Expect the unexpected at Market Harborough Indoor Market

Sue Birch on Sue's Cheese Stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110807005
Sue Birch on Sue's Cheese Stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110807005

Where can you buy a reasonably-priced men’s shirt in Market Harborough?

Or Marks and Spencer’s underwear? Or find the highest-rated restaurant in Market Harborough, according to the website TripAdvisor?

Jane Cleaver on the Selvey & Co jewellery stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110732005

Jane Cleaver on the Selvey & Co jewellery stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110732005

Okay, you’ve guessed because of the headline, but did you actually know about the rich variety of Market Harborough’s Indoor Market?

The building – now packed with 60 independent traders – is 25 years old this year.

Admittedly it’s a fresh-faced youngster compared to the market’s history, which dates back to 1204, when the original market permit was granted to the town by King John, of Magna Carta fame. (It cost the town three marks – around 750g of silver.)

But surely only supermarket blinkers or perhaps a bit of snobbery have kept you from discovering at least a couple of traders here who have become an indispensable part of your shopping rota.

Aylin Aitken of Wee Bazaar.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110625005

Aylin Aitken of Wee Bazaar.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110625005

If you’re bemoaning the shortage of men’s clothes shops in the town, try John Steward’s business on the market.

It’s open six days a week (not Mondays), usually with John there in person.

“I’ve had shops in the past, but this cuts down the overheads and means nothing I sell is too expensive” he said.

“I could have retired by now, but I enjoy working here. Market Harborough market is still a good place to trade.”

John Steward with his men's clothes stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111303005

John Steward with his men's clothes stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111303005

His daughter Jules Bramham has followed dad onto the market – she’s just across the way with a lingerie stall called The Lingerie Lounge.

“I’m one of the newest traders here” she says. “But everyone here is so lovely...”

If you have-recognise some of her stock, that’s because it’s surplus Marks and Spencers stuff, with the labels cut out.

And what about the top-rated restaurant? That’s Dim Sum Master on the market.

Jules Bramham on her lingerie lounge stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111232005

Jules Bramham on her lingerie lounge stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111232005

The most recent six Tripadvisor reviews say “amazing”, “the best lunch”, “wonderful”, “delicious”, “brilliant” and “I absolutely adore this place”.

Elsewhere, the owner of the “old-fashioned sweet shop” Joe Brennan, says “this market’s got such a nice atmosphere, and it’s actually quite an upmarket place.

“If you’ve got the right product, it’s a good place to trade.”

And at the cake stall, Sarah Watson says: “I’ve got no regrets about coming here. We’re having a brilliant time and everyone bounces off each other.” She started on a pop-up stall, graduated to a permanent one, and now has a sit-down area too where she holds cup-cake classes.

There are long-established stalls here like Malcolm Garrett’s haberdashery Craft-I-Trims.

But new stalls are always coming in - Michael Hanley’s Grimsby fish stall is only eight weeks old.

Jo Brennan on his Brennan's Candy Cabin stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111149005

Jo Brennan on his Brennan's Candy Cabin stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111149005

Aylin Aitken’s WeeBazaar sells beautiful Turkish-made lamps (Aylin is Turkish) and textiles from India.

She says: “Working here is both a business and a pleasure. I really enjoy what I’m doing.”

John Maher and Andy Foster on the John Ross Butchers stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111043005

John Maher and Andy Foster on the John Ross Butchers stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111043005

Lydia Lowe and Sarah Watson on the Layer Cakes stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111013005

Lydia Lowe and Sarah Watson on the Layer Cakes stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-111013005

Chloe Goode on the Craft-I-Trims stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110945005

Chloe Goode on the Craft-I-Trims stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110945005

Michael Hanley from Grimsby on the fishmongers stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110910005

Michael Hanley from Grimsby on the fishmongers stall.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180620-110910005