England Part 2 : Covent Garden

There’s something about markets that make me feel at home and happy. Covent Garden was no exception.
Although Covent Garden hosts three markets, I focused on the Apple Market. As the name suggests, this used to be the place for fresh fruit and vegetables but it was made into a craft and design market in the 1980s.

I fell in love with the architecture and was constantly looking in every direction, trying not to miss anything. I bought a beautiful print of Big Ben (the obsession begins) at one of the stalls – you can see a number of stalls selling prints in the photo above.

It didn’t take me very long to find the flowers. I just don’t think a market is complete without flowers, do you? This was such a gorgeous selection – I loved the colours and the presentation. I also loved that they reminded me of Eliza Doolittle, everyone’s favourite Cockney Covent Garden flower-seller.
Then I stumbled upon the Sara Maria Strand soap stall. Boy, were my eyes and nose going into overdrive at this stall! SO many gorgeous things, beautifully presented, and they ALL smelt amazing. I couldn’t get over the detail in the flower buds, which ignited that internal debate I often have: “They’re too nice to use. We must save the nice things for that time when it will seem most appropriate to use them.” “Yeeeaaahhh, pretty sure that day never actually arrives because not long after you’ve set the things aside to save, you actually forget you have them until they’re all dusty and decrepit, like you will be.” Anyway. It’s not the soap’s fault they’re so beautiful AND locally made (well, local over there, anyway) in Muswell Hill, London.


Not far from SM Strand’s soap stall stands this traditional Highlander statue outside a tobacconist by the name of Segar & Snuff Parlour. According to the sign at his feet, statues like this of a Scotsman holding a flask of snuff told customers that the shop stocked Scottish snuff. These statues were proven to be very handy when new laws in the 18th century banned the use of overhead signs for fear of affecting the traffic going past. Take heed of the warning stated above his head – “The more you smoke the more you risk your health” – probably written in the smallest font they could legally have.

This market was a highlight of the trip for sure. Some people might think it’s boring when there’s so much else to see in England – to those I say “Patience, my good friend!” – but one of my favourite things to do in my spare time is meander through a good ol’ craft and design market and I was so happy I got to do that in England.

More highlights on the way next Sunday!

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Jacquie is a 20-something maker and writer from Melbourne. She enjoys eating virtually anything that is labelled salted caramel and, contrary to popular belief, has forgotten how to ride a bike. She feels ambivalent about writing in the third person but thought it might be fun. It was.


  1. Clare Davis Etheridge

    I love these photos, I have been away from the UK for 11 years now, but Covent garden still looks nice and familiar (even though I have only visited a few times). I used to love the Covent Garden Soup place for lunch. Those flowers are gorgeous!


  2. Rebecca Johnstone

    I love a craft market too – you can't beat it and London is a real hotbed of creativity and design. I love your photos of the flowers and the soap – can imagine all the lovely smells 🙂


  3. OneSmallLife

    Oh markets are just the best aren't they? From fancy-pants craft and design markets to nitty gritty fruit veg and fish markets, I love them all. Especially when they are housed is amazing buildings or outdoors in gorgeous surrounds, as they so often are. Thanks for reigniting my love of markets. Must get myself to one soon.


  4. birdandfox

    Thanks Clare! It's funny – I'd never been there before, never even set foot in England before, yet I felt so comfortable and happy at the market, like it was somehow familiar to me too. Loved it 🙂


  5. birdandfox

    I concur! Nothing better than a good old craft and design market. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to visit more markets over there but I think the Covent Garden was a good start – I'll just have to go back and see the rest another time!


  6. birdandfox

    You are most welcome, Kate! I couldn't agree more – I love all kinds of markets, all the hustle and bustle and finding great bargains as you wander through. I always try to go to one of my semi-local ones – the classic Camberwell market – but I haven't been able to make the time lately. Must try harder!


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