Is there a more pleasant way to while away the day than perusing the fine, freshest blooms at a London flower market? Flower markets have a long and storied history in the city. First emerging during Roman times and sweeping through the centuries as floral bouquets became a quintessential symbol of celebration and sorrow adorned to birthdays, celebrations, weddings, and funerals.
Today, London has a wealth of floral hotspots to check out, whether you’re a local with an hour to kill or an intrepid flower tourist intent on uncovering the best of London’s historic markets. Below you’ll find 5 of our favorites.
1) Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road Flower Market is a Sunday-only affair offering a great range of flowers and plants accompanied by booming East-End vernacular roaring out from each merchant you stroll past. This is an authentic East London experience.
Come rain or shine, summer or winter, the market (which, in essence, is street traders running the length of Columbia Road) is usually a busy and boisterous experience. Top marks for arriving early 8-9:30 am to beat the crush or stroll in at the last call (circa 3:30 – 4 pm), where a bargain is known to be had on remaining wares.
8 am to 3 pm (ish) – Sundays only.
Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
The nearest tube stations are Hoxton, Shoreditch High Street, and Bethnal Green, which are approximately 15 minutes walk away.
2) Borough Market
Serving Southwark for over 1,000 years, Borough Market, at its core, is London’s oldest food market. Today it’s rich with small-scale artisan producers and farmers selling a wide range of produce. There are blooms to be found in this epicenter of produce, from small traders to established onsite stalls such as The Gated Garden, offering an extensive range of plants and flowers.
Wednesday and Thursday mornings are great times to visit when the market is fully open (Monday and Tuesday is a limited market) but without the crowds common on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Monday: 10:00 – 17:00 Limited produce market
- Tuesday: 10:00 – 17:00 Limited produce market
- Wednesday: 10:00 – 17:00 Full produce market
- Thursday: 10:00 – 17:00 Full produce market
- Friday 10:00 – 18:00 Full produce market
- Saturday 08:00 – 17:00 Full produce market
- Sunday – Market Closed
8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1 TL
The nearest stations are London Bridge, Borough and Southwark.
3) New Covent Garden Flower Market
The original market site was relocated back in 1974. Having relocated near Vauxhall, New Covent Garden Flower Market today is larger than ever before. Every sunrise brings along a new batch of flowers, plants, and foliage from every corner of the earth.
Being a wholesale market – most trading occurs in the very wee hours, so you’ll need to be sprightly to catch the best blooms. Cash still reigns supreme in these parts, so worth topping up before making the trip reminder most stems and bouquets are sold in quantity, so you’ll need to have a good plan or occasion in play if you’re intent on purchasing something! Having a stroll around is a delightful thing to do either way.
Monday to Friday: 04:00 – 10:00 / 12:00
Saturday: 04:00 – 10:00
New Covent Garden Market, London, SW8 5BH
The nearest tube stations include Charing Cross, The Strand with the underground line: Bakerloo, City Thameslink Station, and Blackfriars Railway Station.
4) Broadway Market
Resurrected in the 2000s, this hipster-friendly Saturday-only affair is a sweet mix of foodies, crafts, and blooms. Pitched as a Victoria Street market with the slogan “quality, specialty, variety,” it now holds a special place in the local community and is ever-popular amongst visitors alike. More than 70 stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes adorn the market, so there is plenty to explore.
The Market operates 51 weeks a year from 09:00 – 17:00 on Saturdays.
Broadway Market, London Fields, London, E8 4PH.
5) Berwick Street Market
One of London’s oldest markets, dating back to 1778, Berwick Street Market is a buzzing destination packed with global food culture interspersed with traditional fruit, veg, and florist stalls. Here you’ll find Ronnie’s Flowers – London’s oldest flower market stall still showcasing some of the finest roses, tulips, and wrapped bouquets.
Lunchtimes can get super busy as the world emerges for lunch, so if you’re after a more relaxed stroll, head here earlier in the morning or mid-afternoon to explore at your leisure.
Monday to Saturday from 8 am until 6 pm
Berwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0PH. The nearest tube stations include Tottenham Court Road Station, Oxford Circus Station, and Piccadilly Circus Station.
London Flower Markets – FAQs:
What are the main flower markets in London, England?
The most famous flower market in London is Columbia Road Flower Market. Other noteworthy markets include Covent Garden Market, which consists of a section dedicated to flowers, and New Covent Garden Market, a wholesale trade market.
Where is the Columbia Road Flower Market located?
Columbia Road Flower Market is located in the East End of London, in the borough of Tower Hamlets.
What can I find in the Columbia Road Flower Market?
Columbia Road Flower Market is known for its wide variety of plants, flowers, bulbs, herbs, shrubs, trees, and garden fittings. Many independent shops also sell various goods, from vintage homeware to art, and cafes and restaurants along the road.
What are the working hours of the Columbia Road Flower Market?
Columbia Road Flower Market operates every Sunday from 8 am to around 3 pm. It’s advisable to get there early to beat the crowds.
Can anyone buy from the New Covent Garden Market or is it only for florists?
New Covent Garden Market is predominantly a wholesale market aimed at trade professionals such as florists, but it’s also open to the general public.
Where is the New Covent Garden Market located?
The New Covent Garden Market is in Nine Elms, in the London borough of Wandsworth.
How did these markets get established?
The markets have a rich history. Columbia Road Flower Market began as a Saturday trading market in the 19th century, moving to Sunday to accommodate the growing Jewish population. Covent Garden Market dates back to the 17th century and was historically the most important fruit and vegetable market in London, while New Covent Garden Market was established in the 1970s when the original Covent Garden Market relocated.
What should I know before going to these flower markets?
Be prepared for crowds, especially at Columbia Road Flower Market. It’s best to arrive early for the best selection. Also, bring cash, as not all stalls accept cards.
How have these markets evolved over time?
These markets have evolved alongside London itself. Columbia Road Flower Market, for example, has seen an influx of independent boutiques and eateries, turning it into a vibrant hub of Sunday activity. The New Covent Garden Market has become the UK’s largest fruit, vegetable, and flower market.
London Flower Markets – Wrapping Up
London’s flower markets reflect the city’s rich heritage, diverse culture, and love for nature. Each market, from the bustling lanes of Columbia Road Flower Market to the vast trading floors of New Covent Garden Market, tells a unique story of London’s evolving relationship with nature and commerce.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the best London flower delivery services.