Columbia Road Flower Market


 

Columbia Road Flower Market

My new happy place in London.

 

Amongst its many charms, London is known for its markets. During my recent visit to spend quality time with my sister – she has lived there for over 20 years – I was determined to try and see a few markets, including London’s oldest, Burrough Market which dates back to the 13th century. Sadly, I never made it to Burrough (or others I was hoping to visit), but I did fulfil one long-held wish and spent a happy Sunday morning at Columbia Road Market.

Columbia Road is a colourful, bustling market that is a flower and plant lovers delight. This was the first stall I saw and it instantly put a big smile on my face. Buckets and buckets of cheery tulips are just what you need on a cold, drizzly London morning. Pure heaven for a flower nerd like yours truly.

Tulips | Columbia Road Flower Market

Spring must be on its way.

 

I trekked out to Columbia Road for the flower market but quickly learned that Columbia Road is so much more than flowers and plants. Amongst the stalls selling garden plants, houseplants and countless buckets of cut flowers are many unique shops. From galleries to fashion to cafes to designer housewares, Columbia Road is a place to linger and savour. Mindful of Air Canada’s strict weight limitations I resisted buying too much; a few handcrafted gift tags from J&B and a pretty scarf from Marcos & Trump. I was sorely tempted by just about every piece in Columbia Road Gallery and cursed my limited budget and suitcase space.

After a couple hours of wandering I stopped to warm-up and refuel at the wittily named Lily Vanilli Bakery, just off the main market road. A good strong cup of builder’s tea and one of Lily’s signature goodies were just what I needed. I resisted the mini-carrot cake because of the vegan/gluten-free/good-for-you description. (Don’t all the bad ingredients mean more flavour?) But I was convinced to try one and was not disappointed. It was flavourful, moist and, as you can see, cute as a button.

Lily Vanilli | Mini Carrot Cake

I resisted this gluten-free vegan carrot & root veg mini carrot cake, but it was delicious.

 

Tummy full, I set out on my most difficult mission:  deciding where to buy a few bunches of cheery spring blooms to take back to my sister’s flat. I couldn’t resist picking up some fragrant hyacinths. Their heady fragrance just screams “springtime” and the shade of blue is irresistible. (I love blue flowers for their versatility.) I also picked up some bright yellow freesias, white parrot tulips and spiky eryngium (aka thistle), more blue.

Hyacinths | Columbia Road Market | spring flowers

Fragrant hyacinth, as far as the eye can see.

Regretfully saying cheerio to Columbia Road I grabbed the train back to my sister’s flat. There I created this cute arrangement in a teapot my sister had tucked away in a cupboard. I ask you, what’s more British than flowers in a teapot? My sister was under the weather that Sunday and stayed home, but she was very happy I enjoyed Columbia Road as much as I did.

Flowers in a Teapot | English Floral Design

Does anything scream “British” more than flowers in a teapot?

 

Yes, I missed spending time at some of London’s most historic markets (they’re on the To Do list for my next visit), but I loved every minute spent at Columbia Road.

If you’re planning a trip to London and are interested in visiting some of the city’s many markets your go-to resource is this article in Time Out London. In fact, Time Out is the ultimate guide for anyone visiting this vast, historic and endlessly fascinating city. Samuel Johnson would be pleased: this was my eighth visit and I am far from being tired of London.

 

 

 

 

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