There is no better time to slip on your vintage glad rags than Christmas. London's vintage fashion fairs are at their most glam at this time of year and their Christmas events are always a lot of fun and great places to hunt down unique gifts in the run up to Christmas.
Twitter: @ClerkenwellVint / Instagram: @clerkenwellvint
Freemason’s Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AZ
Xmas Fair: Sun 25th November 11am-5.30pm
£5 Entry Fee
Clerkenwell Vintage Fairs are a real celebration of classic style and glamour with quite a few of the traders and visitors strutting out in their glad rags and enjoying themselves. If you’re looking for an authentic 1940’s zoot suit, a raw silk kimono or a 1970’s Biba outfit, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
There Christmas event is held at the atmospheric Freemason's Hall in Covent Garden and is well worth seeking out for vintage gems.
Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX
Twitter: @frockme / Instagram: @frockmevintage
Xmas Fair: Sun 2nd December 11am-5.30pm
The Frock Me Vintage Christmas Fair has about 70 traders offering all kinds of rare and exquisite garments and accessories. The events are always a lot of fun with crowds of keen vintage shoppers rummaging among the rails and displays to find anything from collectable jewellery to rare kimonos and 1950’s dresses.
Hammersmith Town Hall,
1 Riverside Gardens off Kings Street, W6 9JU
Xmas Fair: Sun 25th November 9am-4.30pm
Entry fee £5
This event’s success depends on the great traders that regularly exhibit here, offering all kinds of vintage clothes, jewellery, accessories and textiles with enough discount rails to appeal to vintage bargain hunters. While many vintage fairs and pop-up events move from venue to venue, this fair has been a permanent fixture on the calendar of Hammersmith Town Hall since 2006. It’s a perfect location for their Christmas event with the wood panelled main hall and plenty of sparking decoration.
(Wantstead Vintage Fashion & Brocante Fair)
Xmas Market: Sat 8th December 11am-5pm
Vintage enthusiast, Cary Whitley, held her first Love Vintage event back in 2010 and since then it has established a great reputation, with 32 of the best vintage traders setting up at this bi-annual event, filling both halls of the fine old Wanstead Church.
Vintage fashionistas will find plenty of things to tempt them with anything from 1940’s dresses to some beautifully cut men’s suits. Accessories are essential to complete the vintage look and there is always a bewildering choice of vintage jewellery, handbags, ties etc to complete the look. Love Vintage is not just restricted to fashion with plenty of vintage style from a large 1940s chest of drawers to French Brocante pieces. These events only take place twice a year, but that helps keep them special. Take a look at their website or social media for details of forthcoming events.
Xmas Fair: Sun 2nd December
St Stephens, Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, NW3 2PP
Xmas Fair: Sun 9th December
Pop Up Vintage Fairs have won a place in the hearts of London’s vintage hunters. The Christmas fairs take place at St Stephen’s Hampstead and Alexandra Palace.
The great thing about the Alexandra Palace event is that it runs alongside a large antiques and collectables fair in the vast Great Hall. There’s a different vibe to the two fairs with the fashionable Pop Up crowd rubbing shoulders with antique enthusiasts looking for anything from train memorabilia to antique clocks.
Whichever Pop Up event you chose, you’re sure to have a great time and find some of the best vintage traders and the kind of glamorous customers that seem to be a walking advertisement for the retro lifestyle.
So Last Century has gained a reputation for organised, friendly events that are always well publicised and attract a good number of south London’s vintage-loving community. What sets these fairs apart is the emphasis on reasonably priced vintage goods from homeware to fashion. There are a number of vintage fashion specialists with well chosen stock, so fashionistas will not be disappointed. There are three vintage fairs taking place in the run-up to Christmas, whichever one you attend you’re bound to have a great time and there is always a good in-house café to enjoy a break and admire your latest purchases.
This blog is adapted from our latest book London's Markets. Available from all good bookshops and on our website
London's Markets are often at their best in the run-up to Christmas and below are some of the most popular Christmas Markets and Pop-Ups coming up in the next few weeks. They are all great places to find unique gifts and meet some of the local designer makers selling their wares. These markets also offer some delicious festive treats and are a great way to get in the Christmas spirit.
