I’ve waxed poetically (well, maybe not quite poetically) about Columbia Road Flower Market in the past. It’s one of my favourite London “landmark” markets, because who can resist the lure of armfuls of flowers at fairly reasonable prices? It was especially difficult to resist walking by the other weekend because there were stacks of peonies as far as the eye could see. And it might be a basic blogger stereotype, but I adore a peony.
Columbia Road Flower Market is devoted solely to bunches of flowers; flowers for planting, plants, bushes, shoots and sprouts. And it’s only open Sundays from 8am-3pm. 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 to garner international press and is world famous today. While some people argue that the flowers are overpriced, I find the deals fairly reasonable. Especially if you go at the end of the day when everyone is trying to get rid of all of their stock. I am not a flower expert at all. All my bouquets come from Sainsburys or Tesco and are usually £1 daffodil bundles or 2 for £3 for tulips. At Columbia Road I spent a total of £10 and took home a bouquet of hyacinth, a bouquet of ranunculus, and a bouquet of anemones, quite the result, I think, and all beautiful.
The surrounding shops are open and are selling equally pretty 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. Last time we went to Columbia Road we stopped in to Lily Vanilli for delicious brownies. We popped in again, and sadly we must have missed the delicious daily offerings because there were only slim pickings.
My biggest critique of the flower market is that it is insanely busy. No matter what time you visit, you have to wade through people like a salmon swimming upstream. If you don’t like crowds, Columbia Road might not be for you.
Have you been in the past?