T+L’s guide to chic boutiques along Columbia Road in trendy East London.

By Brooke Le Poer Trench
January 09, 2013
Credit: Laurie Fletcher

Behind the fragrant flower market that bursts to life every Sunday on this street in East London, there’s a hidden trove of boutiques that just might be the city’s best-kept shopping secret.

The shelves of Vintage Heaven (No. 82; 44-127/721-5968) practically teeter with Midcentury crockery, glassware, and objets d’art in retro floral patterns.

The owners of Treacle (Nos. 110–112; 44-20/7729-0538) are passionate about cupcakes. Theirs are topped with a delicious buttercream and edible flowers.

British artist Rob Ryan creates whimsical paper-cut designs for his shop, Ryantown (No. 126; 44-20/7613-1510). Pick up one of his original illustrations or a more affordable printed tile (from $43).

Got a sweet tooth? Suck & Chew (No. 130; 44-20/8983-3504) is filled with proper English candies such as Rhubarb and Custards, Cola Cubes, and Rosy Apples.

Renowned throughout London for their artistry, the staff at the Powder Room (No. 136; 44-20/7729-1365) will give you a makeover, manicure, or blowout while you sip tea and eat cake in their Art Deco–style parlor.

Affordable wooden toys crowd the floor of nostalgic children’s store Bob & Blossom (No. 140; 44-127/367-9497). On the racks: a namesake cool-kids clothing line.

Openhouse (No. 152; 44-797/985-1593) is the only place in East London to sell planting pots bearing the crest of the Royal Botanic Garden, in Kew. Locals also love co-owner Alex Grayburn’s handmade flower baskets.

T+L Tips

At the historic Columbia Road flower market, cockney-accented traders holler out offers on everything from English roses to topiary trees from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m every Sunday.

Feeling peckish? Recharge at Brawn (No. 49; 44-20/7729-5692; lunch for two $80), with seasonal dishes (Suffolk pork belly; English pea risotto), craft brews, and natural wines.

Discover new artists worth knowing when you drop in at Nelly Duff (No. 156; 44-20/7033-9683), one of the first galleries to hang the work of seminal British street artist Banksy.