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Things to Do at Spitalfields Market

Updated: April 28, 2024
 By Margaret

For those who love to shop, eat, or soak up the local culture, Spitalfields Market is the perfect place to indulge in all three!

From Antiques to hand-crafted one-of-a-kind pieces, unique boutiques to street food, the market has a little bit of everything.

And, in this video, Sinead, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot London, takes you on a virtual walk through the market.

It's a popular destination for locals and tourists alike and comes highly recommended by our Facebook Community (ranked up there with Camden Market and Portobello!).

Find out what people are saying about Spitalfields Market on our London Travel Tips and Hacks page!

Located in a vibrant London neighborhood on the edge of the city, the Market is also steeped in history and is a visited location on a number of amazing London walking tours.

To plan your trip to Spitalfields, read on!


What is Old Spitalfields Market?

There has been a market in Spitalfields for over 300 years, with its foundations dating back to the reign of King Charles II!

The version that stands today has its' origins in the 19th century. 

A huge restoration program with heavy renovations in 2005 expanded the market into one of London's largest markets.

It is actually made up of smaller, and often temporary, markets and market stalls as well as permanent shops and restaurants that have varying houses of operation depending on the day of the week.


Market Opening Hours

The Market is entirely covered and is open 7 days a week.

Different guest markets and shops have different opening hours so always check the website HERE before you go.

A rough guide is as follows:

Spitalfields Market Building:

  • Monday to Friday - 8:00 am - 11:00 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday - 9:00 am - 11:00 pm

Traders Market (Known as the Daily Market):

  • Monday to Friday - 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Saturday - 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sunday - 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Retail Shops:

  • Every Day - 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Antiques Market:

  • Thursdays - 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Restaurants:

  • Monday to Friday - 10:00 am - 9:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Tips on Visiting the Market

To get the best experience at the market, consider the following tips!

  • Go Early - The market gets incredibly busy as the day goes on so for a more relaxed experience, earlier (8:00 - 12:00) is better.
  • Go Late - That being said, sometimes more bargains are to be found at the end of the day when merchants are keen to get rid of their stock!
  • Bring Your Bank Card - These days, many traders are cashless so make sure you bring your card.
  • Wrap-Up in the Winter Months - The Market is covered but opened at the sides so can be chilly on cold days.
  • Come Hungry - There are so many incredible places to eat at the Market it would be a shame to arrive without an appetite!

Events at Spitalfields Market

Silk Series - A yearly series of events, workshops, and exhibitions focused on ethical fashion.

Vinyl Market - A twice-a-month event, this is THE best market in the southern United Kingdom for rare and collectible vinyl - as well as newer offerings.

East Art Fair - Three times a year, Spitalfields plays host to the East Art Fair with the purpose of making art more accessible to all.

Spitalfields Music Festival - A yearly summertime event that celebrates 500 years of music and history with concerts featuring musicians from across the country.

Swing Patrol - Throughout every summer this is a dance festival focusing on swing dance with over 1,500 performers taking part.


Things to Do at Spitalfields Market

Go Shopping

This is the primary reason most people come to Spitalfields - and no wonder!

It hosts retail brands as well as independent traders that sell handcrafted goods, artwork, fashion, bric a-brac, and jewelry as well as antique markets and public art programs.

Spitalfields is a great place to buy souvenirs and special gifts so come ready to shop.

You'll also find permanent shops with stores built into the market as well as a barber shop, an optometrist and a nail salon!


Have a Bite to Eat

If all that shopping makes you hungry then rest assured, Spitalfields has you covered there, too.

With a number of permanent restaurants, the market is also home to pop-up stalls and food trucks with literally dozens of options to choose from.

You'll find delicious donuts and cookies, flavourful noodles, fragrant falafel, fish and chips...the list goes on and on!


Enjoy the Artwork

Spitalfields self describes themself as "...proud to support artists from across the globe by helping them showcase their work."

That means at any given time, there are a number of art pieces on display in and around the Market.

There is also a pop-up art market that takes place twice a month showcasing affordable art from local artists that you can purchase yourself.

The art and popups change throughout the year so find out what's on when you're visiting here.


Enjoy London's Best Fish and Chips

There are dozens of places for fish and chips in London but the best, as far as we and our guides are concerned, is Poppies!

This is where we bring guests on our East London Food Tour.

And, we always recommend a visit to the Spitalfields stall, the nearby restaurant, or even the Soho location - it's always worth the effort.

Opened by Poppie himself in 1952, there are now a handful of places to get your hands on their delicious food - and this includes Spitalfields Market!


Visit Brick Lane

Just a couple blocks away from Spitalfields Market are Brick Lane and the Brick Lane Market.

Home to London's Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane is absolutely full of delicious restaurants but it also hosts a few more iconic London markets.

