Brixton Market

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London, England

I am definitely not one to sing the praises of London but I must admit it is starting to grow on me. When I was here last year I stayed with Liz and Adrian and hated London a little less.  

Part of the reason for this was that they live in Brixton and I really loved the neighborhood and even found an authentic Mexican restaurant in London.

This was shocking to most of my other friends in London who said Brixton was dodgy and dangerous. But remember I love ugly cities and when cities are too sanitized like Innsbruck Austria I feel like I’m with a pretty, boring girl. Nice to look at, nothing to say.

 

But Brixton has lots to say.

 

It is a multicultural neighborhood with a quarter of its residents of African and Caribbean descent. Over the last century it’s been a neighborhood for the working class, a home to many new immigrants and historically a place for many riots. There’s been so much turmoil that when The Clash wrote Guns of Brixton they weren’t referring to the infamous riots in the 1980s.

 

Brixton

Today Brixton is slowly becoming gentrified. I had met people who worked for advertising agencies had moved in and I suspect people in similar occupations also see the seduction of a neighborhood that isn’t white washed.

You can see how things are changing most with Brixton Market, the outside maintains its multi-ethnic market but on the inside it is evolving into trendy restaurants and cafes.

 

Brixton Market

I love the outside market and I walked around just to see what people were selling. Vendors shout out at you trying to lure you into their shops. Some greet me in English, others in Spanish and when I respond back in Spanish they ask me where I am from and why I won’t buy their chicken for dinner.

For me it’s about the people. I have had great conversations with fish mongers from Tajikistan about how cold it really is in Canada and we laughed when their boss told them to get back to work in a language I didn’t understand – a scolding tone is universal.

I became friends with a student from Afghanistan working at a cell phone booth who explained how to get a SIM card for my new GalaxySIII and sold me a case for £3.

He introduced me to Kelly, who I had already met, a man who had worked in Brixton Market for 40 years and sold me a converter for £1.

 

cow foot

sea bass

For me Brixton Market is why London is interesting. Who cares about the London Eye or some old ceramics in a museum?

Not me.

 

 

 

 

Join the Conversation

  1. JO (the Blond) says:

    I live in London and I never go to Brixton. Mostly, because I also thought it was dangerous. Your post inspired me to give it a go. I might visit the market. It looks really interesting.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You must go! I find it so funny that people in London think it’s dangerous when it is not at all.

  2. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    In my next life I’m making sure that I’m born in a city with a market.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You don’t have one at all? That is terrible!

  3. Shanna Schultz says:

    I love photos of markets! The market is the first place that I look for to get a taste of local culture (and not necessarily the pretty, touristy market, but I try to find the market where the locals shop, because sometimes they aren’t the same thing.)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Touristy markets are nice, the guys at Pike Place have a staged fish that they throw around for the tourists. But I prefer the local markets too.

  4. So glad you found something in London that you could connect with. 🙂 I love the markets there very much – especially meeting quirky and interesting characters. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh believe me, Brixton definitely has some quirky characters.

  5. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Every market I went to in London was amazing. Sounds like I would like Brixton. Love that you got to practice your Spanish in London 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Brixton is definitely my favourite market in London so far.

  6. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I’m determined to visit Brixton next time in London. I love London and have seen quite a lot of it, but have not visited the markets — a shame, really.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s the first place I really connected with and made me hate London just a little less.

  7. I loved it! There so much variety… and prices are really good (still!). I don’t live too far away from it 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Any place that you can get cow’s feet is definitely somewhere with variety!

  8. I used to live in Clapham and often nipped down to Brixton for a poke around the market. Having previously lived in the Caribbean I loved the trip down memory lane. The steelband music at the bus stop was fun too!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I love the diversity of the people there, I had never met someone from any of the ‘Stans before but had such great conversations about their countries.

  9. Matthew Karsten says:

    I’m going just to buy some tasty cow foot. 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’ve had pig feet before but never cow foot.

  10. Ron | Active Planet Travels says:

    Despite what some may say is a dangerous city, I think Brixton is definitely on my list of places to explore. I can find myself relating to you in that I would obviously prefer a “dark city” with a colorful culture than that of a bright city with a few colorful pictures. Great write up, can’t wait to hear more!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have taken the bus home at 2am to Brixton and waited at the bus stop for another bus several times and I never had an issue. The diversity and the history of the area really makes it special.

  11. Jennifer Gresham says:

    You’re in London? We’re here for the holidays, if you’re interested in a lovely walk through Hampstead Heath. It’s dark as mud and colorful as barren trees at the moment. I love it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I left before the holidays but I know I’ll be back again and will keep Hampstead Heath on my to-do list.

  12. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Love the first picture!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The people here are really so great. I wish I had taken more photos.

  13. Kristin Addis says:

    I just don’t want to believe that there’s actually good, authentic Mexican food in London. But, you’d know just as well as I would. I am missing it soooo hardcore right now in Asia!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was surprised too but I’m telling you Casa Morita is legit.

  14. Emily in Chile says:

    There are so many great London neighborhoods that I haven’t explored at all yet. Looks like Brixton market is well worth the trip.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It has made me start to realize that maybe I don’t like London because I’ve been to all the wrong places.

  15. Oh no! You can’t leave me hanging here with the London hate all by myself! I will admit that there are interesting/fun things about the city, just not enough of them… I’m going to have to go try that Mexican place. I just can’t believe it until I taste it!

  16. I remember moving to London and having people tell me about the many neighbourhoods they thought were dodgy including Brixton. After exploring those places I concluded that these people just relied on misguided information they heard from others rather than checking out the place themselves.

    Brixton is an amazing place to explore and has such a good vibe. It was the first place I took my mum to when she came to visit. We went all through the market and she got items to make some of my favourite Jamaican dishes.

    Besides the market, there is a top concert venue (Brixton Academy), good pubs/bars/clubs, tasty restaurants and a great cinema. I have also found myself there late in the night/early morning and never had issues. People who avoid the area missing out.

  17. Its funny cos most people in London have not explored a lot of it. They say Brixton is dangerous but its no more dangerous than anywhere else.
    Like anywhere you can find trouble if you go looking for it.

    There are lots of markets in London and its true loads of the characters are to be found there.

  18. It sounds like a place that would inspire me to paint.

  19. Same Day Tour Package says:

    I really love it, London is wonderful place and these citizens are very romantic, this is awesome market place……..Thanks

  20. Danger is sort of relative isn’t it? Every big city has it s dangers no matter what country you are in and you really just need to acknowledge that and use common sense. There are definitely areas of a city that in most countries will be no go for tourists so you just need a truthful and accurate assessment of where those places are from someone that knows i.e. a local.

    Also a day time visit to an area may be totally different to visiting after dark and it also depends on what you are used and where you come from. It is a good idea to err on the side of caution but in doing that you may miss out on some real gems of an experience. Personally I think it is worth taking a little bit of a risk now and then!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Agreed, and I always recommend arriving somewhere new during the day. At night it may seem scary but with daylight it’s much better.

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