I stepped outside of the Brixton tube station into an unexpected flurry of people hustling and bustling about.
A flower stand greeted me with spring blooms of freesias, tulips, and some of the most beautiful white roses I have ever laid eyes on. Behind the stand was a row of stores that I’d seen time and time again during my stay in London: Topshop, The Body Shop, Superdrug, and the ever-reliable Sainsbury’s Local. Looking at the normality in front of me, I would have almost thought that I had gotten off at the wrong stop. A quick check on Citymapper (an incredibly helpful transit app) reassured me that I had not erred- I was only a minute away.
I turned the corner to find myself in a different world. Music from all over the world blared out of storefronts that were maintained by smiling keepers. In my first few minutes, I developed the impression that if I spent a few hours at Brixton Market, I could probably find everything I could ever need. The center of the street was reserved for stands selling home goods: rugs, bedding, and even decorations were all set out for onlookers to look at and purchase. In the distance, I could hear an elderly woman bargaining for a new set of pillowcases. Nearby was a stand covered in scarves of every color, followed by sweaters, men’s shirts, children’s clothing, and the odd cellphone accessory.
With the sun beating down on me, island music filling the air, and the fresh papaya I had just picked up, if London slightly warmer (ok, maybe a lot warmer) I could almost picture myself at a local market in the Caribbean. The market continued about two blocks over in an enclosed building. Stores filled with eccentric clothing, African jewelry, and beautifully embroidered Indian fabrics welcomed me as I stepped inside. The introduction of the interior market also brought about a new vibe. Though the outside had an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, the interior comprised of fresh fish displays, butcher stands, and even a few restaurants, one of which boasted a “pick your own fruit” juicing stand. I walked past an Italian restaurant called Franco Manca, where families sat outside eating some of the most delicious homemade pizzas I had ever seen. Part of me felt a pang of papaya regret, but knowing myself, I could have easily eaten two of those pizzas, by myself.
I would definitely pin Brixton Market as a place to go for fresh produce, fish, and meat on the weekdays. However, each weekend is different! From vintage pieces, music, and a farmer’s market on Sundays, there’s a whole lot to be seen. If you’re interested in seeing what’s coming up, head on over to their website. You never know what you might find!