Here at Great British Products, we appreciate a good market. Small British businesses and handcrafted goods, all in one space? That’s us all over.
And it’s not just us who love a good independent business. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a huge rise in Brits wanting to support small and shop local. In fact, a recent study uncovered that around 63% of Brits would rather spend their money with a small business than a large corporate firm. Plus, the same study revealed that a whopping 49% of 18-24-year-olds have stated that they intend to support small businesses more post-pandemic!
Perhaps this surge of small business love stems from the hit many different small business owners faced this past year. This lockdown has taught the nation the importance of sticking together and looking after each other however we can, even if that means ditching the high street and choosing local shops which can be found within our community.
If you wish to support more small British businesses but are struggling to find them in your area, you should probably look out for your local markets. You’ll find tons of hidden gems right under your nose!
Additionally, one of the best ways to get to know a new area when you’re on a brief visit is to find any markets in the area. Most markets are a hotbed of local culture and unique businesses with a passion for providing innovative products and a strong community spirit!
So, without further ado, let’s jump into our pick of the top five best markets you’ll find in the UK!
The Covered Market, Oxford
Oxford’s covered market first started way back in 1774 as a replacement for street markets. During this period, it was prohibited to sell fresh produce outdoors, meaning those locals selling fruit, veg, fish and meat, were left without a space to sell their products. Thus, architect John Gwynn designed a grandiose building to provide a sheltered space for vendors to trade freely.
Photo Credit: @thecoveredmarketoxford
Nowadays, The Covered Market is a maze of fresh groceries, quirky cafes, artisan soap stalls, independent clothing shops, and so much more. Highlights include David John Pies for all your fresh, traditionally-baked pie needs, Jemini Flowers for fresh, beautiful bouquets, and Fresh Clothing which offers a range of vintage-inspired women’s clothing.
Whether you’re looking for British made gifts, quality clothing, or even a traditional fry up, you’ll find everything you need in Oxford’s Covered Market. Just don’t forget your face masks; it is an indoor market after all!
Photo Credit: @wemustadventure
Open from 8am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sundays.
Portobello Market, London
Come one, you knew this one was gonna pop up. Portobello Market is world-famous for its antique trinkets, vintage bits and bots, handcrafted clothing, and hundreds of independent traders. Not to mention its starring role in the Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts rom-com, Notting Hill.
Photo Credit: @allthingslondon_
Portobello Market came into existence in the 19th century as a farmers market where working-class residents could sell agricultural goods to the wealthier homeowners of Notting Hill and Paddington. With the farmland having been gradually swallowed up by the rapid urbanisation of London, the market has since expanded into a space for antique dealers and sellers of handcrafted goods to set up shop.
You can find pretty much anything at Portobello Market, and the ingenuity of local crafters will never cease to amaze you. Amongst the handcrafted goods, you will find scarves, jewellery, shoes, and even teddy bears! This market is one to visit for any lovers of market culture.
Photo Credit: @portobellofoodmarket
When you’re all shopped out and fancy a bite to eat, head to the outskirts of the market where you’ll find everything from Caribbean dishes, paella, burgers and more. Portobello Market is truly the perfect day out for all lovers of independently made goods, and it is the best example of the melting pot that is British culture.
Open from 8am-6pm Monday to Saturday.
Stockbridge Market, Edinburgh
Foodie heaven and craft paradise, the Stockbridge Market should be added to the bucket list of every market-lover out there.
Situated amid the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, this next market is famous as both a local and tourist hotspot. Every Sunday, you can expect there to be large crowds gathering in Edinburgh’s Jubilee Gardens, anticipating some of the finest street food the city has to offer, as well as premium, British made products.
After you’ve gorged on artisan cheeses, olives, pasta or authentic macaroons, pastries, and crepes, spend some time browsing the handmade jewellery stands, original vinyl records, gift-worthy, handcrafted pieces, and homemade soaps.
Photo Credit: @stockbridgemarket
If this sounds good for you, you should definitely check out our British-made bath and body gift sets. The perfect present for every occasion!
Open every Sunday, all year round, from 10am-4pm.
Brighton Open Market
Next on the list is the quirky Brighton Open Market. Offering almost anything you can think of, this one is definitely an all-rounder!
Just some examples of stalls you’ll find here are: an apothecary filled with all-natural herbal remedies and skincare products, a haberdashery for all your sewing accessories, and a crystal therapy shop for all those spiritually-inclined market-goers. And for those wanting to stock up on their essentials, the market benefits from several practical supermarkets, a zero waste shop, and a pet pantry!
Brighton Open Market is also the site of several exciting events such as sewing workshops, vintage kilo sales, and coffee festivals. So time your trip right, and you could just find yourself taking a class on how to upscale your old clothes or sampling the UK’s best roasted coffee from an array of independent and passionate traders.
Like the range of stalls, the food selection found at Brighton Open Market is vast and varied, meaning there is something for everyone. So, grab yourself an authentic French pastry as you browse the market or relax with a vegan falafel lunch after a long morning of shopping. The choices go on and on!
Photo Credit: @brightonopenmarket
Open 7am-7pm Monday to Fridays, 7am-5pm Saturdays, and 10am-4pm Sundays.
Altrincham Market, Manchester
Located in the outskirts of the bustling city of Manchester, Altrincham is host to one of the original UK markets, with its charter dating back to 1290!
Altrincham Market is predominantly known for the vast number of food stalls, serving everything from artisan, vegan pizzas to homemade focaccia sandwiches to award-winning croissants.
Photo Credit: @altymarket
Aside from being one of the greatest places to experience true gastronomic wonder (I don’t say that lightly), Altrincham Market is ideal for vintage fashion, handmade furniture, and contemporary crafts. Shop hand painted prints, traditionally-glazed ceramic pieces, handcrafted clothing, books, flowers, and so so much more.
If you’re looking for personalisable British made gifts, check out our range of keepsakes on site now.
Photo Credit: @altymarket
Open Tuesday-Saturday 9pm-10pm and Sundays 9am-6pm.
There we have it. Our top-five pick of the best markets Britain has to offer.
One of the best things about shopping from independent British businesses is the love and passion these entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and craftspeople put into their products!
If you want to support small businesses and shop premium-quality, British-made gifts, homeware, kitchenware, and so so much more, head on over to our site, where you can find a whole host of fantastic products designed and made by skilled crafters right here in the UK!