Browse the stalls, bag a bargain, grab a bite: the next few weekends are packed with top London markets. Katie Rosseinsky picks the most atmospheric to check out.
Find your new favourite bands, brews and hues in the East End, March 28-29
News that the Independent Label Market (Old Spitalfields Market, Saturday March 28, 11am-6.30pm) has added a new date to its calendar should be guaranteed to get vinyl buffs in a spin. More than 80 of the UK’s best independent record labels will be flogging LPs, CDs and merchandise – set an alarm, empty the ATM and arrive close to the 11am kick-off time to snap up the best stuff. Just don’t ask the ever-friendly staff and musicians manning the stalls if they’ve got any minidiscs, whatever you do. Sourcing leftfield techno can be thirsty work, so thankfully the London Brewers’ Market (Old Spitalfields Market. Saturday March 28, 11am-7pm) is running a pop-up beer garden next door, stocked with a selection of excellent local brews from the likes of Orbit Beers and Brixton Brewery. Come Sunday, swap craft ale for handicrafts at the DIY Art Market (Epic Dalston, 13-15 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BH. Sunday March 29, 11am-6pm), which champions the work of the capital’s emerging artists, designers and illustrators. Across the 50 stalls, you’ll find an eclectic mix of classy design and quirky one-offs, from arty screen prints to self-published comic books.
Grab all the craft goodness along the East London Line, April 4-5
If Peckham is the new Hackney and Deptford the new Dalston, it’s only a matter of time before Shoreditch types flock to Penge. For now, this south-east burb is home to village-y knees-up SE20 Craft Fair (Kenilworth Hall, SE20 7QS. Saturday April 4, 10am-5pm), featuring homemade cakes, fuzzy Easter decorations and face-painting for kids. Head back up the Overground the next day for UpMarket at the Old Truman Brewery (Sundays, 10am-5pm). It’s the best thing about Brick Lane: a mishmash of vintage togs, offbeat crafts and artisan food stalls.
Try a dram… or eight. Then soothe your hangover with sounds, April 11-12
After popping into the Renegade Craft Fair at the Old Truman Brewery (Saturday April 11 and Sunday April 12, 11am-6pm) for a dose of DIY culture, it’s time for a drop of the hard stuff up the road at the Whisky Weekender (Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, E2 9DT. Saturday April 11, 11am-3pm or 4pm-8pm; Sunday April 12, noon-5pm). If you’re feeling worse for wear on Sunday find solace at Hackney Record Fair (Epic Dalston, 13-15 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BH. Sunday April 12, 11am-6pm), the latest venture from the gang behind the Hackney Flea; indie kids can get hold of rare vinyl and fanzines.
Double up on bric-a-brac and delicious snacks, April 18-19
It’s the first weekend for the return of Lewisham’s foodie Model Market (196 Lewisham High St, SE13 6LS. Fridays and Saturdays, April 17 September, 5pm-1am). On Sunday, zip over the river to the Royal Horticultural Halls (aka the Horti, if you’re frightfully posh), which have housed the monthly Adam’s Antiques Fair (Elverton St, SW1P 2PE. Sunday April 19, 10am-4.30pm.) since the 1970s. Most of the stuff here dates back further than the decade taste forgot: boasting 140-odd stalls of jewellery, knick-knacks and heirlooms, it’s paradise for magpies and ‘Antiques’ Roadshow’ wannabes alike.
Eat your way around the world, then flee to a flea market, April 25-26
Urban Food Fest is in full swing! Head to Shoreditch (Euro Car Parks, 162-167 Shoreditch High St, E1 6HU. Saturdays, 5pm-midnight until December) to find cuisine from around the globe. Then roll down to the Crafty Fox Market (Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane SW9 8LQ. Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26, 11am-5pm) for craft stalls, workshops and demos. For retro furniture and homewares on the cheap, the Vintage Furniture Flea (Seymour Leisure Centre, Seymour Place, W1H 5TJ. Sunday April 26, 11am-4.30pm) will help that flatpack fatigue.
Barge in to Little Venice, before feasting out in Dalston, May 2-3
Taking over Little Venice for May Bank Holiday, the Canalway Cavalcade (Little Venice, W2. Saturday May 2 Monday May 4) is an old-school English oddity when dozens of barges descend for the weekend. Landlubbers can browse food stalls, pop-up shops and the real ale bar. Back on dry land, it’s the opening weekend of Dalston Yard Street Feast (Hartwell St, E8 3DU. Fridays and Saturdays, May 1 September, 5pm-midnight). It’s an Instagrammer’s paradise and an orgy of eating, with food from Bleecker burgers, BOB’s Lobster and Breddos, and locally sourced mother’s ruin at the Gin Store.
Look sharp! It’s time to edit your warm weather wardrobe, May 9-10
Anyone with a passing interest in fashion and costume should make a beeline for the Hammersmith Vintage Fashion and Accessories Fair (Hammersmith Town Hall, King St, W6 9JU. Sunday May 9, 10am-5pm), where you’ll find a well-priced stash of jaw-dropping clobber – anything from beaded ’20s flapper dresses that have foxtrotted straight out of a Fitzgerald novel, to intricate Victorian lace. Wear your scariest statement shoes nd prepare to battle fashion students for coveted designer one-offs. There’s plenty for the design-conscious at Hackney Flea Market (Abney Hall, 73A Stoke Newington Church St, N16 0AS. Saturday May 9 and Sunday May 10, 11am-6pm), too. Each edition of the monthly Stokey shindig sees a revolving cast of vintage dealers and local creative types peddling their wares. An on-site cafe dishing up homemade food and a stellar soundtrack provided by live DJs make it easy to while away the entire weekend.
Get some summer colour in your life, May 16-17
The Southbank goes all South Asian: as well as the Centre’s ten-day cultural programme, the Alchemy Food Market (Friday May 15 Monday May 25), run by street food supremos Kerb, will put your local curry house to shame. We’re also fans of Bust’s off-beat crafty gatherings: what, we wonder, will they dream up for their Summer Craftacular (York Hall, 5 Old Ford Rd, E2 9PJ. Sunday May 17, noon-6pm)? Previous events have included taxidermy and terrariums…
Give it up for a good cause , May 30-31
From the team behind last year’s Soho Flea Market comes the Embankment Summer Market (Victoria Embankment Gardens, WC2N 6PB. Friday May 29 Sunday May 31. Friday noon-7pm; Saturday and Sunday 11am-6pm), for art, fashion, food and drink. Proceeds go to the Connection at St Martin’s helping the homeless. Then head to Notting Hill for The Penny Market (Golborne Rd, W10. Saturdays, 9am-6pm), an offshoot of Portobello Road market. For every two pence of profit, one is invested in local charities.
Find full details of London diverse markets in all their glory here.