Markets Travel

Columbia Road Flower Market, London

It finally happened. The rite of passage that all London bloggers eventually undergo: Columbia Road Flower Market.  It was a combination of all things twee: puppies, vintage clothing and furniture, artisan pastries, babies, bicycles and most importantly lots and lots of flowers. I loved every minute of it.
 
Columbia Road Flower Market
london england markets
The first of many photos of flowers. If you don’t like flowers, click away now.
london england markets

Despite the early hour, it was still packed.

 

 

In east London there exists the market of my dreams: Columbia Road Flower Market. A market devoted solely to bunches of flowers, flowers for planting, plants, bushes, shoots and sprouts. And it’s only open Sundays from 8am-3pm. Breaking with our usual Sunday sleeping-in tradition, Sam and I set alarms to head out early doors on Sunday in an effort to beat the the worst of the throngs in the market. Despite only having been open for a little while, the road was already packed. (But that was nothing compared to the crowds that came later in the morning.) 
Columbia Market was originally opened in 1869 as a food market and then started making the transition to focus solely on gardening in the 1960s. In the 1980s the road began garner international press and is world famous today.  While some criticise the prices, I’d have to say that personally, I found them really reasonable. To clarify, I am not a flower expert at all. All my bouquets come from Sainsburys or Tesco. Marks & Spencer if I’m feeling really middle class. And the flowers I bought at Columbia Road were significantly cheaper than any bouquet I’ve bought at the aforementioned places. (I spent a total of Β£10 and took home a bouquet of hyacinth, a bouquet of ranunculus, and a bouquet of anemones.) 
The surrounding shops are open and are selling equally beautiful wares; the smallest of alleys is turned into a temporary bakery- there’s hardly a square inch of space that isn’t being utilised to sell something.  We decided to really make a morning of it and visit the famous Lily Vanilli bakery since it was right there as well and I’ve been keen to go for ages.

bakeries london
As you can see, the bakery is absolutely tiny but adorable.
bakeries london
 
bakery london brownies and coffee
Sunday funday, right? So brownies and coffee for breakfast is okay?
 
Despite the fact that the brownies were a bit rich to have at breakfast, they were delicious. Dense, moist and fudgey with chunks of chocolate. The flat white coffee was really great as well.
 
The market is very crowded but the street itself is quite small. So before buying anything, I fought the crowds twice walking up and down sizing up what exactly I wanted to buy.
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This was the stall where I ended up purchasing my flowers.
me at the market london
Trench: Kenneth Cole (old, similar seen here.) Dress: Modcloth. Boots: similar (on sale). Bag: Longchamp Le Pliage.
london england markets
I was fascinated by these black roses but they weren’t the kind of flower I’d like to have around the house.
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london england market pastries
A selection of delicious pastries that are for sale tucked into a small alcove in a nearby building.
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roses markets london
I loved the rose stalls with their big swaths of colour.
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london england flower markets bouquet
The flowers I ended up going home with.
signs for the market london
Sam doing his citizenly duties directing traffic.

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  • Huzzah, your baptism of blossoms! Gorgeous bundle of flowers.

  • I can’t decide what looks more beautiful… the flowers or the pastries πŸ˜‰

  • I donΒ΄t know what is prettier, all those gorgeous flowers or you in that adorable red coat!

  • ahhh flower market! I want to go. Those black roses freak me out a bit, they look mouldy.

    • Ha! That might be my weird photo, but they certainly were really strange looking in person too! x

  • I may be the odd man out but I love those black roses! I have never been a huge flower person but maybe it is being close to 30 or something but lately I have had a hankering for a big bunch on the table!

    • I’ve always been a flower person but then felt guilty spending money on something that’s going to die (if that makes sense?!) I want to know how the black roses seemed to be spotted and not all one solid color! x

  • Such pretty colors, and the bouquet you chose is beautiful. I like the black roses but I love anything unique or quirky πŸ™‚

    • I mentioned to Bailie that I want to know more about the black roses! Why weren’t they solidly colored? I’ll have to research it! x

      • You will have to report back on your findings πŸ™‚

        • So they take a dark red/purple rose and then placed with water mixed with black ink. The ink is drawn up through the stem colouring the petals. Cool! x

          • Neat! I’m a touch disappointed there is not some kind of genetic engineering involved πŸ™‚

  • Fantastic flowers and your bouquet is just gorgeous!

