The huge Victorian building, which takes its name from the hospital fields that once occupied this site, was once home to one of London’s largest fruit and vegetable markets. A general market still operates from Monday to Friday, but in a fairly desultory way. It is at the weekend that the building really comes to life, and particularly on a Sunday, when the organic food market is held. There are stalls selling organic fruit, vegetables, juices, bread, jams, relishes, pickles and eggs. Handmade, hand-woven, hand-dyed and hand-painted are the buss words at other stalls in the market, some of which offer extremely attractive products. One of the other good reasons to come here is the refreshments – if you’re hungry, stalls and small restaurants around the edge of the building sell a variety of international foods such as crepes, falafel, satays and Thai noodles.
This is perhaps the most eclectic London market of them all and really does deserve a whole day of a visit. (In fact, you really need two days to see and absorb everything.) At the Notting Hill Gate end, antique stalls, shops and indoor markets sell an amazing variety of goods, from cigarette cards to old tins and boxes to silver jugs and grandfather clocks. At the more northerly, seedier end, there are many supposed second-hand stalls – but a lot of stock, mainly clothes, looks more fourth or fifth hand. In between, there are craft and bric-a-brac markets – many young designers showcase their work here – and the food market. The food stalls stretch roughly from Colville Terrace to Lancaster Road, lining one side of the road. They operate to a lesser extent during the week, supplying fairly ordinary but surprisingly cheap fruit and vegetables to the locals, but come into their own on a Saturday, when the place is packed. That’s when the fast-food sellers appear. They offer Thai noodles and Jamaican patties – the latter a reminder of the Afro-Caribbean flavour of the area, which is exemplified by the Notting Hill Carnival, held here yearly at the end of August. There are good fish, bread and meat stalls, and you can also find glorious cut flowers. On Thursdays under the Westway, from 11am-6pm, there’s a small organic market, with good vegetables, bread, meats, dried fruit and nuts.