25/52 – Portobello Road Market
Am I the only person who wants to burst into that song from ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ every time I hear the phrase ‘Portobello Rd’?
Anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold by the barrel down old Po-o-or-to-be-e-llo Road
Anyway, I did head down to the famous market on Saturday and I wasn’t disappointed. Even though the Market has become saturated with tourists, it’s probably still possible to get your hands on anything and everything, if you’re prepared to spend long enough sorting through the seriously huge amount of stuff on offer in the various shops, stalls and pop-ups which line Portobello Road.
The market proper is easy to find from any nearby tube station (I arrived into Ladbroke Grove), and Saturday is by far the busiest and best day to go. Selling everything from antiques, jewellery, curiosities, hot food, fruit and veg, vintage clothes and retro furniture, it can certainly seem overwhelming at first, but it’s so fun to just let yourself wander in and out of all of the stalls and get lost in the covered market areas – which appear to be just one shop, but open up into a rabbit warren of tiny stalls and stands!
I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – and it’s fair to say that you have to poke through a good amount of trash to find any treasure – but I did fall in love with a pair of hideous siamese cat ornaments and a gorgeous silver miniature charm. You’ll be glad to hear that I resisted both, and pressed on through the completely packed market to find a small art gallery. The gallery, which appeared to be a temporary space, was filled with some really cool pieces and although I’m no art buff, I was so happy to find such an unexpected display to explore.
Further on, at the North Kensington end of Portobello Road, there are some pretty, eclectic cafés, and also a fantastic selection of ‘vintage’ (ie. old and in need of lots of love and possibly a professional upholsterer) furniture stores, which I actually loved and I think it would be a great way to collect unusual or retro pieces for your home. I’m definitely planning on shopping here when I have a place of my own, and it’s the best selection of this kind of second hand furniture which I’ve come across so far. Overall, I really enjoyed strolling down Portobello Rd and poking through the monumental amount of ‘things’ which are on offer! I can see why the market is so popular, and it’s incredibly interesting to browse, but I have to say that, for me, there was just too much, and it was way too ‘messy’ (does that make sense?) to properly experience the market, and I can’t say that I would rush to go back.
That being said, it’s so cool to experience the famous Portobello Rd, and if you’ve got a free Saturday and an urge to browse through lots of crazy, crappy or cool stuff, it’s for sure worth a visit! (but maybe just the one!) 😉