties and Spanish paella to hand rolled sushi and Turkish delights.