UK Street Markets - A Tradition

UK Street Markets are an excellent place to save money - particularly in these cash-strapped days.

They are deserving of your support and the support of local Councils.

Across the country nearly every town and village has a market of some sort, either weekly, a special event market and of course, there are the Farmer's Markets.


Starting off the collection of UK Street Markets we have visited is:

BUNGAY, NORFOLK

This town hosts three special street market days each year which always prove popular, often attracting as many as 15,000 people to the Spring Garden Market, the Antiques Street Market and, of course, the Christmas Street Market. These are three extra special UK street markets - all well worth a visit.

These events each take over the entire length of historic Earsham Street for a day. These UK street markets are extremely popular, and the advice is arrive early if you need a parking space. The Castle Inn in Earsham Street is an excellent place for a cup of coffee or other refreshment, and is highly recommended.

The Spring Garden UK Street Market is quite an event and certainly the place to buy a wide selection of plants at varying prices. There are also other gardening items such as decorative plant containers, etc. on sale. A small UK street market is held each Thursday at the ancient Buttercross in the centre of town.

BURY-ST. EDMUNDS, SUFFOLK

The town is at its busiest on Wednesdays and Saturdays when people flock to the Cornhill to visit one of the best provision UK street markets held in East Anglia.

The market has several stalls with excellent displays of fruit and vegetables, many clothes stalls, shoes, leather goods, hardware, fabrics, pet foods, flowers and other speciality goods including basketry.

Definitely well worth a visit and be prepared to find some very good bargains from this fantastic selection of stalls.

DISS, SUFFOLK/NORFOLK BORDER

Again a true market town with a small but very popular UK street market which operates every Friday with just under twenty stalls.

There is the usual selection ranging from ladies clothing, gent's work-wear, plants, cut-price food, tools, etc. The plant stall has a very good range on display and helpful advice is freely given. This encourages more customers to pay a visit.

In addition, on Market day there is a small mini-market held in the church hall at St. Mary's Church, which adjoins the market. This opens at 9.30 a.m., and there is a variety of stalls including, home baked produce, plants and second-hand clothing.

There is also a UK Farmer’s Market on alternate Saturdays in the same Market place.

EPPING, ESSEX

This UK street market here extends the whole length of the High Street with 73/74 stalls trading. It operates every Monday from around 8.30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The selection of stalls is very good and extensive ranging from ladies and gents clothing, children’s clothing, jewellery, cut-price foods, dairy produce, curtains and blinds, fabrics, jewellery, hosiery, leather bags and luggage, computer inks etc, a really superb greengrocery stall (located outside the new M & S store) and even a van selling watches, plus many other stalls.

It is obviously a very well operated market with most of the stalls being pre-erected by the local Council, and attracts shoppers from a wide area.


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GRAYS MARKET. ESSEX. This UK street market is situated in a pedestrianised High Street location in Clarence Road and is held weekly every Friday and Saturday from 9.00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Over the past few years the market has become very busy as the Town has recovered from the advent of the nearby Lakeside Shopping Centre. The market supports the tradition mix of stalls from clothing to fruit and vegetables.

Grays market is to be found off M25 Junction Junction 30 onto A 13 and by following signs to Grays Town Centre. If you require a Sat.Nav location, the postcode is RM17 6RA. (Information from a trader)

HARLESTON, NORFOLK

This is a very small but good market with around 6 or 7 stalls and operates every Wednesday in the Market Place. The greengrocery stall is staffed by a man along with a very cheerful lady, both of whom are most helpful. The produce is good and keenly priced.

The lady who owns and runs the plant stall is very knowledgeable and it is possible to find some really unusual plants here.

There is also a van with fresh fish for sale. Although this is just a small market town it has some excellent shops.

HALESWORTH, SUFFOLK

Market Day is every Wednesday with stalls in the Market Place. A Country Market (home produced goods) is held on Friday mornings in St.Mary’s Church Hall.

LEIGHTON BUZZARD, BEDFORDSHIRE

This report, written by a stall-holder, is an interesting insight into the trade.

Leighton Buzzard is a typical High Street market deep in the heart of Bedfordshire. To get here using Sat Nav you will need postcode LU7 1DN.

Like all markets, trade has suffered with the down turn in the economy BUT has managed to remain stable with a good core of regular traders.We are run by private operator Wendy Fair Markets Ltd. Although the traders were not pleased by the District Councils' decision to let Wendy Fair run market operations the traders have been pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

I arrive at the market around 6:30 am. and go through the process of erecting my stall ready for the long day ahead. As a licensed trader I rent the same spot every day (Saturday in my case, Tues & Sat for others!)and have to have public and employee liability insurance cover before I can trade! I erect my own stall along with sheets etc.This can take up to two hours from start to finish.

Trading has changed over the years. In the past it was "easy" to earn good money as the economy was booming and peoples stress levels were low. Nowadays, times are different. Every penny counts, it seems that I have to work twice the hours for half the gain of a few years back. Rents have risen, fuel has gone up through the roof and the public have become harder to serve due to a lot of external pressures. The expenses are crippling and contrary to public belief we are NOT earning fortunes. In my thirty something years of trading I have never seen such a decline in retail as the last couple of years.

