8 June 2014

Columbia Road Flower Market

I love Summer and I especially love spending Summer weekends exploring the markets of London. And this market is a beauty. 

Columbia Road, located a short walk from Old Street, is fun to visit any day of the week with it's row of boutiques offering a variety of wares including a shop selling more Audrey Hepburn hats than you could ever wear. Plus it has some of the best coffee in London, of which the novelty of Start Coffee as a doorway coffee shop has not been lost by me yet (this is probably mostly owing to their excellent muffins). 

However, every Sunday morning Columbia Road transforms into a heaving flower market. A word to the wise this might not be the market for you if you're agoraphobic as the stalls are set up on both sides of the street and there are two single streams of people going through these stalls in opposite directions. But armed with a litre bottle of water and blueberry muffins, having taken hayfever tablets and with a positive mental attitude you're ready to take it on (blueberry muffins are optional, however, Emily and I found they were a necessity at the time of our visit). In addition, get there early! How early is really up to you, but I'd normally get there for about 9am, Emily and I actually turned up at 11.30am when we went and this was the latest I've arrived as the market which starts shutting down from 12am depending on when they sell out.

There are fresh cut flowers a plenty, hydrangeas and peonies are plentiful right now and this market sells them at prices significantly lower than what you'd pay at a florist and a cut above what you'd pay in the supermarket. Although what supermarket sells the type of flowers or the quality you'll get here I do not know. Emily was completely taken with the blue hydrangeas, they were huge and one stall was selling three heads for £10 the only issue we could see being that we didn't have enough vases to put them in! I love freesias, something I take from my mum and I was surprised to see so many at the market, the scent of which mixed with the peonies was blissful. 

The hawkers at the market might be famous for their cut flowers, but that is not all they have to offer. There are stalls selling garden and house plants, of which the foxgloves, already on shelving units but standing tall against the second floor of the shops either side, were beautiful and having recently been to Dan's brother's wedding (Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs!) where their display of them in their church was amazing they are a new favourite. 

From a stall specialising in herbs, I picked up some lemon thyme, Thai basil and Vietnamese coriander. They are quite easy to keep providing you don't overwater them, I point this out because we bought a Vietnamese coriander last year and that's exactly what happened and the fact that Dan used to be crazy about giving it plant food. Many a plant has been lost to Dan and his plant food. 

Once you're done with the market, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants I'd like to share with you the street that runs parallel to Columbia Road (turn right at the end). But what's on this street, nothing really except the most gorgeous coral front door amongst 40 other coloured front doors!! Who knew, except the residents, and now me and Emily, and now you, and everyone else who's ever visited this street. 

Go see the doors! (Also, how much do we all love Emily's charity shop shirt, excellent find!)

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