So, after a crazy summer of adapting to motherhood and moving house, I've finally found a quiet moment to hop back into the blogging saddle again. And what better suggestion for autumn than a visit to Columbia Road in East London. Not just for its terrific and iconic Sunday flower market, but also for its multitude of excellent cafes, restaurants, shops and pubs. Whether you're after daffs in spring, roses in summer, pumpkins in autumn or Christmas trees in winter, Columbia Road flower market is a floral and foliage haven.
Columbia Road is busy on a Sunday, very busy, but it's worth the mayhem just to soak up the flower market buzz and bag yourself a bargain. Especially if you're there just before closing time when the stall holders are shouting over one another to offer you "two bunches for a fiver!" You know you're in the right vicinity when you see endless smiling punters heading towards Hoxton or Shoreditch, awkwardly armed with massive bunches of gladioli and lilies, regal orchids, hardy laurels, boxes of herbs, wafting hyacinths, giant yukkas and sprawling fig plants. And if you appreciate music, Columbia Road is home to some of London's best street buskers by far!
Once you've survived the crowds, the pollen and the heady floral fragrances of the market, you'll probably be ready for a stiff drink and a hearty Sunday roast. I recommend The Royal Oak, a proper boozer offering just that. If you're a meat eater, you may want to dine at 'Brawn' which serves fantastic mainly meaty treats. If it's more of a cafe vibe you're after, then the Jones Dairy shop and cafe just around the corner on Ezra Street, is a delight.
There are also a load of great shops and art galleries along Columbia Road selling all sorts of interesting artefacts, gifts, cupcakes, antiques and nick-nacks. The only downside is that most of them only open at the weekend to make the most of the market punters, which is a shame, as Columbia Road is also a lovely place to frequent on a weekday when it's peaceful and crowd-free. Come rain or shine, a visit to Columbia Road flower market is a Sunday well spent.
Columbia Road, E2
Flower Market Open every Sunday (inc Easter) 8am - 3pm
Hoxton (London Overground)
Old Street (Northern Line tube)