I have a confession to make: despite not needing any more plants (see post on Plant Pots to confirm) and despite the heaving, hectic crowds, I drag poor Stag to the Columbia Road Flower Market nearly every Sunday.
Why? For one, I think I may have been a florist in a past life. Secondly, because the flowers are so freaking beautiful that having this market on our doorstep makes it particularly hard to resist. Case in point: see the pictures in this post.
Hearing the sellers with thick, undiluted East London accents shout “GET YOUR ORCHIDS, BEST IN TOWN, LILIES ONLY A FIVER” is a cultural experience worth the visit on its own.
I am sure you are also wondering what a ‘tiny trail’ is (I realise it sounds like the name of a children’s book series). Because I hate paying for public transport – and because I’ve recently quit my day job –Stag and I tend to walk everywhere, and we’ve gotten to know the city pretty well this way.
For those of you visiting London (and for those of you other locals who want to try a new area), we’ll be having an entire section of this blog dedicated to “London Trails.”
A London trail will be an entire day’s route, or at least half a day; a tiny trail will be just a couple of hours.
Now, back to Columbia Road Flower Market. This East London market (on Sundays only) is such a gem, so much so that it has now saturated every tour guide and hipster list. It really is worth the hype though, and the plants and flowers are comparatively very inexpensive. Hearing the sellers with thick, undiluted East London accents shout “GET YOUR ORCHIDS, BEST IN TOWN, LILIES ONLY A FIVER” is a cultural experience worth the visit on its own.
Tiny Trail: Columbia Road Flower Market & Victoria Park (Sundays ONLY)
NEIGHBOURHOODS | Hoxton // Broadway Market // Regent’s Canal // Victoria Park
INFORMATION | Columbia Road Flower Market: Sundays 8am – 3/4pm // Victoria Park: Daily 7am – 5pm
TRAIL TIME | About 2-3 hours (depending how long you stay at each section)
- Exit either Hoxton Station/Overground (10 min walk) or Shoreditch High Street Station/Overground (20 min walk but quite pretty). Make your way to Columbia Road via Hackney Road (some pretty shops along the way).
- Columbia Road Flower Market is along the vast majority of Columbia Road. Trust me, you can’t miss it!
- Walk through the market a couple of times, if you can stand the crowds, and feast your eyes on the beautiful flowers. Also, if you can squeeze through, try to walk down the sides of the market, where there are many cute shops. Make sure to stop in Borough Wines (delicious local beer and wine), Choosing Keeping (gorgeous stationary) and Nelly Duff (affordable art, featured on my previous Friday Finds).
- Continue along Columbia Road until it reaches Hackney Road. Cross over and follow Goldsmith’s Row along Haggerston Park and Hackney City Farm. NOTE: If you have time, stop in the farm to see the animals; it’s free (winning) and the animals are adorable!
- Stop for a coffee at Poco. It will be on your left, right as Goldsmith’s Row turns into Pritchard’s row. Make sure to nab a seat outside so you can watch the people go by. Try their iced coffee –one of the best I’ve had in London!
- Cross over the bridge, and take the steps on the right hand side down to Regent’s Canal. This Victorian waterway runs East-to-West across the top of London. Follow along East (left) from the stairs along the canal, enjoying the sites of the houseboats and warehouse-turned-flats along the water. You’ll walk about 10-20 min depending how fast you walk.
- On your left is a huge entrance to Victoria Park. You can’t miss it! The park is huge, but there are some great picnic spots right where this entrance is. It’s a very “local” spot, so make sure you do spend some time milling around and enjoying an ice cream!