  • Gorgeous! I so wish we had some place like this in Atlanta!

    • I just tried to rack my brains thinking of something similar in Atlanta, but you’re right, I really can’t. Bummer! I do love going to the Atlanta Cocktails in the Gardens events at the Botanical Garden though! x

  • This post is making me miss London so much! I used to live around the corner from Columbia Rd, and made it a weekly tradition. My favorite thing about it is how much it changes with the seasons. There’s always something new and wonderful to discover!

    • I was just telling a friend that I wanted to go back and see how it changes with the seasons! You can tell how seasonal it was by the sheer amount of tulips everywhere! Did you live there pre or post Hoxton station overground? x

      • Christmastime was my favorite! It’s where I got my Christmas tree, and did a bit of my Christmas shopping, besides. I lived in Shoreditch last year, so post-Overground. Although I mostly relied on the buses!

        • Weirdly loads of actors work selling Christmas trees in the winter (I guess because there’s not a whole lot of work then) so in my mind I’m imagining one of my friend’s selling you your tree πŸ™‚ x

          • Ha, I didn’t know that! Seasonal work is always good for creative people, I guess. One of my friends in London is an actress, actually – seems likely we’re not that many degrees apart! πŸ™‚

          • Ha probably not! How crazy! x

  • I SEE PAIN AU RAISIN!!!!!!!!

    I mean, the flowers are pretty and stuff, but pain au raisin was like my all-time favorite boulangerie treat in France.

    • A girl after my own heart! Pastries above all else! Although I’d always pick the pain au chocolate over the pain au raisin, but we can agree to disagree about it I think πŸ˜‰ x

      • See, it’s better that we prefer different pastries because then when we go buy pastries together, and there’s only ONE left of each kind, we won’t find over them.

        • This is so true. Because when there’s only one pain then someone has to settle for the croissant and we can avoid that dilemma! x

  • I love flowers, brownies, and coffee. All of my favorite things wrapped up in your post πŸ™‚

  • Looks like the sun has come out in England. xx

  • I LOVE flowers of every variety so this market sounds like a dream! I miss the days of buying a fresh bunch and having them in your house to stare at all week. Can’t wait to start doing that when I have a home again in a week’s time! Yay. And um those brownies??? They look so delicious! I’m such a brownie fan πŸ™‚

    • I love brownies too. But I’d always pick fudgey brownies over cakey brownies. The hyacinth that I bought smells glorious! x

  • oh, all this looks and sounds so lovely! regarding your comment, hooray for loving buffy (and not being the only one obsessed)! also, i’m now following your pretty blog! xx

    • Thank you so much lovely! And now on to the most important question: Spike or Angel?! x

      • angel! definitely. although, i’ve never actually seen the show angel, will have to give it a watch after i finish rewatching buffy, haha! don’t know if it’ll be a major disappointment.. x

        • It’s not quite as good, but I still think it’s mandatory viewing for fans of the series πŸ˜‰ x

  • So many beautiful sights – flowers, sunshine, brownies, flat whites. It’s all too much – I’ll have to go πŸ˜€

  • Screw looking for a place to live in Bristol – I’m moving to London!

  • Mmm pastries and pretty flowers.. doesn’t get better than that!

  • Beautiful and look at that weather!! Can’t beat it!

  • Whoa, those black roses are beautiful and so cool! I would have Milli Vanilli songs stuck in my head if I went to that bakery. πŸ™‚

    • I’m so glad that you said that because I kept making Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice jokes….x

  • Black roses!! I’ve never seen anything like it.. and I love them. I would almost have those as my bouquet for when I get married. Oh right, I’m married.. LOL. Brownies for breakfast- yum! Sam’s such a good sport going to a flower market and snapping shots all morning. But I bet he enjoyed the subject being colourful flowers..! .. and YOU of course. πŸ˜‰

    • Ha luckily we share the job of being photographer fairly evenly. But also he really (secretly) likes doing this kind of thing to. This was his first time going to Columbia Rd though, despite knowing his brother and sister-in-law enjoy it as well. x

  • This looks absolutely gorgeous! Brownies, coffee and flowers…seems like the perfect way to start the day to me!

    Yuen @ The Craziest Paradigm – fashion, beauty + lifestyle

  • that looks so fun! man, everything in London seems magical!