Brixton Market is a place of two halves. It is full of its famous multi-cultural food stalls which never fail to make me feel like I’ve been transported far from London with their smells and noises. Yet it is also developing into a bohemian hub. Next to the fish and vegetable stalls you can now find quirky independent vintage shops, cafes and restaurants. There is something for everyone here and it’s a real experience. While in the area why not see a film at the Ritzy cinema or visit the Viewfinder photography gallery.
Electric Avenue, Brixton, London, SW9 8JX
Not open Sundays, late night opening on Thursdays – check the website for exact times.
Closest tube: Brixton (Victoria Line) Closest station: Brixton (National rail)
Google map: bit.ly/ii1kHq
Situated within an old train carriage this café is truly individual. Its exterior is regularly up-dated with brilliant local graffiti art and there’s a great outdoor terrace in the summer. Inside it’s bright and airy with interesting art hanging about. The menu is great value and everything is freshly made. It’s got a buzzy atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s run by a local art collective and in the community space surrounding the café there are often special events and craft markets. Visit on a Saturday morning and combine your trip with a visit to the Deptford junk market.
Ever wondered where Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg got their dancing shoes from? The supplier of ballet companies throughout the world, Repetto is an artisan chausseur worth the detour. One piece of advice: wait for the sales!
A home-made cake stall found at Dorchester Farmers' Market selling the most scrumptious looking cakes. I bought the best Dorset Apple Cake I've ever eaten - thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Can't wait for their return next month.
1 Quarr Farm Cottages, Quarr Lane, Lytchett Matravers, Poole
They told me they sell at Dorset Farmers' Markets in Blandford Forum, Broadstone and Dorchester.
The longest notionally pedestrianised street (police cars, taxi's, residents and rickshaws regularly travel up and down it) in Europe at five km. Some of the best selection of bars, restaurants and with some shopping, are to be found on this street, with outside bars during the summer.
There are many fine buildings on this street and you will also find the former home and statue of Artur Rubinstein, born in Lodz 1887.
In the centre of Lodz about a kilometre west, of the main railway and bus station, Lodz Fabryczna.
Google map: bit.ly/edtpVq
It is easy to shop til you drop in Bangkok but it can be an overwhelming experience in the heat, with the number of people on the streets and the choice on offer. Siam Paragon is a very modern high-end mall with all the designer labels and a big department store if you have big bucks to spend. It is actually worth visiting just for the fantastic open-plan food level with a huge choice of eateries including sushi, burgers, pizza, bakery and some very cheap Thai meals in the food court canteen which looked popular with locals. The supermarket seems pretty expensive though perhaps catering more to wealthy expats with money to burn on brands they recognise.
Opposite this mall is the Siam Center which has more high street clothes shops.
The Suan Lum night bazaar (nearest station Lumphini) has a great atmosphere with open-air bars and live music, definitely for tourists not locals but you can haggle and there are some good quality stalls and little boutiques run by small local designers and artists among the tat and souvenirs so you can find some unusual crafts and clothes. You can also get a foot massage or a fish spa and get a good cheap meal in the central food court. The night market at Patpong is not as seedy as you might think but only really sells the tourist tat like logo T-shirts and fake watches. You will be offered entry to a ping-pong show several times but the touts don’t hassle you much and there is nothing offensive on the street it’s all behind closed doors so you might just see a glimpse of a girl in a bikini. There are a couple of good shops offering the better standard of copy if you’re in the market for a fake handbag but they’re fairly arrogant about the value of their merchandise and start negotiations at inflated prices so it can be hard to make them budge enough to really get a real deal.
The main market experience in Bangkok is undoubtedly Chatuchak (also called JJ’s) which is only on at weekends. You can get the Skytrain to Mo Chit or use the Metro. It is an amazing sight to behold and hard work on a hot day but there is so much to see and Thai families come for a day out so it’s not just for tourists. There are plenty of weird and wonderful things to buy and eat. The fresh coconut icecream is delicious! Another place you can buy anything and everything but with aircon is MBK which is a huge shopping centre not far from the others at Siam but in a very different style. It is set over seven enormous floors and is more like an indoor market with hundreds of small shops and stalls and although you can get a map to help you navigate it would still be easy to lose track of time or the will to live if you’re not a hardcore bargain hunter. If you want to get round a few of these shopping areas, it is definitely worth getting to grips with the Skytrain system to avoid the traffic but the taxis outside the rush hour are fairly cheap as long as you make sure they use the meter which some drivers refuse to and quote a set rate upfront.
