FLEA MARKETS | London | Portobello Road

For me, there is no better way to spend a London Saturday than Portobello Road market.

Portobello Road is a Victorian street in the Notting Hill district of London. The market began as a fruit and vegetable market in the 19th century, and antique dealers started setting up stalls in the 1930’s. (There are still fruit and vegetables on the north end of the market.)

It’s a famous tourist destination, so it can get a bit crowded, but there’s treasures to be found, so don’t let that stop you.

I’m partial to all-white ironstone, but the pattern and shape of these vintage plates was charming. In preparation for an upcoming project, I am examining all vintage logos for inspiration…this one is quite elaborate.

There are galleries along the street that have indoor stalls, which works out well when it’s raining, like it was on the day I was there recently.

I love a stall with a theme, and this one, full of bread boards and kitchen tools, drew me in like a magnet. In a British “Homes & Garden” magazine, bread boards like these were stunningly displayed hung in a group on a wall.


House & Garden, October, 2009

This vendor sold only vintage apothecary jars and bottles. I like the black and white Victorian graphics.

This “Speed the Plow” mug was to celebrate industry. Love the vintage graphics…

Speaking of graphics (I’m a bit obsessed at the moment, but I promise not to make it a theme), the monogram on this c. 1709 ironstone plate stopped me in my tracks. The dealer, Mr. Savva, had a very unique collection of items.  As we talked, we discovered that we both buy antiques just because we love them, not necessarily because they are collectible or valuable. I had a lovely chat with this kindred spirit.


I like to imagine the people these personalized mugs were made for.

If it’s raining really hard, stop for breakfast. There’s a cafe’ upstairs above the Chelsea Galleries. The full English was more that I could handle (eggs, bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, a.k.a., blood sausage) so I ordered eggs and toast, with tea, of course.


A word of warning on the way back down the stairs…

I noticed a lot of vintage sports equipment…indicating a popular decorating trend of the moment.

Another trend that I saw in several stalls were these old printers trays, that were embellished and filled with vintage type. They can also be filled with mementos, like the one that was in the lobby of my hotel, Number 16.

Number 16 Hotel, London

This silver dealer has meticulously labeled all of her inventory, which is actually a great lesson in what all of those antique utensils were for. (I just like them because they’re pretty!) I have great respect for a dealer that is also an expert.

The way these old lead soldiers are lined up methodically is indication of someone with a passion for his collection. Who can resist stopping to, at the very least, have a look?





This CD stand was very popular. Their sign left no doubt as to the authenticity of their goods.

Colorful vintage books in this stall were stacked up in a creative way.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a market without yummy baked goods, fresh flowers, and a quirky street musician…


…and ugly cheese.


Portobello Road

One response to “FLEA MARKETS | London | Portobello Road”

  1. Orlene

    Everything was fun and interesting to look at but when i saw the pictures of all the fresh flowers grouped together, I said, “ahhhhhhh” and smiled.  We had snow again today and the picture just looked like Spring to me.  : )