London flower markets have vibrant, colourful displays and are, frankly, blooming wonderful. Whether you’re filling a bathtub with rose petals, walking down the aisle with a bouquet of seasonal blossom or just looking for a colourful start to a grey day, the flower markets in London are a great starting point.
Take in the aroma of freshly cut flowers and discover horticultural magic before most of London is awake at London’s flower markets, each of which has its own charm and character. This is our guide to visiting the best flower markets in London.
Columbia Road Flower Market London
Every Sunday morning from 8am till 3pm (ish), Columbia Market in London’s East End transforms into a corridor of colourful plants and flowers. The scents, the displays and the cockney banter from the stall holders make this a Sunday treat for the senses. Columbia Road has been home to an open-air Sunday flower market since the 19th century when plants were brought in from nearby market gardens by handcart for local people with small gardens to populate.
Despite a decline in the 1970s, Columbia Road Flower Market, between London’s Bethnal Green and Shoreditch, flourished again in the 1980s. Today, the market and local shops teem with life. The market’s fresh stock has to be gone by 3pm, so expect to hear a frenzy of deals shouted mid- afternoon.
Among the horticulture, there are stalls selling ceramics, art prints and cupcakes, and small shops sell vintage clothing, homeware and garden gifts. There are also some lovely pubs nearby that serve delicious Sunday roasts for lunch. All in all, the perfect lazy Sunday in London.
New Covent Garden Flower Market
New Covent Garden Flower Market: London and the UK’s biggest flower market, and, despite the name, is actually near Battersea Power Station in Nine Elms. Many people confuse this with the old Covent Garden Market in Central London. This flower market moved from Covent Garden in the 1980s but kept its name. It supplies 75 per cent of London’s florist shops with the freshest blooms, so the floral displays here are huge, fresh and scented.
Walking into New Covent Garden Flower Market in London’s Battersea can feel like stepping into a colourful fairytale world – particularly when it’s pre-dawn, and it’s cold and dark outside. This market opens Monday to Saturdays at 4am. By 8am, many blooms have gone, and by 10am most traders have packed up and gone home.
It’s worth noting this is not a tourist spot and photos are not allowed. This is where traders sell flowers in bulk and wholesale, mostly to florists and garden centres and the occasional wedding planner. The good news is there are occasional ticketed public tours of New Covent Garden Flower Market, for London visitors keen to see the colourful spectacle. Otherwise, if you want to visit and buy, you’ll need to be up with the sparrows, be prepared to buy more than a bunch and be ready to haggle.
Berwick Street Market
If you just want to pick up a bunch of gorgeous flowers without venturing out of Central London or buying wholesale, then take a trip to Soho’s Berwick Street Market. This 18th-century market is open Monday to Saturdays, 8am to 6pm, and is just steps from Oxford Street. It’s also home to London’s oldest florist stall, Ronnie’s Flowers. This family-run stall has been a stalwart of the market since 1964, selling bunches of freshly cut seasonal flowers. You can also pick up fresh fruit and veg, baked goods and plenty of street food too. It’s well worth grabbing a snack while you select your bunch of fresh flowers to take home and put on display.
New Spitalfields Market
Like New Covent Garden Market not being in Covent Garden, New Spitalfields Market is not in Spitalfields. Not to be mistaken for Old Spitalfields Market (which is in Spitalfields), this wholesale flower market is in Leyton, East London, and is one for the night owls. New Spitalfields Market is open from midnight to 9am Monday to Saturday, selling fresh flowers and produce. There’s plenty of fruit and vegetables and an abundance of freshly cut flowers in bulk.
The market is vast, and the advice for members of the public who want to pop in is to avoid the rush hours between midnight and 3am – and be aware most traders shut by 7am. That’s a short early-hour window of 3am to 7am for hardened flower lovers. It’s perfect if you need a floral display for a celebration, and you could also stock up on exotic fruit and vegetables for your event at the same time.
Flower markets in London can be a simple market stall or a vast wholesale trading floor. It’s likely wholesale flower markets in London will expect to sell in bulk and will haggle prices based on quantity. It’s good to know what to expect and an early start gives you your pick of the best blooms.
Get a good night’s rest or grab an afternoon nap after your flower market trip by staying at The Clermont, Victoria or The Clermont, Charing Cross where you can expect timeless elegance and warm hospitality.