The distinction between the superlatives of a place being the largest or the longest may seem a bit pedantic. But in cases like that of Walthamstow Market, it is still an important one. While the largest outdoor market in Europe might be The Hague’s Haagse Mart, Walthamstow Market takes great pride in its title as possibly the longest. While often said to occupy a mile of this neighborhood’s High Street, its actual length is in fact closer to a kilometer (0.62 miles).
Walthamstow itself has been around since the 11th century—a record from around 1075 records its name as 1075 as Wilcumestowe, or “Welcome Place.” Over time the village grew into a town, and then eventually a municipal borough. In the late 19th century, Walthamstow’s population underwent a massive boom, which brought new buildings and infrastructure along with it.
The street market dates back to 1885, and is known for selling all sorts of goods catering to London’s multicultural clientele. Clothing (both regular and high-visibility), cookware, food and produce take up most of the stalls, although on Sundays it transforms into a farmers’ market where even more fruits and vegetables, along with dairy and baked goods, take over.
Walthamstow Market is not only notable for its length, but also for its reflection of London’s diversity. Some 500 stalls are filled with food and products from all over the world.