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Markets, London

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England's insider take:

Markets are a vibrant part of shopping in London, and have been since medieval times. If you can handle the rough-and-tumble crowds, you'll find bargains, original clothes, and jewelry from young designers, vintage pieces, housewares, organic food, and much more. The weekend tends to be the best time to visit, when the number of stalls swells considerably. There are far too many to mention or visit in one trip, but the following five are a good bet.

Spitalfields: The neighborhood's high quota of artistic residents is reflected in its covered market, best known for organic food, vintage and new clothing by young designers, crafts, and knickknacks. There's a fashion market on Thursday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Tube: Shoreditch, Liverpool Street, or Aldgate East

Sunday UpMarket: Nearby to Spitalfields, in the Old Truman Brewery just off Brick Lane, vendors sell arty gifts, vintage and new clothing, and jewelry, with some vintage pieces thrown in for good measure. There's also a wide range of ethnic food stalls (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Tube: Shoreditch, Liverpool Street, or Aldgate East

Portobello Road Market: Vendors sell everything from antiques and vintage records to new clothes and organic produce from the 2,000 stalls at this Notting Hill mainstay. The busiest, but best, day is Saturday (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Tube: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove

Camden Lock Market: Actually a number of separate indoor and outdoor bazaars lining Regent's Canal, Camden Lock Market has become increasingly touristy in recent years. Even so, it's worth a visit for the frenetic atmosphere, if not the crafts, antiques, and club gear (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Tube: Camden Town or Chalk Farm Road

Greenwich: There's been a market in this south London suburb since the 1700s. Today, the main courtyard hosts a covered market for new arts and crafts, as well as food stalls on weekends. (Visit on a Thursday or Friday for antiques.) Another antiques market is located next door to the Greenwich cinema, and a flea market across from the Ibis Hotel sells records, furniture, clothing, and textiles. (Times vary, approximately 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.)
Tube/DLR: Cutty Sark

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