Borough food market is not a London secret, in fact its one of busiest attractions in South London and one of London’s most famous markets. This however doesn’t make it any less appealing. I visit Borough for breakfast or lunch and snack on my buys while exploring the Southbank. It’s the perfect start to a day out in the city and launches new visitors headfirst into the reality of London. It is full to bursting with people and offers huge choice and variety (it’s also a little dear on the pocket).
8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL
+44(0)20 7407 1002
Closest tubes: London Bridge and Borough Closest station: London Bridge
Opening hours: Thurs, Fri and Sat 8-4 (but the earlier you get there the better your chances)
Google map: bit.ly/nj08Mm
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I never realised quite how seriously Kiwis take their coffee until I discovered Federation's fantastic brews. The flat white is a thing of joy and there are loads of tasty cakes.
Come early (especially at weekends) to get a seat at one of south London's best Thai cafes.
Located at the open Coldharbour Lane end, the bistro spills out into the sunshine and can stay open after the market traders have long since shut up shop and gone home. Great Thai flavours.
1 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR
+44 207 095 8922
Nearest tube: Victoria line to Brixton, buses 3, 35, 133, 159
Google map: bit.ly/nkW5Dn
Columbia Road is East London at its best. On a Sunday it has a carnival feel as hundreds of people descend on this thin little street in pursuit of beautiful flowers. The flower market takes over the street completely; flower sellers yell out their latest bargain prices and you can’t move for bouquets and stalls. However it is also worth squeezing through the masses to visit the street’s art and design boutique shops. Do try and pause for 15 minutes to listen to one the many impromptu live music performances. To avoid the worst of the crowds and to find a seat in a cafe try and arrive near opening.
Brixton Market is a place of two halves. It is full of its famous multi-cultural food stalls which never fail to make me feel like I’ve been transported far from London with their smells and noises. Yet it is also developing into a bohemian hub. Next to the fish and vegetable stalls you can now find quirky independent vintage shops, cafes and restaurants. There is something for everyone here and it’s a real experience. While in the area why not see a film at the Ritzy cinema or visit the Viewfinder photography gallery.
Electric Avenue, Brixton, London, SW9 8JX
Not open Sundays, late night opening on Thursdays – check the website for exact times.
Closest tube: Brixton (Victoria Line) Closest station: Brixton (National rail)
Google map: bit.ly/ii1kHq
Situated within an old train carriage this café is truly individual. Its exterior is regularly up-dated with brilliant local graffiti art and there’s a great outdoor terrace in the summer. Inside it’s bright and airy with interesting art hanging about. The menu is great value and everything is freshly made. It’s got a buzzy atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s run by a local art collective and in the community space surrounding the café there are often special events and craft markets. Visit on a Saturday morning and combine your trip with a visit to the Deptford junk market.
A fascinating market which reflects the diversity of the local population.
A stroll down Atlantic Road and Electric Avenue in the centre of Brixton will take you past well established British fishmongers and more recently arrived Portuguese grocers. Further into the market are the stalls and shops stocking Caribbean staples, salt fish, plantains, green bananas and cassava. Butchers shops cater to many different communities, some are halal some sell pig's trotters and tails. Others sell Brazilian sausages or Columbian delicacies. In the last 12 months the Brixton Village project has seen the development of previously empty market units so that there are now new shops and stalls in the Granville Arcade, sitting alongside those selling dried fish from West Africa and a bewildering variety of yams. These ventures include small independent coffee shops and pizza restaurants, bakeries and an old fashioned sweet shop. Best of all there is always something new and especially on a Saturday you never know what you may find.
Columbia Road is probably my favourite street in London. Open every Sunday, there is a flower market and a mass of independent shops, selling a brilliant selection of everything from jewellery, antiques and cupcakes, to furniture, vintage clothing, art and toys. You can expect honest, traditional service from the shopkeepers, and the cobbled streets and period shop fronts make for a charming backdrop.
Last year in December there was live music, mulled wine and mince pies on offer ... In my opinion it's the perfect way to warm up on a winter's evening, and avoid the high street Christmas crush!
