If the idea of going to the country over the weekend is just a bit too involved, heading over to Old Spitalfields Market today might be able to give you some illusion of escaping the big city. Though billed as "the Countryside Comes to Spitalfields," it's really more of fancy foods and a few barnyard animals.
There are a handful of penned-in furry friends for kids and adults alike to give a friendly scratch. The chickens aren’t all that accessible, but the sheep, pony, and donkey are all keen for attention (and, as Londonist mentioned earlier, we like donkeys).
If you go expecting to get fresh, organic fruit and veg, you'll probably be disappointed. If, however, you're looking for sausages, fresh bread, and lots of baked goods (especially brownies), then Taste East is a good bet for you. In addition, there are plenty of drinks vendors about giving out free samples and generally expanding on what's usually available on any given weekend at Spitalfields.
There are quite a number of food vendors usually at other markets around London that have converged near Liverpool Street and are giving out prepared samples of their goods. There are also cooking demonstrations that will be going on throughout the day tomorrow. Chefs from East End restaurants - including the Rivington and Café Spice Namaste - are demonstrating how they prepare their popular dishes, and giving out tastes when they've finished (which means, if you're patient, you can eat for free throughout the day).
Perhaps the countryside hasn't come to Spitalfields, but given the right weather it's a lovely way to pass the day. And honestly, if your day isn't brightened by petting a pony, you may just not have a heart.
Photos copyright Amanda Farah.