Portobello Winter Festival
Leave your big-city woes behind and take a walk through a winter wonderland to soothe your soul. The Portobello Road area will be injected with a hefty dose of holiday magic. Expect tons of unique gifts to be bought (for yourself or your loved ones) at the Vintage Clothes Market or the Hampers and Stockings Market. There will be live performances of all your favourite festive songs from steel pan, calypso and Moroccan street performers, complete with hot snacks and a rum shack to warm the shackles of even the Grinch-iest of hearts. And, for the young'uns (or simply those who have managed to retain their youthful joie de vivre) there's set to be a Santa's Grotto - rumour has it the big man himself might even make an appearance.
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This vintage emporium is at the top end of Portobello Road, so thankfully by this point most of the tourists have been distracted by food stalls. Which makes it busy, but not crazily so. It’s a long shop – make sure you don’t trip down the steps ogling all the amazing stuff. And there is plenty to ogle. Sequin jackets, fur-trimmed coats, retro sportswear, faded denim… All the vintage essentials as well as the odd designer piece (like Balmain, Westwood). Prices vary so dig for treasure. Goldsmith Vintage tends to peddle its wares at summer festivals too, so look out for it.
The Market Cartel
A collective of market traders, with all their glittery, feathery, era-hopping, eye-popping wares, together in one store? What an absolutely genius idea. From Portobello Road to Brick Lane and all the smaller, lesser-spotted markets in between, Market Cartel brings you the very best of the best – a sumptuous collection of menswear, womenswear accessories, homewares and furniture. This Hackney store is a vision. It’s hard to know what to look at first. Clogs, clocks, crochet bikinis - and that's only the window display. This place is a medley of clothing and curios. Pretty reasonably priced too. You’ll come across real gems from various decades. And there are some big names lurking in the rails too (Jean Paul Gaultier anyone?) This place is heaven.
Wood Street Indoor Market
Perfect for us die-hard market fans: when the weather gets a little too nippy to be wandering about outside, head to Wood Street Market you'll find a collective of 25 local designers, vintage retailers, artists, and food vendors. A great place to come to buy artwork directly from the artists, get some gifts, pick up some antiques and while away a few hours.
Flea @ Flat Iron Square
Here's the thing about flea markets: they're usually a bloody darn pain. Who has time to rummage around dust-covered rubbish in hopes that you'll find that one gem amongst moth-eaten gingham dresses? Flea at Flat Iron Square is cutting out the crap, bringing you curated vintage and other goodies from around the globe. Flea has you covered for all your clothing, furniture, ceramics, spectacles, books, magazines, and vinyl needs. There's also a bar and scrummy street food stalls if you're in need of shopping fuel.