991/1 Rama 1 Road Pathumwan Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Google map: bit.ly/fov4tQ
MBK Center, 444 Phayathai Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok
Google map: bit.ly/fDpj4A
Tucked under the arcades behind the souvenir stalls at the Rialto, on the market side of the bridge, Pied à Terre sells handsome, handmade, brocade, silk and velvet slippers in bright colours. Inspired by 18th century Venetian styles – my favourites are the Venetian and Sabot designs – along with the famous Furlane slippers, these unique take-homes originated in the early 20th century in the Friuli Venezia Giulia countryside. There, the peasant-farmers couldn’t afford leather footwear, so they recycled rags, jute bags and old bicycle tyres to make their shoes. Following World War Two, the women, desperate to earn some income to feed their families, travelled to Venice to sell their shoes. The story goes that the gondoliers were the first to adopt the shoes after realizing their soft sole wouldn’t scratch their boats, and soon after everyone had a pair. Pied à Terre makes their soles from old tyres and uses rich (often recycled) fabrics for the uppers. You can also take your own material to the shop and order a bespoke pair.
Bookbinder Paolo Olbi is one of Venice’s last great artisans. He has two lovely shops on Campo Santa Maria Nova and Calle della Mandola where he sells his beautiful handmade note pads, address books, photo albums, stationery, and business cards. If you don’t find Paolo at work in the backroom, embossing patterns into the leather covers of notebooks, he’s probably at his atmospheric workshop in the Castello, with his typesetter Beppi, where he welcomes interested visitors. We visited one Saturday morning, and he spent a couple of hours taking us through the fascinating process, from how they create the wood plates for the book-covers, inspired by old Venetian designs, to binding the books by hand. I already purchased half a dozen notebooks to give to friends, but he gave us a money-holder as a gift and took us for a glass of wine at the local bar to thank us for our interest. That’s Venetians for you!
Calle della Mandola, San Marco 3653, Venice: +39(0)41 528 5025
Gouba started up again for spring Sunday 13 March.
This modern bazaar is located in the unique architectural gem, the Gozsdu udvar (courtyard passageway between Kiraly utca and Dob utca in the heart of Pest's Jewish quarter).
Unique antiques, gifts, gastronomy, performances. Try Hungarian palinka (fruit brandy) or fine local wines.
KIraly utca 13 and Dob utca 16, Budapest
Every Sunday 10am to 6pm (although you can walk through Gozsdu udvar at any time during the day, the gates are closed at night)
19th century industrial quarter that has been given a makeover so that old factory buildings have been renovated to create bars, galleries and trendy shops.
Just outside old town off Mere pst.
While Tallinn has no shopping streets as such, the main shopping centre is Viru Keskus (Viru Centre) just outside the old town across from the Viru gate.
Tallinn's homegrown department store Tallinna Kaubamaja is connected to Viru Centre.
The Finnish department store Stockmann is located a few streets away on Liivalaia 53.
Viru Keskus (Viru Centre) Viru valjak 4
Google map: bit.ly/fOitec
Tallinna Kaubamaja Gonsiori 2 (accessible via Viru centres)
Stockmann Liivalaia 53
Kolaportið is Iceland's only flea market. It takes place at weekends in a large warehouse building by the harbour.
In Kolaportið you can buy everything from old records to jewellery to voluminous knitted patterned jumpers to liquorice to second hand clothing to vacuum-packed salmon to fermented shark. Kolaportið is open only during weekends.
Pezenas is a historic village in the Languedoc famous for its antique and bric a brac dealers. On the first Sunday in May hundreds (lots anyway!) of "brocanteurs" take over the streets of Pezenas to display their wares. Great if you want to stock up for a new house or get into renovating beautiful old wooden furniture.
20 mins from Beziers airport, serviced by Ryanair from Bristol & Luton or 45 mins from Montpellier from Stansted, Gatwick and others.
www.pezenas-couvent.com as an accommodation option, others at the pezenas tourist office: www.ot-pezenas-valdherault.com/index.php?lang=en
Google map: bit.ly/epCnOS
We stayed there for 9 days last month and it was very good, comfortable and quiet apartment and right by the river and the Vaci shopping street. The owner was very helpfull even before we arrived in his emails and gave us a lot of good advices about where to go and what to see and so on. Even when we got there he took us on a short walk to show us where everything is in the area so really good service. We are going again later in this year when the weather gets warmer so that we can enjoy the balcony and views. We really recomend this place to stay in Budapest.
Found this place on tripadvisor but they have a web site www.budapestvacationservice.com. The street name is Regi Posta Street.
