Christmas at Columbia Road Flower Market , Hackney, East London, E2 7RG
The festive build up to Christmas at Columbia Road Flower Market in the East End, is like a scene out of ‘Love Actually’. It’s where Londoners go to buy evergreens and enjoy brunch on Sunday mornings.
Londoners go to Columbia Road to buy Christmas trees and evergreens
Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly
In early December, trendy Londoners and tourists in-the-know, flock to Columbia Road Flower Market on Sunday mornings to buy everything they need to ‘deck the halls with boughs of holly’. Last Sunday, it was buzzing with the excitement of people buying Christmas trees, bunches of mistletoe, branches of red berries and garlands, to decorate their homes. Stands brimmed with colourful Christmas wreaths ready to adorn London’s smart front doors and announce that the festive season has begun in the city. Extra Christmas shimmer came too from the Pearly King and Prince spotted amongst the crowds.
Christmas berries and foliage
Colourful Christmas wreaths
Have a Festive Breakfast
The market traders set up their stands early so many people come along bleary-eyed from the night before, ready for a strong coffee and an East End breakfast. For over thirty years, the family-run Café Columbia has been serving bagels every week so it’s traditional for shoppers to eat one for breakfast. Choose old favourites like smoked salmon & cream cheese, crayfish tails with cream cheese or a cranberry Christmas turkey festive special, maybe with a glass of mulled wine?
Have Christmas Coffee in a Cowshed
There are coffee stalls squeezed in doorways and shop windows but if you want to sit at a table and people watch, try S. Jones on Erza Street. A century ago, it was a Dairy selling milk, butter and cheese from 8 cows kept in the cowshed behind the shop. Today in the café – the former cowshed – you can enjoy a great coffee but also a fresh fish and oyster brunch. For freshly baked bread and mince pies, pop into The Pavilion Bakery, and for gorgeous and very pretty cakes, Lilli Vanilli, in the courtyard, is the place to go.
Mince pies at the Pavilion Bakery
Cakes at the Lili Vanilli Bakery
Go Vintage Shopping
The flower market is sandwiched between Columbia Road’s two rows of Victorian shops. Proudly independent, they burst with vintage finds and the creative expression of their owners. It’s the place to source unique and one-off gifts many made by local artisans and designers. What to Buy: Champagne coupes (and vintage handbags) from Glitterati, Portugese food specialities from A Portugese Love Affair, kitchenalia from Pot Luck, scents and candles from Angela Flanders.
Vintage handbags at Glitterati
Traditional Christmas decorations
- Columbia Road Flower Market takes places on Sundays from 8am-3pm
- Arrive after 2pm and the market traders starting cutting their prices, shouting ‘everything for a fiver’
- Special Christmas shopping evenings are on Wednesdays in December from 5pm-9pm
- Combine with a visit to the Christmas Past Exhibition at the Geffrye Museum which is a short walk away
How to Find Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road Flower Market, Hackney, East London, E2 7RG
The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.