Vintage style has never been more fashionable, and London – unsurprisingly, given its status as one of the fashion capitals of the world – is one of the best places on the planet to pick up unique, retro pieces which you’d never find anywhere else. While London is justly renowned as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations for its plethora of internationally renowned sites of interest, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral, a vintage shopping adventure is a great way to dive off the beaten track and into a more original experience.
The most immersive way to experience London’s vintage scene is in its markets, which are famous the world over for their long history and the variety of the goods on offer. Spitalfields Market, open seven days a week, has stood in one form or another for over 350 years, and its City of London location makes it easily accessible from the Hotel London City Suites by Montcalm. The stalls at Spital fields Market rotate daily, and fashionistas on a weekend visit to London are in luck: Friday is a regular fashion day, while one of Saturday’s rotating themes is a specifically vintage-themed fashion fair. Sunday, meanwhile, is a great opportunity to get to know and support the rising stars of London’s fashion scene, as recent graduates are given a platform for their work.
Another of London’s most iconic street markets, Portobello Road Market is held on Saturdays and is renowned as one of London’s hotspots for vintage fashion. Beginning life as a fruit and vegetable market, antiques dealers began setting up shop in the 1940s and 1950s, and the market has since established a reputation as one of the best places to pick up second-hand clothing and accessories in the capital. This has its downside, however: the market is often swarming with tourists, so be prepared for crowds. If the thought of the throngs is putting you off the market, don’t let it make you miss out on Portobello Road itself, which is home to lots of interesting boutiques. Another must-visit is Brick Lane Market in East London. Famed for the variety and unusual nature of the good on offer here, fashion is no exception, and the weekend Vintage Market, featuring traders from all over Europe, is a brilliant place to pick up a one-of-a-kind item.
Indeed, East London is a treasure trove for lovers of all things vintage, and that extends beyond the markets and onto the high street. There are all manner of vintage shops and boutiques in this part of town, including Absolut Vintage, the vast Blitz – the biggest vintage store in Europe – and the iconic Rokit. While you’re in the area, why not kick back at the end of the day with a cocktail at Shoreditch’s Callooh Callay? This charming bar has a Victorian Lewis-Carroll themed interior and has won international acclaim for its cocktails – the perfect way to end your London vintage adventure.