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Brick Lane Market

Brick Lane - photo from LeBonSensdesEtoiles.comBrick Lane market is arguably the most exciting market in the UK. Built around Brick Lane in Tower Hamlets, east London, it's like a huge, sprawling, colourful flea market, where a visitor might stumble across literally anything for sale.

Bustling and chaotic with that special London “young artist” vibe, Brick Lane Market stalls offer a dizzying array of unique items, from second-hand “retro” clothes to antiques, electronics to food, original crafts to DVDs. Located in the heart of East London's Bangladeshi community, Brick Lane is also one of the best places to eat curry in London; some people even call the street “Curry Lane.” Locals also rave about its 24-hour bagel joints. It's rumoured to be an excellent place for people-watching, especially on Sunday, when the street really comes alive – unfortunately, though, that is also the day it becomes too crowded for some people!

At the northern end of Brick Lane lies the 11-acre Old Truman Brewery. This is home to five markets, known as the Truman Markets: the Boiler House Food Hall, the Tea Rooms, the Backyard Market, the Sunday UpMarket, and the Vintage Market.

As its name suggests, the Sunday UpMarket comes to life on Sunday. It comprises over 140 stalls, and the focus is mainly on fashion, music, interior design and arts/ crafts. Top tip: it's an excellent place to buy original gifts for men, as there is a wide selection of men's fashion and accessories, as well as quirky one-of-a-kind gift ideas for the man who thinks he already has everything! Having said that, like most fashion-focused markets, the Sunday Upmarket is best known for its rings, bracelets and necklaces for women; but as well as jewellery for women you can find a lot of younger, funkier, cheaper accessories that would make excellent gifts for girls who need to be on the cutting edge of accessory trends. If something is “in”, it's in one of the Brick Lane markets somewhere!

Another top tip: as with all the trendiest, busiest London markets, it's best to set aside an entire day if you want to find the perfect gift for her (or him) at a good price. Apart from the one-of-a-kind pre-owned items like secondhand clothing and antiques, you can probably find that elegant leather bag or adorable furry beret sold at different prices at several different stalls. It's worth taking the time to walk through the entire market before buying something. Yes, it can be a bit exhausting, but it gives you the perfect excuse to try out some of the ethnic foods that have been tantalising your senses all morning!

Many markets make the claim “You never know what you might find,” but few live up to that promise the way BrickLane Market does.

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