Bermondsey "Thieves," Gray's and Alfie's antiques markets plus Borough food Market and a tour of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Fridays, weekly, year round departures. 08:00 - approx 17:00 (option to stay on independently at Alfie's)
We begin our day with one of the more colourful local neighborhood antiques markets. Bermondsey’s New Caledonian Market is commonly called the “Thieves Market” because, until 1995, this was one of the few markets in London that still fell under the ancient law of “market ouvert.” This allowed any items sold between sunrise and sunset to not be questioned, so stolen goods could be sold and good title would pass to the purchaser. Nowadays this remains one of London’s more interesting markets, full of character traders, from cockney barrow boys to posh pensioners. The merchandise is mostly bric-à-brac – dishes, decanters, teapots, silver service, figurines, cutlery and some old toys for good measure.
The crown jewel of this part of London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a worthy inclusion in our day. It is a stunning place, built using ‘antique’ Elizabethan building techniques, constructed entirely of English oak with mortise and tenon joints, this is the first and only thatch roof building permitted to be built in London since the Great Fire in 1666. We recommend returning to see a play here, a wonderful and unique theatre experience! Enjoy some free time in the Exhibition, a guided tour of the theatre itself followed by a short walking tour with your guide through the neighborhood of Bankside. The ‘Las Vegas’ of its time, delve into this area well known to Shakespeare and later Charles Dickens. Our walk will conclude at Borough Market, one of London’s largest and oldest food markets, where you’ll have free time for lunch. There is an amazing variety of choice – traditional British specialties, meat and vegetarian sandwiches, salads, smoothies, organic fruits, veg, breads, cheeses, sweets; a true selection of foods from around the world.
As a nice contrast to the neighborhood ‘Thieves’ Market, Gray’s Antiques is a high end market right in the heart of the Bond Street shopping district. Here, find a wide variety of fine jewelry, watches, artwork & classical antiques with a few stalls of military memorabilia and vintage clothing. The centre is home to over 200 dealers on 2 levels, split into 2 buildings so lots to explore. Interestingly, a lost tributary of the River Tyburn was found during a refurbishment and has been integrated into the design as a relaxing coy pond.
Our final market of the day is Alfie’s Market, a sprawling extravaganza of mint condition vintage gowns, shoes, jewelry, military memorabilia and rooms and rooms of interesting mid-Century furniture and lighting fixtures. There seems to be everything here from rotary telephones to first edition books! For over 30 years Alfies Antique Market has attracted collectors, designers and even a few celebrities lured by its unique ‘bohemian chic’ atmosphere and abundant opportunities to find some genuine treasures. There is a roof-top café here for those wishing an afternoon snack or a tea break too.
Our day concludes at Alfie’s Market. Guests have the option to depart for Waterloo station at 5pm with their tour guide or extend their stay independently at Alfie’s (10 minute walk to Marylebone station/Bakerloo line.)