Of all the ways to spend a Sunday morning, venturing East to Columbia Road flower market is one of my favourites. If you have never sampled the colourful delights that it has to offer, it's the perfect cheap weekend pastime - and if on the off chance you don't happen to buy anything, it's also a free one. On the short walk from Hoxton station you'll see people blindly crossing the road because they can't see past their bouquets, or having to stop every 5 steps to rearrange how they are carrying their new houseplant, all the while mentally planning what you're going to walk away with yourself.
My dad buys my mum a bunch of flowers every week when he does the food shop - a tradition that I hope my future husband adopts - and so I've always thought of them as something you are gifted rather than buy yourself. But with the amazing variety and incredibly reasonable prices at Columbia Road, I would buy myself a fresh bunch a week if only I lived close enough! At the moment it is quite literally hydrangea heaven, with the big hydrangea heads in every type of pastel colour lining the street. Buy 3 for £10 and it's the perfect gesture for a friend's birthday.
When you eventually manage to battle your way through the crowds and slip out in between the flower stalls, you'll see that there's a lot more than just the flower market. As well as garden, kitchen and stationary shops lining the road, tucked neatly at the top is Rebecca Louise Law's gallery (www.rebeccalouiselaw.com), a peaceful spot for a little dose of art. Rebecca Law is a floral artist who creates beautiful floral installations, which hang from the ceiling from copper wire and become even more beautiful as they age and the flowers die. It's no wonder she chose to have her gallery on Columbia Road!
If you're thinking that the time for flowers and outdoor markets ends along with summer, then think again. I've been to Columbia Road in the depths of winter and the flowers are just as alive and beautiful, so don't panic if the rest of your September Sundays are saved for bbq's and enjoying what is left of the sunny and warm(ish) weather!
Columbia Road flower market is open 8am-3pm every Sunday.
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