Believe me when I say I could have easily spent the whole of Sunday filming and snapping the toing and froing of London's second most famous flower market. I'm used to heading off in the small wee hours to Covent Garden Flower Market, but haven't ventured up on a Sunday jaunt to Columbia Road Flower Market for some time. Its not that I haven't wanted to, its just time runs away!
For me Columbia Road has a lot more soul than Covent Garden, and although its not geared up towards florists, it really captures everything that I think a flower market should be about.
When I first visited Covent Garden, goodness, about 16 years ago I was expecting this mecca of creative hustle and bustle, bright lights, bright colours, independent retailers and amazing sights and sounds. A vibrant barter atmosphere! And it was in some respect like that, but it just felt a bit 'grey'. The building was old. It felt unloved. Whilst the produce you could buy and the traders are amazing, it didn't have the amazing mecca buzz I was expecting. Covent Garden have made huge improvements over the years and next month the new flower market opens. I cannot wait to visit, I hope the new building does all the amazing produce and retailers that they sell there justice.
Columbia Road on the other hand, had that buzz I was expecting. Perhaps its because its not the middle of the night when its open. Its amazing what a difference daylight makes to the whole experience! Columbia Road feels like a true market experience - the shouting, the crowds, the smells. The scattering of independent shops seling all manner of things lined on either side of the road.
If you love to buy flowers and don't fancy the early alarm clock of Covent Garden, I would totally urge you to take a Sunday out and head up to Columbia Road Flower Market.