Spitalfields Market is one of the most interesting areas in London, with a fascinating combination of old and new. The market itself dates from the 13th century and the area takes its name from St Mary’s Spittel, a former hospital and priory.
So let’s take a peek inside the market first…
On Saturdays, there’s a Style Market which is well worth a look. It’s a good place to pick up gifts and quirky clothing. Once a month, there’s also an Arts Market which runs from Thursday to Sunday, featuring affordable artworks displayed for sale on Market Street.
There are also plenty of shops and restaurants that are open throughout the week. Two of my favourites that are actually inside the market are Blixen for brunch or cocktails and Taberna do Mercado for Portugese comfort food by celebrated chef Nuno Mendes. He cooks here quite a lot and like us, you might get the surprise of seeing him in the downstairs kitchen, whilst you’re en route to the restroom!
Exiting the market on Brushfield Street, we admired the retro shop front of Verde & Company. Spitalfields has some really beautiful Georgian buildings and this delicatessen owned by Jeanette Winterson, the author of Oranges are not the Only Fruit, is no exception. The area was home to many French Huguenots from 1685 who were expert silk weavers.
Virtually opposite, you’ll come across this modern sculpture named I Goat by Kenny Hunter. In the background, Christ Church Spitalfields stands proud. Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the baroque style, it’s considered to be one of his finest works.
Another great place to eat is Galvin HOP on Spital Square for craft beer and pub food. Its more elaborate counterpart, Galvin La Chapelle next door is set in a former Victorian chapel.
And one of my favourite London hotels is just around the corner on Folgate Street – the eccentric Batty Langley’s. With antiques galore, canopied beds and rolltop marble baths, it fits right into the area. A few doors down is the unique museum, Dennis Sever’s House which imagines the life of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers. If you can, try to visit during one of their “Silent Nights” when the house is lit by candlelight.
We finished our stroll with a quick visit to Brick Lane to pick up some chocolates at Dark Sugars – seriously good if you’ve not yet tried them! Their cardamon and orange truffles were my faves though the mango pipettes came pretty close. We passed this photogenic pair of houses along the way. All in all, Spitalfields never fails to surprise me with its unique architecture, cool shops and eateries.
Do you have a favourite restaurant or shop in Spitalfields?