There you'll find the Vintage Market for vintage goods and vintage clothing, the Upmarket for fashion and food, the Backyard Market for jewelry and accessories, the Tea Rooms for antiques, and the Boiler House Food Hall for more street food options.

Find out more here.


Take a Tour

One of the best ways to really get to know a neighborhood is to go with a local guide!

If you want to explore the Spitalfields area, why not let us take you? You can book all of our tours here.

  • East End Food Tour - This tour will take you on a history of the area, as told through the food and drink of the people who have called it home.
  • Graffiti & Street Art Tour - London’s East End is where to go for Street Art in London. It’s jam-packed with eclectic, interesting, shocking, and beautiful street art - all waiting for you to discover. Get the stories behind the pieces, hear about the artists who created them, and find hidden gems you’d never uncover alone. Find out more HERE.
  • Jack the Ripper - We were the first company to offer free Jack the Ripper tours and we love providing our guests with an in-depth look at the case. We don’t rely on cheesy props or ‘spooky’ sound effects - our top-notch, expert guides are all you need for a truly engaging experience. Find out more HERE.
  • Virtual Tour - Can’t make it to London in person? Don’t worry, we’ll take you there virtually! Check out our virtual tour of Spitalfields, Brick Lane, and Petticoat Lane Markets on our YouTube channel HERE.

Visit the Spitalfields Goat

Titled I, Goat, this is a hand-crafted sculpture by Kenny Hunter that was put into place at the market in 2011.

The goat, sitting on top of a stack of crates, is representative of the history of the Spitalfields area.

According to the artist, the goat is a symbol of persecution and sacrifice, and “a symbol for the various waves of migration that have found sanctuary in Spitalfields and helped to shape it.”


Take in a Service at a Historic Church

Designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and built between 1714 and 1729, Christ Church Spitalfields was created in the Baroque style and is just as eye-catching today as it was 300 years ago.

An evangelical Anglican church, it’s open to the public for services and worship every day.

As of 2024, there are also online services you can attend from the comfort of your own home! Find out more HERE.


Drink in a Traditional London Pub (Our favourite East End boozer!)

The Ten Bells is often noted for its connection to two of the Jack the Ripper victims: Annie Chapman and Mary Jane Kelly.

But aside from the links to a serial killer, it’s a traditional, historic London pub and a great place to sit down and have a drink.

The Ten Bells has existed, on one site or another, since at least the mid-1700s and came to its current location in 1851.

The name of the pub relates to the number of bells in the nearby Christ Church Spitalfields, which means the name has changed with the times, as the church routinely gained added bells.

Inside you’ll find original Victorian tiling as well as a beautiful mural depicting the heritage of the area.


Go Back in Time at Dennis Severs' House

If you’ve ever wanted to travel back in time, Dennis Severs’ House makes it possible.

The house itself dates from around 1724 and was purchased by a man named Dennis Severs in 1979.

Dennis quickly went about bringing the house back to life, refurbishing the ten rooms inside in different, but entirely accurate, historical styles from the 18th and 19th centuries.

He then opened it to the public as a “still-life drama” artistic creation. 

The rooms are set up as if they are in use, and the family who lives inside have briefly stepped out of the room.

You’ll hear them in the other rooms, smell the aromas of Victorian poverty downstairs, and see their half-eaten meals as you explore.

A truly unique experience and one that is not to be missed. Find out more HERE.


Walk in the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper

The year is 1888. A murderer known to the public as ‘Jack the Ripper’ is terrorizing London’s desperately poor East End.

His target? The so-called ‘unfortunates’ - women working on the streets to earn money for life’s basics.

These brutal murders shocked the world and changed the streets of London forever.

The facts and fiction of the Jack the Ripper case continue to fascinate millions of people around the world - and Spitalfields is where a number of those murders were carried out.

If you want to walk in the footsteps of the Ripper, consider joining us on our guided Jack the Ripper Walking Tour.


How to Get Here

Spitalfields Market is on the eastern edge of town, right above the City of London.

It's flanked by Commercial Street to the East, Lamb Street to the North, and Brushfield Street to the South.

Nearest London Underground Stations: Liverpool Street Station, Aldgate East Station and Aldgate Station

Nearest Overground Station: Shoreditch High Street

Bus Routes: 8, 11, 23, 26, 35, 42, 47, 48, 78, 100, 133, 135, 149, 205, 242, 308, 344, 388


What to Do Nearby

When you're done at Spitalfields Market, there is plenty to do in the surrounding area!

You've got the "curry mile," the Whitechapel Gallery, Boxpark, places to throw axes, go bowling, or play ping-pong...the list is endless!

For a guide to the highlights of the Spitalfields and Shoreditch area check out our post of Things to Do in Shoreditch

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries. Read More...
Updated: April 28th, 2024
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