The Chamberlain Hotel, Tower Hill: London’s Historic Markets
Closest tube stops: Aldgate, Aldgate East, Tower Hill
The Chamberlain Hotel is housed in our striking Edwardian pub, which combines historic style with modern touches designed to make your stay completely comfortable. The hotel’s location is what makes it truly special, though: you’ll find it in the heart of the City of London, close to several tube stops and within walking distance of some of London’s most exciting markets. In fact, it’s the ideal base from which to explore historic sites selling a huge variety of goods.
A ten-minute walk from the hotel will take you to Leadenhall Market, whose glamorous arches house a market that dates back to 1321, on a site that was once at the heart of Roman London. Browse Leadenhall’s boutique shops and cafés and stroll its characterful cobblestones before heading north up Bishopsgate (perhaps popping into The Astronomer pub on Middlesex Street along the way) and turning right into Brushfield Street for Spitalfields Market.
This iconic shopping spot has been a market since the 13th century, back when the area was mostly rural. It’s home to a huge number of bars, restaurants and food trucks, alongside stalls selling all kinds of home-made goods, music, clothes and trinkets. A brilliant spot to pick up some souvenirs, you can’t fail to find something unique to buy under the market’s sprawling canopy, while the monthly Arts Market is a great opportunity to uncover some talented new artists. Art lovers should check the latest dates online to make sure they don’t miss it.
Follow the trail of shops from Spitalfields east towards Brick Lane, which on Sundays hosts a vibrant street market from 10am to 5pm. Busy and bustling, packed with people and stalls, and filled with music and laughter, if you embrace the hubbub and allow yourself to be swept along with the colourful crowd, you’ll make the most of an East End institution that will leave you feeling invigorated.
As well as its curry restaurants (many of which claim to be the best on Brick Lane) and some striking street art, the market is famous for its fashion and textiles, with both Rokit and Beyond Retro attracting vintage clothes-lovers from miles around. Although there are plenty of stalls to see along the main road, you’ll also spot doorways and paths leading to yet more markets dotted along the way, including Boiler House Food Hall, where you can pick up a bite to eat, and the Sunday Upmarket, which has over 200 stalls to browse.
At the top of Brick Lane, you’ll find the world-famous Beigel Bake bakery. If you’re hungry, hit the long but fast-moving queue and buy a salt-beef or salmon and cream cheese bagel (authentically pronounced ‘bye-gal’ in this corner of London), or just some plain bagels and a polystyrene pot of to-die-for cream cheese to enjoy later.
To continue your tour, a ten-minute walk northwards will take you to the bottom of Colombia Road, where on Sunday you’ll find the famous (and famously busy) flower market. As well as selling blooms and plants of all kinds, this road is lined with quirky shops, and is a lovely way to end your market tour. From the end of the road, it’s a short walk to Hoxton overground station, where those with aching feet can take a train and tube back to the hotel.