St James's Churchyard, W1J 9LL
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Open: Monday-Tuesday 11am-5pm (food)
Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm (arts and crafts)
St James Church has played host to a market for many decades with the old trees and ancient stone paving remaining constant while the people and the things sold have gradually changed over the years. These days the market is given over to a vibrant street food market on Mondays and Tuesdays with food from around the world for as little as a fiver a go and plenty of shaded benches in the church grounds to enjoy the food.
From Wednesday to Saturday Piccadilly takes on its more established role as an arts and crafts market, offering anything from tourist novelties to genuine antiques. One of the most interesting stalls is run by Linda who has been selling her antique glassware and tableware at the market for years and loves the people and the place.
Other stalls offer leather belts and bags, wooden toys, hand painted glass, brightly painted plates in a Greek style, jewellery, kid's clothes and quite a few stalls catering to the passing tourist trade with toy red buses, tiny models of Big Ben and Union Jack T-shirts all to the fore. The tourist stuff might deter some, but there are good things to be found here and the tranquil atmosphere is a welcome break from the bustle of Piccadilly which lies beyond the church gates.
There are lots of options for refreshment during the street food market, but when the Craft Market takes place your best bet is the Caffé Nero that lies within the church grounds.