1. E17 Designers
Xmas market at William Morris Gallery, Friday 23rd November 6.30-10pm
This market’s success is largely due to the enthusiasm and energy of the organisers, who make an effort to promote each season’s markets and over a decade of trading have acquired a great reputation and a loyal following. At the Christmas event at William Morris Gallery expect to find about 25-30 designer-makers offering jewellery, stylish knit wear, handmade clothing for adults and their offspring, artwork and original textiles as well as accessories and homewares. The stalls are almost all staffed by the designer-makers, who are keen to talk about their wares and how they are made.
The atmosphere at these events is very upbeat with lots of regulars showing up to chat and shop and few leaving without a bag of goodies and a smile. The event is more than just a place to shop with occasional workshops, craft or face painting for children and live music or DJ performances all part of the show and free entry to boot. Take a look at their website or follow on social media to find out more about the Christmas market.
2. Local Makers Market
Xmas market at Abney Hall, Stoke Newington, Sat-Sun 24th-25th November 11am-6pm
These markets started in Wanstead, but have now expanded to other venues in east London, including Hackney Wick and Stoke Newington. The quality of the traders is always very high with genuine artisan designers offering unique clothes, framed original prints and cards, handmade jewellery and accessories, craft beer, naturally made toiletries and, of course, more succulents than you can point a cactus at! The markets take place from the spring until Christmas and are always well publicised on their website and through social media. It’s great to visit a market run with such generosity with no entry fee and a great little vegan pop-up café offering all kinds of homemade treats. Make a date in your calendar for this great weekend shopping experience.
3. Duck Pond Markets
Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, N6 5HG
Twitter / Instagram: @duckpondmarket
Xmas Markets: Heron Sq, Richmond Upon Thames, Thurs 22nd Nov 3-8pm
Ruislip Christmas Market , The Great Barn, Manor Farm, Ruislip, HA4 7QL, Sat-Sun 17-18th Nov 10am-3pm
Duck Pond Markets guarantee an interesting mix of textiles, ceramics, clothing, accessories, original artwork and a few artisanal food producers. The Duck Pond team always make an effort with extra activities like face painting and live music. Their Christmas markets in Richmond and Ruislip are well worth seeking out.
4. Crafty Fox Market
Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle Sat-Sun 1-2nd December
Canopy Market, Kings Cross Fri-Sun 7-9th December
The Department Store, Brixton Sat-Sun 15-16th December
Since it started back in 2010 Crafty Fox Markets have gone from strength to strength by offering organised, well publicised events where traders get a fair deal.
Their Christmas events involve additional activities such as craft workshops with both adults and children engrossed in the process of cutting, gluing and painting their creations. The shopping experience is of course the main event, with at least 30 stalls displaying hand-made crockery, cards, unique jewellery, framed pictures and accessories. The traders are well chosen with some particularly high-quality independent jewellers, offering end-of-season discounts. They have a host of events in the run-up to Christmas which are well worth visiting.
5. Scandinavian Market
Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7HZ
Xmas Market Fri-Sun 23rd-25th November 10am-5pm
The Scandinavians certainly seem to have the edge on the Brits when it comes to winter festivities and the Christmas Market that takes over Albion Street in the run-up to Christmas is an incredible event extending over three days and involving over fifty stalls. The Danish have captured the imagination with the concept of Hygge, which might best be translated as the pleasure gained from winter cosiness and this market has a good deal of Hygge to go around.
Wherever you look there are chunky jumpers, beautifully made scarves and more comfy slippers than you can wave a stick at. Visitors hoping to try some traditional Scandinavian food will not be disappointed with all kinds of delicacies from sweet pickles to authentic Swedish meatballs and even reindeer meat sandwiches with lingonberry sauce.
The Christmas market has become a fixture in many Londoners’ calendars and is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit and bag a few presents. A definite Christmas must do and make sure you stay until dark when the market is at its illuminated best.
6. Flea @ Flat Iron Square
53 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
Tube: London Bridge (Northern & Jubilee)
Rail: London Bridge
Xmas Market Sat-Sun 15th-16th December 10am-5pm
Flat Iron Square Flea Market started in 2016, but it has the feel of a market that has been here for years and is a real throw back to the kind of friendly, great value second-hand market that looked threatened by London’s property boom.
Flat Iron takes place on what was once a rough square of land that has now been transformed into a lush garden with a bar and outdoor garden stage. It is here that about thirty traders set up, offering a mixed bag of vintage clothing, bric-à-brac, furniture and even a few designer-makers. Their special Christmas market should be a festive treat.
