Type “free things to do in London” into Google and any of the top hits will suggest a weekend trip to Columbia Road Flower Market. In fact type the place itself into Google and you’ll be inundated with positive reviews of the Cockney oasis nestled into Bethnal Green.
Of course popularity isn’t everything. Being one of London’s unmissable alternative attractions has turned Columbia Road into something of a hot mess when the sun’s out. I personally made the mistake of ticking it off the list on the first sunny Sunday of 2018 and it was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made so far.
There are no existing photos of my time at Columbia Road as I was being propelled in the crush with no real time to stop or look at anything (for a nation of queuers we sure do love to push!).
Which is why my claustrophobic self would choose Battersea Flower Station over Columbia Market anyday. Just a short 15 minute walk from Clapham Junction Station, Wandsworth hides it’s garden centre running the length of maybe the most magical alleyway in London.
With a range of house plants, shrubs, cacti & pots make no mistake this is certainly not an East End market. Instead once you’ve entered through the gate you’re transported on a peaceful adventure which you are free to roam.
If you are looking for a loud, authentic market atmosphere than Columbia Road and it’s surrounding markets are for you. However if you are after a leisurely stroll on a Sunday we we definitely recommend you take a wander through Battersea Flower Station.