Once we'd refuelled we hit the road over to the East End, I just love driving through London town on a quiet Sunday morning, no traffic, no crowds, when you can fully appreciate the beauty of the city. London isn't as obviously beautiful as say Prague or Paris but it has a happening, energetic and experimental vibe. I love it and am very proud to be a Londoner.
Columbia Road, which was originally a pathway for sheep to the slaughterhouses of Smithfields, has been around in various guises since the 1860's, it was built by the heiress and philanthropist Angela Burdett Coutts. Though her market has now been knocked down the terraced shops still stand, of which I think she'd be proud. They are some of the most fascinating and unique independent shops in London. From Angela Flanders' perfume emporium to Treacle Cakes to Bob & Blossom and the little alleyways that lead to Courtyards full of stalls and cafes, it seems that every nook and cranny is filled with buying opportunities! Personally I now prefer the shopping in Columbia Road to Spitalfields, which has become ever so slightly commercialised.
The market itself is awash with Eastend characters, colour, blissful perfumes and together with all the food stalls and street entertainers it is the perfect endroit to make yourself feel better, but also for the little ones it's great free fun. Matilda loved smelling the flowers as she went by the stalls, she was fascinated by the music, the hustle and bustle of the market traders and the streams of people walking past, a lot of them stopping to say hello to her.
These guys were particularly jolly entertaining a huge crowd before them. We found it hard to drag Matilda away from them as she danced around in her pram.
And where else would you see a group of Pearly Queens?! Fabulous fun!
We came away armed with Perennials for the garden - '2 for a fiver', a big bunch of white hydrangeas, a bag of bagels, a couple of penguin classics for our growing collection and a beautiful old Nursery rhymes book for Matilda. We were a very satisfied family yesterday, nothing like good old fashioned Eastend entertainment!