Sometimes at weekends I pop up to Old Spitalfields Market and have a mooch about. The area is on the Eastern side of Central London, just a few minutes walk from Liverpool Street tube and mainline stations. There has been a market on this site since the mid Seventeenth Century. Sunday is the day I usually go, but if you are interested in antiques then Thursday is the best day to go. Because of the proximity of the city, the area has been gentrified and there are lots of coffee shops, upmarket chain restaurants and some pricey shops. To be honest I don't really visit for the shops or chains, but to see the eclectic mix of stalls in the market. Fruit & veg are not sold here, they are at New Spitalfields Market, which is further out towards Leyton. Relatively recently they have started opening the market on a Saturdaay, but I have not visited on that day to comment if it is the same.
The market area is undercover and has two sections to it, to be honest I don't know if there is any particular difference to either side, as both seem to offer a good mix of products - both handmade and imported, although one is bigger than the other, I think this is the original side. I checked on line, and it seems the newer side maybe more Arts & Crafts type items, but I have bought art from both sides, so I don't believe there is an 'offical' delineation.
FASHION & ACCESSORIES
There are quite a few stalls for fashionistas. Some sell vintage goods, some sell 'recycled' clothes like a range of outfits made from old ties (featured in The Apprentice a couple of seasons ago). Some sell printed slogan T-shirts, original lingerie and there is also sometimes a unique range of baby outfits and accessories. Personally I like the ones that sell quirky scarves and pashminas, but I have to say that I have not yet purchased any fashion items as I have found them a bit pricey, and not always to my taste. This is a good place to come if you like original clothing that is a bit different, but this is not the sort of market where you will get anything uber-cheap. There are also a few jewellery stalls - some are selling second hand goods, some sell original silver pieces designed by themselves and there are some very tasteful pieces. There are also a number of stalls selling watches, usually plastic fashion watches though.
According to the website, Friday is the 'Fashion' day at Old Spitalfields, but never having visited on this day I cannot comment.
As well as a pub and some chain restaurants (Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Giraffe etc) within the newer part of the market, there are also smaller establishments selling take away foods items. On the bigger side there are a number of food stalls selling mainly ethnic dishes to eat, as well as 'deli' type stalls selling olives, nuts or sweets and an oyster stall.
There are also a number of restaurants just outside the market perimeter, and a short walk up Kingsland Road (A10) towards Old Street brings you to a run of Vietnamese restaurants .