Old Spitalfields is AMAZING. Skip Portabello -- it's too crowded and overpriced. I spent at least two Sundays and one Thursday a month at Spitalfields. For those who don't like the outdoor market experience, this place is definitely for you! Located near the East End's Brick Lane, Spitalfields is filled with the young designers, artists, and cooks of London. It truly is a mecca of creativity. On a given Sunday, you can buy anything from organically grown dried fruit to a very unique and highly coveted shirt designed by an up-and-coming Coco Chanel or Tom Ford.
Upon entering the market, you might smell something quite putrid, that means you entered where the food stalls are located. You can get foreign and quite rare cheeses, dips, and spreads from a nice Italian entrepreneur. Near the cheeses you'll find fresh fruits and veggies, all grown or hand-picked by hard working foreigners. Next to them, you can find delicious baked items -- some stalls have German specialties, while other stalls have breads that'll remind you of the patisseries of Paris.
My favorite section is the clothing section. Loads of young designers come with samples of their clothing. You can try on some of the clothes in their make-shift dressing rooms, which if you're not careful, the boy at the next stall might get a sneak peak at you, but that should be the least of your worries. If you find a shirt, but want to think about it, you might want to think quickly because some other girl might've spotted that shirt and steal it from right under your nose! This is because the designers try to keep their clothes in demand, so you'll want to come back for more! Really, you'll find things here that put Miss Selfridges and Top Shop to shame.
Another favorite of Spitalfield-goers is the food section! Oh, and what a selection you have! You can get anything from lemon and sugar crepes to a plate of enchiladas, frijoles, and chips. It really is quite the international eating experience. You can also find fudge, gelato, and fried bananas.
You'll need a whole day to explore the wonders of Old SpitalFields. If you walk through Brick Lane market before coming to SpitalFields, you'll also encounter exclusive designer shops that have clothing that you cannot find anywhere else! Make it a point to explore the back roads of this area. You never know what you'll find!