New Covent Garden
If you’ve ever seen My Fair Lady, you’ll know that the old Covent Garden Market used to be the place in London to buy blooms. In 1974, it relocated to its current site in Nine Elms to become part of the UK’s biggest wholesale fruit, veg and flower market. As you’d expect then, the choice of flowers here is extensive (this is where 75% of all London florists come to get their produce). If you’re unsure what to buy, check out the Flower Market Report, which will tell you what’s in season, and what the experts are loving right now. It’s not just flowers you’ll find here; New Covent Garden also sells house plants, foliage and interior decorations.
Core trading hours are Monday to Saturday from midnight to 6am. So yes, you’ll need to get up early!
Scarlet & Violet
Stuck for flower arranging inspiration? Scarlet & Violet will sort you out in no time. This unique Kensal Green florist displays various old fashioned garden flowers (roses, carnations, hollyhocks) in jugs, milk bottles, teapots and the like. The result is at once an antiquey yet trendy accoutrement of blooms. You can either get one of the florists to make you up a display (which will cost you a pretty penny), or simply take some flowers home along with a head full of new ideas.
Scarlet & Violet is open 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday.
This beautiful east London road blossoms into life every Sunday morning, when flower sellers pitch up on the pavements. Some of these stallholders have been here for decades (many started out in the 1970s), with the official website even quoting their pitch patter (Carl Grover for example, likes to shout “You lucky people!”). Species of flowers at Columbia Road run the gamut; you’ll find everything from lilies, to carnations, to brassicas, to amaryllis. Traders have got time for you here, and will happily discuss what might be best for your home, or if you’re looking for seeds, the garden. This is also a great place to pick up pots of fresh herbs for your Sunday roast. Columbia Road isn’t just shopping – it’s a morning out!
Columbia Road Flower Market is open every Sunday from 8am to 3pm.
Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart
If you’re looking for that something extra special, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart is the place to go. Touted by Sophie Conran as “the best florist in England”, Wild at Heart puts together special bouquets for weddings and events, and really know its onions (or should that be flowers?) when it comes to seasonal colour schemes and scents. Although you can order online, it’s always nicer to visit one of their London outlets in Westbourne Grove, or in the luxury department store Liberty. Maybe you wouldn’t buy your blooms here every week, but once in a while it’s well worth splashing out.
Check opening times for different outlets on the website.