If you’re visiting London, visiting Columbia Road Flower Market is an absolute must! That’s because Columbia Road market is more than a flower market. Much more, in fact. We’ve been to Columbia Road more times than we can remember, and although it’s not that big, something about the place keeps drawing us back, and it’s one of the London streets you simply can’t miss!
Maybe it’s the flowers, the independent retail, the vibrant atmosphere, the street performers or the coffee (or perhaps all of it!). But whatever it is, it’s a place unlike anywhere else in London on a Sunday morning!
Columbia Road Flower Market London
It’s one of London’s most famous markets and a true floral paradise. It’s not just a market for flowers but an experience in itself. With its vibrant and colourful setting, the market exudes an almost old-fashioned charm that immerses you in its bustling atmosphere, with the market sellers calling out as they used to in the good old days (oh, the nostalgia! ha!!).
If you’re interested, here’s a brief history of the Columbia Road market. Otherwise, keep scrolling to discover everything you need to know about Columbia Road London!
Columbia Road Market History
Columbia Road in London was named in honour of philanthropist Angela Burdett Coutts, who built Columbia Market, which no longer exists. But the road itself was once a sheep highway to take them to the slaughterhouses. As London grew during the Victorian era, so did the area and the sheep path was built on with loads of wood-turning and milling factories, along with the wonderful Victorian shops, now home to loads of unique independent retailers, that were built in the 1860s to serve the population of the Jesus Hospital Estate.
The flower market started as a Saturday trading spot, but a Sunday market was added as the Jewish population grew. The Saturday market eventually faded away, but the flower market kept blooming.
In the 1970s, the area hit a rough patch, and there were plans to demolish it. The locals fought back in good London fashion to save the area and the market. Since the 1980s, the market has bloomed to become one of London’s best and one of our favourites. There are some old pictures worth a look at, too, that show the market back in the day.
What’s at Columbia Road Flower Market?
The Flower Market
Of course, there’s a flower market, but there’s much more on offer at this world-famous London flower market than just flowers. But while we’re talking about flowers: surprisingly, the price of the flowers isn’t as high as you might think for London. That’s because it isn’t a tourist trap of a market; it’s a real, functioning market that the people of London go to to buy flowers, which is refreshing for a London tourist hotspot. If you’re coming to the flower market to find flowers, you’ll find almost anything you could wish for, from banana trees to cheese plants. You’ll also find loads of other house plants, herbs, cacti, succulents, and cut and dried flowers.
Columbia Road in London is a pretty unique place. The road has around 60 independent retailers, ranging from coffee shops and bakeries to vintage and antique shops, homewares, delis, gardening shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. It’s a colourful combo! And the best bit is you won’t find a Starbucks or Costa in sight! The shops usually open at the same time as the market, meaning the road is strangely quiet on a typical day.
You might also find some street performers adding even more atmosphere and vibrancy to a place already abundant in atmosphere. It’s a remarkable place, that’s for sure! Don’t forget to walk around the back, either. There’s a bit of activity on Ezra Street, where you’ll often find a street performer, plus a little courtyard with a small flea market.
A visit to Columbia Road market is an opportunity to indulge in the beauty, colours and scents of flora while also immersing yourself in the local culture and community. There may be other flower markets, but none can compare to the fame and splendour of Columbia Road in London.
Columbia Road Flower Market Opening Times
Market Opening Times: Every Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm, all year, in all weather. We recommend arriving early if you prefer a bit of peace by avoiding the crowds. The market gets busy quickly, especially in summer! If you’d like better deals, you are recommended to arrive towards the closing times. But the prices are surprisingly good for London at any time of the day.
Shops Opening Hours: Most shops near the market follow similar opening times as the flower market.
Columbia Road London Location & Map
Address: Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG
By Public Transport
Public transport or walking is the best way to get to the market. To plan your specific journey, use Transport for London’s Journey Planner, which will provide you with current information on journey times and details from your location. For everything else, below are the nearest train, tube and bus stops.
Consider walking to the market from Liverpool Street Station. That way, you can enjoy the walk and take a detour through Bricklane Market, The Truman Brewery Markets and Spitalfields Market!
The nearest train and overground stations are below, including walking time.
Hoxton – 8 minutes
Shoreditch – 9 minutes
Cambridge Heath – 13 minutes
Bethnal Green – 16 minutes
Liverpool Street – 23 minutes
The nearest tube stations are below, including the tube line and approximate walking time.
Bethnal Green (Central Line) – 16 minutes
Old Street Station (Northern Line) -17 minutes
Liverpool Street (Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Elizabeth Line) – 23 minutes
Bus 26 will take you from Liverpool Street if you don’t fancy walking. Buses 26 & 55 from the West and East both stop outside the Coop on Hackney Road, leaving a short walk to the flower market. Buses 8 & 388 from Central and East London stop at Barnet Grove (stop SC from Central, SD from East).
Parking Near Columbia Road Flower Market
Your best bet is to take public transport to the market, but parking options are available if you need them. Columbia Road is in Zone A1 of Tower Hamlets parking zones, and parking restrictions are in place on Sunday, 8.30 am to 2 pm. However, there is free parking on Hackey Road (postcode is E2 7NX) or meter parking at the end of Columbia Road.
From February 2023, you can park for free for an hour at the end of Columbia Road. Meter parking charges beyond an hour are £5.30 per hour for a petrol car and £7.95 per hour for a diesel car. Alternatively, there are other paid parking options nearby, which you can find on Just Park, where you can reserve spaces, although they are pretty expensive.
If you are visiting London and looking for a unique shopping and cultural experience, visit Columbia flower market. You won’t be disappointed!
What day is Columbia Road Flower Market on?
The market runs once a week on Sundays, from 8 am to 3 pm, in all weather!
What time should I get to Columbia Road Flower Market?
The market gets pretty busy, especially in summer. So, if you’d like to avoid the market at its busiest, we recommend you arrive before 8.30 am. Grab yourself a coffee and a croissant and start wandering before the crowds arrive.
Is Columbia Road cash only?
Sellers use both cash and card payments. The sellers we have spoken to welcome cash because it’s becoming more scarce in today’s society.
How to get to Columbia Road Flower Market by tube?
The nearest tube stations to the market are Bethnal Green on the Central Line (about 16 minutes walk), Old Street Station on the Northern Line (about 17 minutes walk) and Liverpool Street Station, which is served by multiple lines, including Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Elizabeth Line (about 23 minutes walk).
What is Columbia Road famous for?
Columbia Road is famous for its excellent flower market. But it’s more than just a flower market. There’s a row of cool independent retailers, unlike almost anywhere else in the UK. A visit to London isn’t complete without a visit to this floral haven!
Columbia Road Market
- Columbia Road Market History
- What’s at Columbia Road Flower Market?
- Columbia Road Flower Market Opening Times
- Columbia Road Location & Map
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