Sundays should be for lazy days and sleeping in. However, Sundays are the only day you will experience the wonderful delight that is the Columbia Road Flower Market. Today was my first visit to this Sunday market which opens from 8am to 2pm. I arrived around 10.30am and the street was already busy, heaving with regular market goers, tourists and curious newbie Londoners like me. The loud calls of the market traders plying their flowers certainly woke any lingering Sunday morning slumber, attracting your attention and your wallet. Closed to traffic for the day between Ravenscroft Street and Ezra Street, the flower stalls line both sides of the street displaying their colourful, vast array of flowers, bouquets and plants. From roses to hydrangeas to gladioli to herbs to lavender to cacti to succulents to palms to bulbs to seedlings to name a few. And a plethora of flowers I had never seen before. Something for everyone would not be an understatement.
Who could resist taking photos of all these delightful flowers and colours? The flower market is a photographers delight. That is if you relish in the hustle and slow shoe shuffle required to see the flowers up close. If you have issues with personal space, then you might want to leave this issue at home when visiting the market. Its a bit of a tight sneeze when making your way up, down and sideways along the street to visit each of the market stalls. Besides forgoing any notion of personal space, you will also have to bring a good dose of patience with you. Especially if you want to stop and photograph in one spot for any length of time. The words “excuse me” repeatedly thrown your way like a forgotten scratched record spinning on a turntable. But thats part of the fun of any busy market. Immersing yourself in the experience and capturing mental or photographic memories along the way.
Behind the flower stalls there are adorable independent local shops catering for the throngs of people who visit the flower market every Sunday. Here you can find your morning coffee fix, organic home-made bread, pastries, bagels, cute childrens clothing, stationery & gifts, homewares, jewellery, art galleries to name a few. Besides the small shops and endless flowers along the street, rustic door frames and charming door knockers also captured my attention. I notice silly little details and I’m sure people think I’m strange taking pictures of rainbow coloured wood on a door frame!
I left the market around 11.30am. Sensory overloaded from the endless range of colourful flowers and thirsting to regain my personal space. As I walked towards Hackney Road to catch my bus, more and more people were streaming towards the market along Columbia Road. Mental note to self – only visit in the ‘quieter‘ morning hours to avoid the lunchtime and early afternoon rush before the market sadly closes for the week.
My verdict is I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the Columbia Road Flower Market. Irresistible like a butterfly drawn to nectar, I will definitely return again soon. Perhaps without my trusty camera so as to step out from behind the lens and focus on the colourful ‘pitch patter’ and banter of the market vendors. Leaving with my arms stacked full of beautiful flowers.
If you love roses, don’t miss the Queen Mary’s Rose Garden in my London Guide: Regents Park Rose Lovers Delight article.