The Best Markets to Visit in London

Our top picks for the best markets to visit in London. From the oldest and one time largest markets in Europe to the trendiest with the best street food. For an interesting thing to do in London and a cultural route to the past that can surpass any museum visit London's favourite markets

Markets have been part of human culture for as long as there has been culture and London is no different as a settlement. Once you understand the influence they had on the city's evolution and the city's evolution had on them you are open to an entire new insight to the mechanisms that made Victorian Britain work in particular.

From their heyday to their recline and re-birth in tandem with economic flux they tell a fascinating story. Getting to know London's markets will give you a unique insight in to the history and lifestyle of Londoners like nothing else. You can hear, see, touch, smell and interact with the food, wares, and people that have formed London culture and will continue to do so.

Although in present day times London supermarkets and online food delivery services are the main source of people's nutritional nourishment markets continue to provide the life blood for London's food supplies particularly for quality restaurants, butchers, and fishmongers. If you eat really fresh fish on London there is a good chance it came via Billingsgate market.

If you are a foodie on a mission to explore London's gastronomy your journey won't and can't be complete until you visit the city's best markets. These are our favourites.

Smithfield Market

Europe's largest meat market, Smithfield - originally named Smoothfield market - was first established more than 800 years ago. Despite moving location in the 1850s as a result of public health fears the market is a fascinating destination for chefs in particular. Open from 2am until around 8am you will need to be up either early or late if you want to check it out.

Berwick Street Market

Located in the West End Berwick Street Market is part of the soul of Soho and has been since it first opened.

Leadenhall Market

Dating back to the 14th century Leadenhall Market was originally a meat and poultry market. Nowadays it is home to a number of high end shops, restaurants and an award winning pub. Popular as a lunchtime hangout for the City's financial workers Leadenhall is a trendy and historic destination for food and drinks.

Camden Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

The market originally opened as a covered food market in 1869 as an attempt by Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, a philanthropist of the day's attempt to improve the local area following a spate of murders and its decline in to a slum. The original market building did not last though closing all together in 1886. The local street traders carried on trading in the area and by the 1920s the focus of the market had shifted to cut flowers and it was being help exclusively on a Sunday as it is today. More ups and downs followed during the twentieth century but since its resurgence in the 1960s it has become one of east London's most popular markets. Columbia Road Flower Market is open on Sundays between 8am and 2pm.

Old Spitalfields Market

Old Spitalfields Market, at one time known as Spittle Fields, is located on a site that has been used as a market for over 350 years. Open seven days a week the market is probably London's best for street food with more than 40 food stalls making it popular with workers from London's financial district during the week. It is just as popular or even more so at the weekend. Food isn't the only thing you will find at the market with plenty of arts and crafts, fashion and home furnishings all well represented.

Old Billingsgate Fish Market

Billingsgate Wharf became the central market in London for fish as early as the 16th century although it was not formally established in 1699. By the 19th century the market had become the largest fish market in the world. By the latter half of the 1800s public health fears contributed to it, like Smithfield Market, being moved further from the most populis areas of the city and its new home became Poplar. The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 4am to 8.30am.

Petticoat Lane Market

If you have a favourite market that we have not featured then let us know about it for the chance to earn bonus London points. We are always updating our London guide and London blog so if you enjoyed this article remember to register with us and regularly take a look at both.

The Best Markets to Visit in London Map

Last updated on 9/12/19, 2:23 AM

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