Walk through Kingston’s town square and you’ll be greeted with the sights, smells and sounds of the Ancient Market. Not only does it have a wealth of history and tradition, there’s a strong sense of community lacking from your average shopping centre.
In common with some of London’s best farmers markets, the fruit and veg stall-holders are passionate about the quality of their produce. “I always make sure my produce is the best quality it can be. I choose it myself and know where it’s grown so I can guarantee it will taste great,” said one.
And the food on offer isn’t limited to fruit and veg. In addition to fish, meat and dairy products, shoppers can purchase a selection of breads as well as homemade oriental jams and pickles made from natural ingredients.
Amy, a first year student, in the queue at a hot food stand said: “I really like to come here if I want some lunch when I’m in town. They’ve got three hot food stands – you can choose from Moroccan, Japanese and the burger bar. There’s also a salad bar if you want something a bit healthier.”
There are 25 stalls in total, including a new smoothie bar, which uses ingredients bought from the fruit stalls to make their delicious concoctions. If you’re after something a bit richer they make a scrumptious hot chocolate.
“I feel it’s really important students shop at the market”, said 21-year old Graphic Design student Kristina. “I often shop at the stalls, the food is a bargain and I know I’m eating something really healthy. And they sell other things besides food– I’ve bought some really cool stuff from the craft stalls.”
These stalls are great for the student who wants to get something rare and individual. There’s the vintage stall which offers an exciting range of clothes and accessories. You can pick up a really special card for an important occasion or some handmade jewellery for a big event. These stalls in particular are seeing an influx of young market traders, including one of Kingston’s former students who is about to launch his own urban clothing stand.
Kristina hopes that these newer stalls will encourage more students to visit the market. “There are a lot of bargains to be had and it’s a great place to hang out. I’d love more students to give the market a go and help it to be the thriving place it should be.”
The market is open 7 days a week from 8am until 5:30pm.