Leighton Buzzard has been through a lot of changes over the years. There used to be a village-like atmosphere to the town, it has now grown and is part of the commuter belt into London. The market still remains vibrant though and attracts a good flow of regular, and even some tourist trade. Leighton Buzzard is steeped in history and offers a good day out (including a visit to the market!).

As a group of traders we offer a wide and varied selection of goods. There is an amazing fresh fish stall,fresh fruit and veg stall with locally sourced produce, slipper and shoe stall,fresh cut flower and plant stalls,etc There is a mobile catering van with a difference...The Frying Dutchman specializing in Dutch foods etc. and of course, a good ladies wear stall (mine!!) Most of these stalls have been trading for quite a few years between them.

Why not make a day out and come and see one of the oldest markets in Bedfordshire and then take the time to visit our trader run website at Leighton Buzzard Market and tell us about your experience.

The 'other side' of UK street markets - thank you!

NORTH WEALD, ESSEX

This is reputed to be England's largest, regular Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday Market and is held on a former Battle of Britain airfield with historic links to WW2. Technically not a UK street market as such because it is held on an airfield that is still active to this day.

The market is held on an immense concrete and tarmac apron with hundreds of stalls selling a vast array of goods at discount prices. To visit all the stalls would probably need an entire day, and if you do visit, make quite sure you know exactly where you parked your car! The aerial view shows the vast site with the stalls in the right foreground by one of the hangars and the cars, almost like dots, to the left hand rear.

Needless to say – think of what you need and you will probably find it here. From furniture to working boots and food to lamp shades – North Weald can probably produce it.

NORWICH, NORFOLK

This market used to be full of character, but was ‘refurbished’ in 2006 with permanent stalls which are now more like mini shops. This is illustrated by the fact that leases are available for a period of five years.

A lot of the character has disappeared along with the old stalls.

The market now boasts 190 stalls which are open Monday – Saturday, but not a lot of these stalls are open every day - so on some days coverage can be sparse.

There is a wide selection of stalls ranging from beauty care, fruit and vegetables and DVD sales etc.

PETTICOAT LANE, LONDON

This is a tourist trap. Probably so well known it does not need a lot of description. More than a thousand stalls are spread over two streets.

This London street market has been operating since the 1750's and gets its name from the petticoats and lace that were sold there by the Huguenots who came to London from France. The street was renamed Middlesex Street by the Victorians who did not like the association to women's underwear, but too late - the name had stuck.

A word of caution - keep your money close to your body for fear of possible 'dippers' - pickpockets.

The opening hours are Monday-Friday 10.00 am /2.30 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET, LONDON

The vegetable market in Elgin Crescent/Talbot Road is a mouthwatering site. Masses of almost every fruit and vegetable you could need. Also masses of people as this is a very successful and well known market and attracts plenty of tourists.

There are other sections of the market - Antiques from Chepstow Villas to Elgin Crescent, new Goods from Talbot Road to the Westway where the Fashion market can also be found. The Second Hand goods are on Westway to Goldbourne Road.

ROMFORD MARKET, HIGH STREET, ROMFORD LONDON

Although listed as London, this UK Street Market lies within the borough of Havering. It dates back over 750 years and originaly began as a sheep market. It has recently been modernised and now boasts a modern shopping Mall.

The Market itself is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8.30 until 4.30 and on Saturdays the Market remains open until 5.30.

This is a typical London market with all the banter etc., that goes along with it. Prices are cheap and there are many food stalls, with a selection of nearby bakeries, pubs and restaurants. As with all crowded places, keep a good hold of your wallet.

STOWMARKET, SUFFOLK.

What a complete surprise to find stalls in this UK Street Market selling foods that had mentally disappeared off the radar. The star of these has to be Mc.Carthy’s bread stall where every possible type of loaf that has not been seen for years was available. These breads are apparently baked by two brilliant bakers and they cater for every taste and diet. Well worth a visit. The camera ran out of space here but go along and see for yourself.

This stall was closely followed by the home grown Organic mushrooms stall run by a helpful senior citizen.

This market was also a surprise for the variety of stalls – shoes, free range eggs, ladies undies, preserves, flowers, an excellent vegetable stall and one enormous area selling every type of necessary gizmo from colourful crazy windmills that would serve to keep moles away from your garden to such humdrum items at batteries – all for a £1 a time.

Stowmarket is well blessed as there is even a Country Market running in St. Peter's Hall, alongside the church.

Stowmarket market runs on a Thursday and Saturdays. This visit was made on a Thursday.


Because only the UK Street market that have been visited are included above - and obviously we are unable to cover every street market across the country - we are asking for your help.

We are offering you your own web page and the opportunity to tell us about your bargain hunting in street markets.

Is the market a local market or one that you have visited when on holiday? Did you get a bargain?

So why not let us know all about it? It would be good to learn how UK street markets differ in various parts of the country.

Tell Your Story About Street Markets

Do you have a street market in your locality?

Have you shopped there and would you like to write about it, or perhaps write about one market trader in particular?

Have you ever visited a great market while on holiday?

Why not tell us about your experience?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Queens Road Summer Market, Watford 
A little gem of a community street market found on a Saturday outing with the family last week. The market sells jewellery,handbags, cakes, vintage, …

Mr A Harrison, Market Trader, Epping Market Ladies Fashions (Outside Costa Coffee) 
As a trader of some 32 years at Epping I have seen some changes, some good, some not so good. In general the market has retained the pleasant atmosphere …

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