London Mini Guide To

Exploring London: Columbia Road Flower Market

August 7, 2018
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market

Do you ever feel like you need to do the most with your days off? Maybe it’s because in the last 4 years that I’ve been in the UK (and fully employed) Sundays were my only reliable day off. Even now, my days off are Fridays and Sundays. Fridays usually end up being a work day in regard to blogging, but Sundays are always free. I do sometimes feel the pressure to make sure I’m being productive, but then other times, I feel like I’m allowed to just have a lazy day. My intention with this past Sunday was just to get up and go get myself some sunflowers. I brought my camera along just in case, but honestly, it was just about having a nice morning with a pal. We decided to get up early and head to Columbia Road Flower Market, just for a bit of Sunday excitement!

Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market

I’ve posted about Columbia Road before because I do love it, but I don’t actually go very often. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in the last few years. Still, every once in a while I have a little inclination. Have you been before? It can be a little bit intense and busy, but personally, I think it’s worth getting up a little early and making the trek. Nicole and I got there around 8am, so while it was still busy, it wasn’t totally rammed. I love walking along the road and seeing all the gorgeous blooms. When certain things are in season, it’s a great place to stop, especially as the flowers last so long! I’ve bought peonies and tulips and stuff from Sainsbury’s and they’re dead in a few days. Whenever I buy flowers from Columbia Road, they always last ages!

Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market

Despite the fact that it was a little early, Nicole and I couldn’t resist popping into Lily Vanilli either for some sweet treats. I was rather desperate for a coffee, and then was so tempted by the berry pound cake. We split one over a nice latte and just had a nice catch up. Sometimes Columbia Road can be a bit manic, so it was so nice just to sit for a little bit. Actually, it’s not just Columbia Road that can feel manic; summer in general feels really busy. There’s all sorts happening, and the days are light for so long, I feel like I need to make the most of it. Is that just me? The second September hits, I’ll be in ‘back to school’ mode, even eight years after leaving higher education. Old habits, you know? August is a busy month for me already, but taking the time to have a simple Sunday morning actually felt really nice! I followed up our trip to Columbia Road with a chilled out day at home, and it was nothing short of perfect!

First timer to Columbia Road? My top tips are below!

Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market
Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market

5 tips for a great trip to Columbia Road Flower Market

Tip #1: Get Up Early! The market starts around 7am, and even though that’s really early, most people don’t get there until about 10am. We got there a little after 8am, and the crowds weren’t full steam ahead just yet. We were able to make a few leisurely laps of the market before we decided on our purchases. By the time we left at about 10:15, it was absolutely heaving. Take it from me… set an alarm clock and get up there early. Your experience will be so much more enjoyable!

Tip #2: Bring Cash and Have Patience! Not every single vendor takes card, though some of them do. Bring cash to avoid disappointment! I always bring about Β£20 with me, and when I arrive at Columbia Road, I do one walk through to see what’s catching my eye. There will be repeat things, but different vendors will have different deals, and sometimes different prices. Having cash and taking my time allow me to make sure I get what I want and what I can carry home!

Tip #3: Stop For A Coffee! Now, if you’re anything like me, getting up before 9am on a Sunday is totally allowance for a cheeky latte. Luckily, there are a number of stops you can make if you need a caffeine fix! We popped into Lilli Vanilli, but there is also Campania (they have a cute little take-out window!), Laxeira, StArt Coffee, Cafe Columbia, and Bread Coffee Goods. You’ll definitely find something to suit your fancy!

Tip #4: Don’t Ignore The Little Shops! Columbia Road Flower Market is of course considered the piece de resistance, but that’s not all that’s there! I’m very much on a homewares kick at the moment (remember when I went to Bicester Village and came home with a teapot? Yeah…), and we popped into a few shops to see what they had. I spotted some totally dreamy textiles in Artisans and Adventurers, and there’s always something to see in Keeping House. There are a ton of really cute shops that are worth as much of a visit as the market, and they tend to be a bit quieter… at least in my experience!

Tip #5: Go Whatever The Weather! When the sun is shining, it seems like the perfect time to plan a visit to the flower market! It’s lovely out, and who doesn’t love London in the sunshine? BUT… if you wake up and it’s raining, don’t postpone your trip! The times I’ve been when the weather isn’t great, it’s been a bit of a ghost town. Even a bit later in the day! I guess bad weather puts people off, but you can have just as nice a time, rain or shine! In fact, I’ve gone in the rain, gotten tons of flowers, and then sat down for a nice hot chocolate and a chat. Heaven!

Ghenet Actually || Columbia Road Flower Market

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1 Comment

  • Reply Michelle August 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Still totally obsessed with that straw bag! I haven’t visited Columbia Road Flower market in years… Must rectify that ASAP!

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