Last Updated on 11 February, 2023
Right in the heart of London’s Borough of Tower Hamlets is where you will find Columbia Road Flower Market. A must-visit for any one visiting London, including Londoners. One of London’s famous Sunday markets is located just off Hackney Road. This street of Victorian shops is open on only Sundays from 8 am-3 pm. Certainly, Columbia Road Flower Market is a flower lover’s paradise in East London! This is among the very best London markets you need to visit.
Every Sunday, market traders line the narrow street selling buckets full of flowers, houseplants, herbs, bulbs, and shrubs. The beautiful flower bucket view and amazing pot plants definitely make you want to shop.
It’s worth shopping around, so don’t be afraid to barter and be ready to get very busy. The market is very popular and famous among locals and tourists.
So, during the midday rush is rammed with people elbowing their way to that beautiful pot plant. If you like to avoid crowds or just want to guarantee the pick of the crop, arrive when the market opens at 8 am.
History of Columbia Road Flower Market
It first began as a Saturday trading market but was then changed to a Sunday, in an attempt to accommodate the local Jewish market traders. This change also made way for the opportunity for Covent Garden and Spitalfields traders to sell their supplies left over from Saturday.
The long-lasting interest and demand for cut flowers and plants were introduced to the East End by Huguenot immigrants (driven from France), alongside a fascination for caged songbirds – the pub at the end of the Columbia road market is called The Birdcage.
The Columbia Flowers Market suffered in World War II from rules prioritising food production. So, it went into a long decline. A huge civilian shelter under the market suffered a direct hit by a 50 kg bomb in September 1940. After 20 years, new rules forced traders to attend regularly from the 1960s.
What are the highlights of Columbia Road Flower Market?
Columbia Road Flower Market is a must-visit for anyone planning a trip to London, even locals because of its super-colourful displays. It has around 49 tenants selling different plants, vases, and flowers.
Here you can buy everything from banana trees to bedding plants. One of the most beautiful highlights of the market is its fragrant blooms. Ensure to browse for perfect blooms and gardening essentials at the fantastic Columbia Road Flower Market.
When you’ve bought your blooms, discover behind the stalls and down the streets to find fantastic cafés, independent restaurants, delis, amazing shops, antique dealers, vintage stalls, and small art galleries, many of which follow the Columbia Flowers Market’s opening hours.
Open every Sunday in east London, Columbia Flower Market is full of friendly flower sellers, many of which grow their own plants. Several flower sellers in the market also import their plants from around the world.
Things To Do Near Columbia Road Flower Market
Among the many cool and fun things to do in Shoreditch is the flower market and beyond that are a few more places to visit nearby.
- Grab a salt beef bagel from Beigel Bake
- Check out Brick Lane Market
- Visit the many vintage store and markets that line Brick Lane.
- Check out Backyard Market
- See Princelet Street’s old Georgian houses.
- Explore Hackney City Farm Yard.
- Museum of the Home
- Visit Spitalfields Market
- The Truman Brewery Market
- Spitalfields City Farm
Columbia Road Flower Market Restaurants And Cafes
If you want to combine your visit to Columbia Road Flower Market with breakfast, brunch or even lunch there are many options.
- Bird Cage Pub – serving up food you can pair up with a pint of beer. From Mac & Cheese, sharing platters of chicken and cauliflower wings, sausage and mash, Steak and Chips. See their menu here.
- Lupo’s – you can grab salt beef bagels, fried egg sandwiches, bacon and sausage sandwich or baguettes
- Hermanos – Columbian Coffee Roasters. If you are starting the market early this should be your first stop as they open from 7am. You can also grab some pastries to go with your coffee. They also sell coffee you can take home with you.
- Pavilion Bakery – Grab everything from freshly baked sourdough bread to pastries which you can pair with specialty coffees, chai and teas. The shop also sells a small selection of grocery items; eggs, jams, spreads, olive oils, organic non-dairy milk, and honey.
- Cafe Columbia
- Jack Garcia
- Cheeky Chicos
- Lily Vanilli on Ezra Street – A cute cafe tacked away in its very own courtyard. Grab a slice of cake and tea and enjoy at one of the courtyard tables.
- Campania and Jones Italian – Located on Ezra Street. Serving up freshly made pasta and sauces to match. You can also walk away with some pasta from their shop.
Parking Near Columbia Road Flower Market
I highly recommend getting a bus but if you prefer to bring a car, there is plenty of parking from what I could see. I came in via Hackney Road entrance to Columbia Road.
From that entry to the street, all the way up to Chambord Street, you have a combination of paid parking spots(see image below) and also single yellow line with plenty of parking spots. I saw people parked in Chambord Street as well. A lot of the streets are marked as resident parking only from 8 am until 2 pm.
If you are coming to Columbia Road for the last hour’s bargain then you will be in luck with ample parking options as after 2 pm you can mark in any of the streets marked as resident only until 2pm.
Is Columbia Road flower market worth visiting?
Is Columbia Road cash only?
While this might have been the case before the pandemic, things have now changed. Many if not all of the stalls take cards as you can see in many of the pictures in the post. During my recent visit to Columbia Road, I paid for my flowers by card.