The characters of Columbia Road

Columbia Road is one of my favourite places to go on a Sunday morning and at this time of year it is really special. Not only is it the best place to buy every kind of flora and fauna you can imagine, it is also full of wonderful independent shops, cafes and restaurants.

Sunday is the day to buy your Christmas tree, wreath or holly and Ivy and Wednesday night is when to do your Christmas shopping. This is the sixth year that the shops have opened late, every Wednesday in December and not only is it a great opportunity to find some really unique presents, it’s also a good excuse to try out the great food at Brawn.

Hackney is such an exciting place to  live at the moment, with all sorts of creative retail, arts, events and locations popping up all over the borough. But as a long time resident of the area, I am often reminded of the real reason I love living here – the people. Hackney one of the most diverse areas in London and is home to people from every corner of the world, who, on the whole, live together in relative harmony. When my children were little their school Christmas concerts were a shining example of how all classes, abilities and cultures could come together as one.

Columbia Road on a Sunday morning is like visiting a little bit of the old East end, where generations of stall holder sell their wares, just as they have always done. Their banter is hilarious and it’s hard not to resist their calls of ‘ come on love, are you asleep, I’ll do you two for a fiver’.

Above is Mick Grover, a well known figure in the market. Mick and his wife Sylvia have been selling plants and herbs for over 40 years and their son Carl also has a flower stall on the market. Over the Christmas period Mick and Sylvia sell Christmas wreaths, which are the perfect base for adding your own decorations.

What could be more East End than pearly Kings and Queens, who are always up for a bit of a chat and a photo opportunity.

There are always some lovely local characters doing their shopping and lots of great live music and entertainment. There really is nothing nicer that grabbing a coffee and bacon sandwich, perching on the pavement, listening to some live Christmas music and watching the world go by.

PS: don’t forget to visit Vintage Heaven!


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