A lively and varied mixed market held every Wednesday for the last 700 years or so. Everything from veg to fish, and socks to tap fixings. Bigger and busier in the summer, but worth visiting at other times to hear Welsh being spoken and to buy the best home produced pork you can find. Really fantastic cheese stall too, and one selling local produce. Stall selling things made out of slate and felt, and one selling organic veg, as well as very wide range of other stalls.
Main High St (Maengwyn Street) Machynlleth, SY20.
Parking difficult in summer holidays, find a place as you enter town.
Google map: bit.ly/hab3JI
For a market with great food and a great atmosphere, try the one in La Rochelle, a beautifully maintained harbour town on the Atlantic coast in western France. We stumbled across it as we strolled through the deserted streets of the old town on a quiet sunny Sunday morning. As we moved further away from the harbour, we noticed the narrow streets becoming livelier, filling with people carrying bags of fruit and vegetables, bunches of colourful flowers and the obligatory baguette, its top - as so often is the case - missing, presumed eaten already. Housed in and around an ornate 19th century market hall surrounded by bustling restaurants and cafes, this market has it all. Amazing fresh and varied seafood (cooked and uncooked) laid out artistically on ice beds, meats, charcuterie, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, cakes and pastries, chocolates and some of the nicest and most enticing traiteurs we've seen in France for a long while. Made ravenous by the smell of baking wafting about us, we set about buying up a picnic to eat at the harbour's edge, watching the yachts bobbing up and down in the gentle sway.The food was delicious. The memories linger on.
Every morning at the Place du Marche, La Rochelle. To stay, try Masqhotel (17 Rue de L'ouvrage à Cornes, 17000 La Rochelle; www.masqhotel.com), a conveniently situated modern hotel.
Google map: bit.ly/edRwUa
I know that this might be a long way to go for food but just the mention of it makes my taste buds tingle and I am trying not to drool over my keyboard as I write this.
Not only are there rows upon rows of stalls selling organic fruit and vegetables, but there are also Ollie Bollens (a Dutch doughnut.)
A stall that claims it sells the smallest doughnuts on the planet, Sweets and Treats, sells the freshest crumbliest shortbread I have ever tasted, giandujah a slab of soft chocolate with whole hazelnuts, and another chocolate that is like a cherry ripe (coconut mixed in with cherries squashed between two layers of dark chocolate).
As you walk around filling your bags with goodies for later your nose twitches with the smells of satays, noodles, spring rolls, German sausages all these made by the wide ethnic mixture of people who live on this island.
The market is flanked by sandstone buildings which used to be warehouses for ancient mariners who fished for whales. They are now craft shops, galleries, restaurants and second hand book shops.
And don’t worry about gaining weight, the stalls are along a long street that is blocked off for this occasion every Saturday and if you feel naughty at having sampled all the products you can always run up and down Kelly’s Steps (named after one of these successful fishermen) a few times which take you in the direction of Battery point.
Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania 7000
(Near the waterfront in the centre)
Google map: bit.ly/hvJGWq
The islet of Trogir is a popular Croatian tourist destination and World Heritage site. Billionaires park their yachts here during the summer months. However, a short walk round the town and away from the quayside leads you to a causeway back to the mainland and the extensive daily market. Under an array of shady parasols local produce – fruit, preserves, fresh herbs, cheeses and vegetables - is displayed in abundance and elderly Croatian ladies are set up round the edges with tiny trestle tables, eager to sell you their pots of honey and hand-picked crops; anything from plums to courgettes. Afterward you can pick up a coffee and a Croatian pastry in one of the nearby bakery stalls.
Trogir is on the Dalmatian coast about 20 miles from Split. The market is just off the main road beside the causeway that leads on to Trogir island.
The market at the Quai Ste Antoine on the banks of the Saone offers food and flavours from across all southern France in one place. Local market gardeners jostle with producers from Provence. A must for all visitors to Lyon.
Quai Ste Antoine in Lyon
Google map: bit.ly/f0LtIA
A fascinating market which reflects the diversity of the local population.
A stroll down Atlantic Road and Electric Avenue in the centre of Brixton will take you past well established British fishmongers and more recently arrived Portuguese grocers. Further into the market are the stalls and shops stocking Caribbean staples, salt fish, plantains, green bananas and cassava. Butchers shops cater to many different communities, some are halal some sell pig's trotters and tails. Others sell Brazilian sausages or Columbian delicacies. In the last 12 months the Brixton Village project has seen the development of previously empty market units so that there are now new shops and stalls in the Granville Arcade, sitting alongside those selling dried fish from West Africa and a bewildering variety of yams. These ventures include small independent coffee shops and pizza restaurants, bakeries and an old fashioned sweet shop. Best of all there is always something new and especially on a Saturday you never know what you may find.
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