Markets – From London to Cork

I have a thing about markets.  Ever since I moved to London I fell in love with them.  A lot of my weekends I could be found wandering around them, browsing, eating, drinking, and being merry!    Once I had a baby in toe I continued to go probably even more frequently as they were great places for entertainment, there was always so much hustle and bustle it was a mesmerising place for a little girl to be.
I just love the atmosphere, the buzz, the smells, the food, looking at cool new things, generally wishing I was more creative than I actually am.   I always have a dream of having my own market stall, getting crafty……. maybe one day! Always dreaming……
So here is a list of markets I love from London to Cork .  If you are ever in London try one or 2 out or get yourself down to one of the upcoming Cork markets listed here in the Upcoming Events page or the regular farmers markets on each week.  You will hopefully enjoy a take away coffee, some food, get a few gifts,  have a wander and lap up some market atmosphere.    I have had the pleasure of dropping into a few already in recent weeks and sharing some photos below.
I’ll start with Food in London……Borough market is the most famous food market in London and definitely worth a visit with some amazing smells and tastes and stalls you won’t forget quickly.   You can get lost in it for hours and spend a fortune!  It is big so can easily take a buggy and is easy to get around.
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Less known but one that I love is Maltby Street  also close to London bridge,  much smaller but you feel like you are in with the London crew not as touristy as Borough has become.  Very narrow street which is always bustling on a Saturday or Sunday (If you have a baby or a toddler go early)

 

And then back to Cork..….We were so delighted when we moved back to find one of the original farmers markets in Ireland on our doorstep Midleton Farmers Market so I don’t have to miss the London ones too much! I love going here on a Saturday morning for the buzz, a Badger and Dodo coffee, my Ballymaloe jelly jar, my sourdough and a few other bits!    My girls love an old bop to whoever is playing music that day and sometimes there are balloon makers aswell to keep the entertainment going.  Also the likes of Douglas, Mahon and Glanmire also have farmers markets on different days of the week so we are spoiled for choice really.  Not to mention the amazing English Market in the city which I love going into especially around Christmas for a fix of spiced beef.
Greenwich Market is the one dearest to my heart as I lived close to it for 8 of my 11 years in London.  It has loads of stalls of London crafts and a little food section down the back.  It is also surrounded by lots of little independent shops which are great for a browse. I loved every part of it and the nearby Greenwich Park ( I’ll do a post another time on how great Greenwich is for a weekend with the family).     Greenwich Market is open all week and has a different focus each day. I loved vintage day on a Tuesday lots of tea cups and saucers for sale.   I bought way too many on my first maternity leave for my dream coffee shop, you never know my 30 tea cups and saucers may come in handy one day!)
How lucky am I now though to be back in East Cork and have the famous Ballymaloe Fairs not too far away.  They are something I now look forward to well in advance as they remind me of walking around Greenwich or some of the other markets at the weekends.  I actually wish there was one on every weekend but sure I can’t really complain as there is something for everyone throughout the year….. most recently the Ballymaloe Craft Fair where I got some lovely pieces from @orlaovisualart and a lovely book from local authors @chookandmoo.  In September the Garden Festival is on.  I brought my beloved Mammy and Daddy there, they loved it.  It was a fabulous opportunity to walk around Ballymaloe gardens.  The Food and Lit Fest in May where I got that amazing looking food in the picture and also the Vintage Fair in March… they all keep me going for my market craving!
So the Ballymaloe Craft fair, Midleton Craft Fair, the City Hall Craft fair have passed and so is the Imperial Vintage fair but DO NOT DESPAIR.……. It is December and there are a few more on and very local indeed. See Upcoming Events …. The likes of  Sage Courtyard market is on this weekend on the 4th,  aswell as the Fota Frameyard Christmas Fair, Market Cafe in Cloyne has a little after-hours market on 1st Dec, and Garryvoe Hotel is hosting the East Cork Christmas market on the 11th.   Get yourselves down to one of them for some local gifts for Christmas!
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Other major London favourites of mine but I may be boring you by now so I’ll be quick…….
* Old Spitalfields Market right next to Liverpool street station and was close to where I worked so I frequented here a lot.  It has so much to offer on everyday of the week from food to shops and market stalls.  If you get the Stansted Express in be sure to call in before you go to your final destination as it is well worth a visit.  Loads of space no problem for kids and buggies to wander with you.
* Broadway Market in Hackey it is a bit like Maltby Market, you feel like you left the tourists behind and you are experiencing a true Saturday morning with a Londoner.  Has food and crafts, music, lovely pubs nearby, definitely worth a wander.  Totally grand for a buggy or toddler but not the easiest to get to by Tube.
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* Camden Market   North London, I loved and went here a lot in my first few years of London but the thought of a 45 minute tube with a buggy made me not go as often in my final few years in London.  If you are less kids or staying close to the area, it is magical so definitely take a trip up to this cool part of town and you can go for a wander along the canal and go to the nearby Regents Park for the Zoo.
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* Columbia Road Flower Market is the most amazing flower market… it is madness on a Saturday I wouldn’t advise it with a buggy unless you get their at the crack of dawn.  I tried it with a buggy a few times but it got a tad cramped when the crowds arrived!
I took all the photos on various iPhones over the years so sorry if some of the quality is dodgy.  Got me a bit nostalgic looking back over all the old photos, pre and post babies but I am so happy to be back in Cork with my family with such lovely markets on my doorstep to get my fix in.
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