This blog is adapted from our latest book London's Markets. Available from all good bookshops and on our website:
SAT 22ND SEPT
Assembly Hall, Forest Road, London E17 4JF
with jazz & blues singer Miss Jones,
#TeaRoom and the bar will be open!
Pop Up Vintage Fairs London was founded by fashion enthusiast
Maxine Stonehill in 2011 and was voted ‘Best London Vintage
Fair’ for three consecutive years in the Vintage Guide to London
Awards. They have since won a place in the hearts of London’s
vintage hunters. ‘Pop Up’ is an appropriate name, as the fairs takes
place about once a month at a number of grand venues across
the city including Wilton’s Music Hall, St Stephen’s Hampstead,
Alexandra Palace and tomorrow at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall.
The great thing about the Alexandra Palace event is that it runs
alongside a large antiques and collectables fair in the vast Great
Hall. There’s a different vibe to the two fairs with the fashionable
Pop Up crowd rubbing shoulders with antique enthusiasts looking
for anything from train memorabilia to antique clocks. Of course
there’s some cross over with Pop Up Vintage Fairs’ traders selling
everything from vintage fashion to mid-century retro homeware so
there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Visiting the latest event on Saturday your sure to have a great time and find some of the best vintage traders and the kind of glamorous customers that seem to be a walking advertisement for the retro lifestyle.
This is adapted from Metro Publications' latest book:
London's Markets - Out now!
Mark White had a career in advertising before he found his niche as Markymarket, visiting Smithfield and Billingsgate markets before dawn so you don’t have to and often delivering fresh produce direct to your door. He fell into this line of work selling sausages to a friend and found that using his modern technology and a willingness to get up in the middle of the night to source the best produce, he had a fledgling business.
‘It’s weird that my business is so traditional (going to market, buying stuff, selling it) and yet dependent on all kinds of modern technology. I couldn’t do this without my mobile, Zipcar and Twitter, they keep my overheads down so I’m still very competitive’.
Mark started his unconventional business back in 2012 and he now has a regular clientele of pop-ups, private chefs, restaurants and enthusiastic amateur cooks, who have come to depend on him for the best meat and fish to be found in the Capital. It’s not a job that many people could handle. Mark gets up at one in the morning to be at Smithfield for 2am to source the freshest meat and the best cuts. Over the years he now knows where to go for the best sausages and who has the tastiest Welsh lamb.
‘At first it was difficult, there’s a real culture here and it’s not easy to get accepted. A lot of the traders thought I was a bit mad and didn’t think I would last, but I’ve stuck at it and people know me and trust me and will often let me know if they’ve got something quality. That feels good, when you’re accepted.’
Mark goes around checking off his list of orders as he becomes increasingly weighed down with his bloody produce. By 2.30 his car is loaded with all his purchases and he’s off to Billingsgate, driving through dark quiet streets that within a few hours will be jammed with traffic:
‘It’s fantastic driving around at this time of the night, you feel like you own the city. It’s important to get the Billingsgate before they officially open at 4am. You can do all your orders and get the freshest stuff, but can’t pay until after the official opening of the market. It’s a bit of a fuss, but its the only way you can get the best produce’.
Walking around Billingsgate with Mark it’s clear he knows what to look for and where to go to finish his orders with as little hassle as possible.
‘Not all the traders are the same. Some are good for crabs and shellfish, others have great salmon or more unusual catches. It’s a matter of knowing what to look for and what to avoid.’
With clinical precision Mark is finished and loaded up within 20 minutes of the Billingsgate bell sounding for the start of business and he’s then on his rounds, delivering to his customers around London before making his way home. Some of his regulars are up in the morning to receive their orders but in a lot of cases they’re tucked up in bed while he quietly leaves their order in an agreed hiding place, like a culinary Santa.
Once finished with the Zipcar, Mark goes around London with his other orders on public transport, delivering to offices and homes around the city and by midday he’s usually back at his Soho office - the Star and Garter Pub. It’s here that he meets other customers and arranges to sell any excess produce using Twitter. It’s also here that Mark meets his mate James Painter, who supplies him with truffles that he delivers to Michelin star restaurants around the capital.
