Spitalfields Market dates back to the 17th century, when King Charles II granted John Balch a Royal Charter to hold a market on Thursdays and Saturdays in the area.
But it has come a long way since then, and it is now one of the most culturally diverse and vibrant markets in London. A major regeneration project was completed in 2005 and the space is no longer seen as just a clothing market.
Thanks to the overhaul, there are two public spaces – Bishops Square and Crispin Place – a public art programme and an event programme. However, the main attraction remains the market, which features an array of fashion, antiques and food.
Held under the Foster & Partners glass canopy in Crispin Place, which is a very elegant setting, it is open seven days a week. The address is Crispin Place, off Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6AA.
Monday to Wednesday – 10 am to 5 pm (general market stalls)
Thursday – 9 am to 5 pm (antiques and vintage market)
Friday – 10 am to 4 pm (fashion and art market)
Saturday: 11 am to 5 pm (themed market day)
Sunday – 9 am to 5 pm (general market stalls)
The Sunday market
Sunday is the most important day for the market, and regularly attracts the biggest number of visitors as people are off work for the weekend. While the market is known to attract some big names, it also welcomes creations by quirky up-and-coming designers. Indeed, stalls will be filled with fabrics, still-drying printed t-shirts and the best in show items from new graduates.
There are usually around 100 stalls and visitors can also get their hands on organic food, leather bags and furniture. Part of the market’s popularity is its diversity, as among the styles that can be seen are bohemian, vintage and African. Niche shops and boutiques are also open.
Shops in Spitalfields Market
Among the permanent shops surrounding the market are:
Albam Clothing – An independent British designer producing unique and original clothing
Androuet – A cheese store that brings a bit of Parisian chic to London
Camper – Specialist family shoe store originally from Spain
Crepeaffaire – Patisserie catering for everyones’ sweet tooth
Hackett – Menswear store featuring garments hand-picked from all Hackett stores
Joseph Cheaney & Sons – Family shoe store that has occupied the site since 1886
Las Iguanas – Serving food and drink the South American way
Pilpel – Famous falafel and houmous bar serving healthy food
Author Shoes – London’s best known shoe secret, it stocks big name designers
Bethnals – London-based unisex denim brand
Bleecker St. Burger – Serves New York-style burgers with a London twist
Superga – Designer outlet is the the second largest store in the UK for the Italian footwear brand
Things to do in Spitalfields Market
Barter with stall owners to make sure you secure a good price for any purchases
Check out some of the events taking place, including live musical performances
Enjoy the art on show as part of the Spitalfields E1 public art programme
Getting to the market
By bus – You can take the 8, 26, 35, 42, 47, 48, 67, 78, 135, 149, 205, 242 and 388 bus services, as they all pass by the market.
By tube – Get off at Liverpool Street Station on the Central london, Hammersmith and City, District, Circle and Metropolitan lines. From Liverpool Street Station, head southeast towards Sun Street Passage, take a right on Bishopsgate, turn left on Bishops Square and then turn left on to Brushfield Street. The walk will take about eight minutes,
Local car parking is available at both Hanbury Street and Brick Lane. Both are less than ten minutes away on foot.
From Hanbury Street, head northwest towards Spital Street, continue on to Lamb Street and then turn left on Crispin Place. It will take seven minutes and the destination will be on the left.
From Brick Lane, head towards Quaker Street, turn left on Grey Eagle Street, take a right on Corbet Place, turn left on Jerome Street, continue on to Folgate Lane, turn left on Lamb Street and then turn left on Crispin Place.