There’s nowhere else in the area like it. Some say it’s rundown and depressing, others that it’s unpretentious and one of the last pockets of real London. Go decide for yourself tomorrow (or every Thursday/Saturday), when the street market (one of the oldest in the capital) runs from 9am -3pm.
If you arrive from Chalk Farm (the nearest tube) approach from the arch at the western end:
Pet’s Corner is on your left (itself worth a wander around, but only if you can handle seeing kittens in cages.) Step back in time at cash-only grocery store Frank’s, on your right, where the prices are delectable (65p for a sandwich!) Outside its flapping awnings lie the bargainous fruit ‘n’ veg stalls, and the florist lady.
The area is home to sizeable Jamaican, Asian and Somali communities, and Mrs Kentishtowner swears by the dozen or so cosmopolitan food shops: pick up huges piles of veg by the £1 bowl (8 avocados for £1) from Al-Kheyrat, for example.
To feed a Saturday lunchtime hangover try the excellent curry stall (about £4), or fish and chips from The Blue Sea, a renowned chippie. And don’t miss number 159, on the left hand side of the street: one of the first ever branches of Sainsbury’s, opened in 1873 (the family lived upstairs), it’s now a derelict store called ‘Studio Prints, with its 1960s facade still intact. In a case of extreme stupidity, the below signage was forever removed in 2005.