BEYOND RETRO – An institution selling men’s and women’s fashion spanning every era from 1920s flapper girl to 1990s grunge, this vintage franchise has stores in London (Brick Lane, Dalston, Soho), Brighton and Sweden. So great is its intake of second-hand clothing that it’s even created its own recycled clothing label.
ROKIT – This former Camden market stall proved so popular with locals and visitors that it now has four London stores, specialising in vintage fashion and accessories. Our favourite is the Brick Lane shop, where window displays are a sight to behold and coveted high-end vintage show-pieces have a waiting list of eager buyers lined up.
VINTAGE HEAVEN – At the entrance to the colourful Columbia Road Flower Market (worth a visit in its own right) is Vintage Heaven. This store kicks off a parade of retro and antique shops close to Brick Lane. It specialises in mid-century homewares and kitchen paraphernalia. Crockery is displayed by colour and there’s a vintage cafe that offers tea and cake.
CAMDEN PASSAGE – This pretty cobbled lane in Islington is lined with antiques stores, vintage clothing boutiques and cafes. Scattered along the lane are four separate market areas devoted to antique curios and whatnots. The main market days are Wednesday and Saturday.
SPITALFIELDS ANTIQUES MARKET – Traders have been hawking their wares at this East London spot since 1638. Fashionable Spitalfields hosts tonnes of vintage-inspired events, and its weekly indoor vintage/ antiques fair is the city’s best. Get here early to snag a bargain amid the mid-century pottery, taxidermy, vintage lighting, ’60s frocks and other dusty treasures.
PORTOBELLO MARKET – Many of the ‘antiques’ on sale at Portobello are fakes these days, but this eclectic market is still a London icon and atmospheric zone for vintage fans on Saturdays. There’s as much of interest in the tiny independent stores – vintage clothes, jewellery and knick-knacks – as there is in the market itself: the Golborne Road end is best for true vintage wares.
WILTON’S – Wilton’s began life in the late 17th century and is, today, a gloriously atmospheric example of one of London’s Victorian public house music halls brought back to life. It hosts a variety of shows, from comedy and classical music to theatre and opera. One-hour guided tours offer an insight into its fascinating history.
CITY OF LONDON DISTILLERY – This Victorian-inspired gin den sunk in the bowels of the city is one of the few bars to distil its own ‘mother’s ruin’ on site. There are more than 200 gins on the menu and, after 4pm, the staff get busy shaking up gin cocktails. The micro-distillery runs tours.