‘This life isn’t for everyone, but I love it. Meeting people doing deals and getting great value and quality for people who really love food. If I don’t do my job right, I don’t survive, so I’ve got to make sure my customers are happy with what I do and the food they get from me. Touch wood it’s working out well at the moment’.
It’s great to see how one man’s love of London and its wholesale markets has given rise to this innovative little business. If you want to find out more about Mark and place an order, take a look at his website or follow him on Twitter. He’s a great contact and an invaluable resource for London’s professional cooks and amateur foodies.
Andrew Kershman's forthcoming book:
is out in the summer
Haynes Lane, SE19 3AP
Overground: Gypsy Hill or Crystal Palace
Tucked away in a dilapidated group of courtyards off Westow Street and behind the large Sainsbury’s, this food market is well worth seeking out. The Saturday market is part of the Transition Town movement and shares its ethos of supplying locally sourced and ethically produced food with most produce coming from Sussex and Kent and some even grown or produced in Crystal Palace through it's patchwork of community growing spaces.
The market might not be huge, but among the around 30 stalls you can find top quality meat from Gill Wing Farm, artisan cheeses, delicious cakes and pastries, an incredible range of fish from Sussex fishermen Veasey & Sons and fresh organic seasonal produce from Wild Country Organics, Brambletye Orchards and Brockmans farm. In addition there are rotating olive and preserve stalls including flavourful and spicy sauces from London based Chilli Bros and homemade chutneys from Creative Allsorts. You can also taste and buy naturally produced wines, coffee roasted in London, gluten free treats, raw organic dairy, locally smoked meats and fish as well as lunches from a host of street food stalls.
As if this wasn’t enough the market has its own little shop, The Store Cupboard, a no waste refill shop offering a wide range of food staples, alongside another little shop, Roots and Cycles, who offer eco cleaning refills and organic beauty products as well as upcycled items. There are also a few arts and crafts traders setting up here offering an interesting choice of locals made original textiles and things for the home. The picture framer and art seller is also a permanent feature of the market and well worth checking out.
A great food market with a real community spirit, it shares the site with the equally interesting second-hand and vintage Haynes Lane Market (see page xx), which only adds to the appeal of the place.
This feature is taken from our forthcoming book:
by Andrew Kershman
Due of York Square, Chelsea, SW3 4LY
Started by the eponymous grocery store in 2005 with just 15 stalls, Partridge’s Food Market has gone from strength to strength and now has 70 quality food stalls setting up in this smart Chelsea square every Saturday. The market is a great mix of food to take home and cook and street food offering all kinds of freshly prepared dishes to eat on the go. For grocery shopping there are some excellent butchers, a seasonal fruit and veg stall along with delicious breads, prepared meats, olives and deli dishes, fresh pasta as well as cakes and cheeses. If you can’t find all that you need there is always Partridges just next to the market.
The street food here is incredibly varied with oysters freshly prepared for a pound each making a great starter to your journey through the market. Among the treats here are delicious fish burgers, substantial Greek wraps and sushi which you can see being prepared as well as substantial organic burgers prepared by the butchers who supply the meat.
The energy of this market is really infectious and the foodies here are always willing to dispense advice, cooking suggestions or simply talk about the provenance of their produce. There are a few places to sit and enjoy your food, but most people choose to amble among the stalls while enjoying the dish of their choice.
Just behind the market is the Saatchi Gallery which is dedicated to modern art and has a busy programme of exhibitions which are always worth exploring.
This feature is taken from our forthcoming book:
by Andrew Kershman
Bandstand Terrace, Horniman Museum Gardens,
100 London Road, SE23 3PQ
Every Saturday 9am – 1.30pm
The Horniman Museum is one of London’s most interesting venues with a fascinating Anthropological archive and collection of musical instruments. On Saturday’s the garden of the museum transforms itself into a very different anthropological experiment as the foodies Southeast London congregate to source delicious essentials directly from independent and local producers.
It’s a great location and now attracts stalls selling seasonal fruit and vegetables, artisan organic bread, cakes, cheese, pies, scotch eggs, freshly squeezed juices, herbal infusions, organic meat, salads and herbs. On intermittent weeks you will also find free-range salami and handcrafted, ethical chocolates plus other guest stalls selling craft beer, preserves, kimchi and plants. There are also some street food stalls offering anything from falafel to crepes – the surrounding gardens are a wonderful place to enjoy a picnic.
This feature is taken from our forthcoming book:
by Andrew Kershman