The Best Outdoor Markets in the UK

One of the UK's oldest outdoor markets can be found in Norwich
One of the UK's oldest outdoor markets can be found in Norwich | © Ian Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Josephine Platt
Commissioning Editor3 June 2020

Covid-19 control and prevention lockdowns are easing around the UK, with outdoor markets beginning to reopen. As we adjust to what shape our “new normal” will take on, one shopping format steps forward as a social distancing-friendly favourite: the outdoor market. Culture Trip rounds up some of the country’s best.

Norwich Market

Market, British, Fast Food
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Norwich Tourism - Norwich Market with Norwich City Hall and Guildhall in the background. Norwich City Centre.
© Robert Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
At 189 stalls, Norwich Market is one of the largest outdoor markets that trade Monday to Saturday. It’s also one of the oldest markets, with its history tracing back to the 11th century; apparently, the market would supply Norman merchants and settlers. Under Covid-19 lockdown, it’s currently operating with a one-way system to aid social distancing during its usual hours of 8am until 5pm. Incense and crystal stalls and jewellers are a few of the sellers you’ll see here.

Ridley Road Market, London

Bar, Market, African
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Ridley Road market in Dalston, London England United Kingdom UK
© Marcin Rogozinski / Alamy Stock Photo
Along with Broadway Market in Hackney, Ridley Road Market in Dalston marks the best of East London’s outdoor markets. Since the 1880s, this market has been at the heart of its community – with a “fusion of Afro-Caribbean, Asian and European goods” that its locals love it for. Across 150 stalls between 8am until 3pm, you’ll be able to pick up everything from fresh veggies to cosmetics, books and electric goods. That is, from Monday to Saturday.

Preston Outdoor Market

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Up North, under a restored Victorian market canopy, Lancashire’s Preston Market is a hit with locals for all the goods its traders bring to the table – literally. This destination is a labyrinth of markets – like the Fish Market and Secondhand Market – but the Outdoor Market is the place to go for bric-à-brac bargains. Books, candles, cards and indoor plants are among the offering. The market is closed on Sundays and Tuesdays, operating between 9am and 4pm on the other days of the week.

Western International Market, London

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The nature of this market is telling in its name. It’s an international affair at this West London wholesale market, located between Southall and Hayes. Come kitted out with your reusable tote bags, as you’ll be able to get your five-a-day, along with all sorts of bits for the house, like cleaning products and pet food. Unlike some markets, the Western International Market is out of action over the weekend; pop by between 8am until 3pm Monday to Friday.

Bury Market, Manchester

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Award-winning Bury Open Market in Greater Manchester contains dozens of stalls and attracts large crowds, including coach tours from many miles away.. Image shot 06/2018. Exact date unknown.
© Roger Goodwin / Alamy Stock Photo
There are over 300 stalls at this award-winning Mancunian open market. A stall dedicated to knock-off toiletries? Check. The same goes for bags, headware and tea towels. You get the picture: there’s not much you can’t get at the market. At the moment, it’s open only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays from 9am.

Pool Market, Cornwall

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pool market near redruth in cornwall, uk
© Kevin Britland / Alamy Stock Photo

Pool Market is both an indoor and outdoor market in Cornwall, between Redruth and Camborne. It’s been going for just over 30 years, with anything and everything being its unique selling point. Supposedly, you can get your hands on gold and silver, used designed clothing and all manner of arts and crafts. Meanwhile, there are also fresh fruits, veg and local produce available. The hours may differ due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Saturday and Sunday between 9am until 5pm are usually its opening hours.

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