A Columbia Road Sunday
Sundays in London are often an overwhelming affair. From markets to brunch, museums to parks; the opportunities to while the day away are endless. Recently I’ve started making a list of my “London to dos” so whenever a spare day arises I’ll have plenty of ideas to hand. Last Sunday just so happened to be a void in the calendar so I set about arranging a date with Georgie- a friend from my acting school who now also lives in London. I suggested going to the place that just so happened to be number one on my recently comprised list- Columbia Road Flower Market.
We met for brunch with nowhere in mind and after wondering down Columbia Road for a while fell upon Cafe Columbia; an absolutely perfect local East London spot for a bagel that’s both appealing in substance and price and a warming mug of hot chocolate. We both opted for the brie & grape bagel variety which was excellent and we loved the friendly owners who were serving behind the counter. A perfect spot for an informal, cosy and very affordable refuel.
Fully bageled and ready to go we went back out to the main road taking in some of the ohsocute interior shops along the way. This is the kind of place I could spend a small fortune (that I don’t have) on all kind of homely delights (that I don’t need) that would not have gone down so well with the boyfriend (he seems to have an aversion to all my shabby chic favourites, especially the heart shaped ones…no idea why) so restraint was certainly required. The actual flower market runs down the centre of the road and it is quite simply and sensory explosion. From the scent of the blooms to the cries of the market sellers, it is a perfect slice of London that I would recommend to anyone in the vicinity.
We planned our tactical approach of taking in each side of the market before then doing another lap round to purchase some floral delights. As beautiful as the market is this is not one for the claustrophobic. We went on a day that wasn’t particularly sunny/warm and the crowds were still out in force (unsurprising seeing as we were there around the peak time of 12.30pm.) As it is now March and therefore Spring time (in my mind) we both decided daffodils were a must. We got 3 bunches for £2 and split them between us. Georgie then opted for some beautifully bright sunflowers and I chose 2 bunches for £5 from a stall that had previously caught my eye. As much as I would like to pretend to be, I am not a flower expert. The bunches I chose were prettily coloured and contained my favourite lilies and this, basically, is what my selection was based on.
I was amazed at the selection of plants, herbs and flowers on offer and will certainly be making many more visits here for all my horticultural needs. There were some fascinating pink pineapple plants (really) that I just need to have in my life. Next time I’m doing as the locals do and taking a giant bag/the most perfect bike I have ever seen to carry everything back in.
A thirty minute door to door journey from house, so much cheaper than supermarkets and a great way to support the local community. What’s not to love? My flowers have lasted for well over a week now and still look/smell incredible. Regardless of whether you live in London or are just visiting for a weekend, this is one market not to miss out on.