Great area especially on a Thursday and Friday when they have a food market that attracts the local workers. Also has some great restaurants: Moro, Medcalf and The Ambassador.
Exmouth Market, just off Farringdon Road. 10 minutes' walk from Farringdon and Angel tube stations
Great specialist market, with fresh flowers and plants... it feels like a pop-up garden centre in the street. Check out the shops behind, a little oasis. Treacle makes the best cup cakes in the world - fact!
Old Street Tube and a 10 minute walk
Stay in this wonderful three-storey home of a Huguenot weaver in a quiet street between Brick Lane and Spitalfields market. Furnished in a comfortable, practical way the true character of the home is retained... wonkey staircase, oak panelling and solid ancient floors. The absence of a TV inspires sketches and great tips in best handwriting on the vellum pages of the green linen bound logbook. Learn about who lived there over the years and sit out under the raspberry pink camellia in the garden with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese from the nearby deli.
After a quiet night's rest in heavenly beds stroll through the Sunday market for a feast of food from stallholders across the world. Cross over to Spitalfields market for the up-and-coming designers or find a sweet vintage brooch or bag. Five minutes to the Caledonian flower market for an armful of fragrant blooms.
Brick Lane is great for a cheap curry... have a takeaway in the garden!
Come at Christmas and watch the neighbours peel back their shutters to outdo each other in Christmas decorations. Better than a hotel any day!
Princelet St Spitalfields
If you are around on Saturday mornings and want to explore some of London's finer markets, I can't recommend any more than Borough market.
Located just off London Bridge, you will find a busy hustle and bustle as tourists and locals alike taste and buy some of the freshest and most well-produced foods in the country. Key tip is to pop to Roast for brunch or a takeaway sandwich. The menu can change daily depending on the market freshness of the produce.
One of the most popular places in London for shopping and having fun with the whole family on a sunny weekend. Walk up and down Camden High Street and have a snack in the numerous pubs and cafes or take a canal boat trip.
Seriously the place to be in London for the youth today. This is no ordinary market selling rubbish from the back of someone's truck. These are seven highly unique and exclusive retail venues. Everything happens here and you can buy anything from the newest clothing straight from Paris to the oldest records, straight from someone's garage. You will find food from all around the world, with over three hundred stalls devoted to Chinese, Indian, Italian, Malasian, Mexican, American and many many more. You will also find the most interesting mix of people from all walks of life.
Camden Market is situated by Camden Lock. Easy to get to on the tube, get off at Camden Town and you will be in the middle of the market. You can also get there by bus. Best day to go is on a Sunday as this is when all of the markets are open.
Lovely street in Clerkenwell lined with independent shops and very good restaurants (Exmouth Market's the home of Moro, a restaurant that kick-started the regeneration of the street ten years ago).
When I strolled down recently there was a new outdoor food and craft market. I was very very pleased to see that Neals Yard Cheese had a stall as usually you have to trek to Covent Garden or Borough market for their cheeses. Was lovely to be able to buy some really good, and not ridiculously priced food but wihout the business of some of London's other markets. I think the market's only there on Friday and Saturday; a lovely way to while away a weekend afternoon, especially as there are lots of tasting opportunities and a really good mix of well-known companies and tiny cottage industries.
Off Rosebery Avenue near Farringdon Road.
Nearest Tube is Farringdon
website is www.exmouthmarket.co.uk
Whether you’re after wild boar sausages (with sauerkraut, tomatoes and onion to dollop into the bap), fishfinger sandwiches (slabs of prime, fresh cod in breadcrumbs) or soup of the day ('Help yourself to bread'), this cafe offers a simple but mouthwatering selection of fare bought fresh from Borough Market. The open frontage allows the diner to watch the market hustle and bustle, while the patio heaters inside keep the elements at bay. The cosy setting of mixed chairs, shared tables and a sideboard of jams, pickles and bread throws the customer into a farmhouse kitchen. And they sell bread.
Borough Market, 8 Stoney Street, SE1
It's in an old warehouse building just off Brick Lane (Hanbury street) running on Sunday mornings. It's far less crowded than the nearby Spitalfields Market which was cut in half by a redevelopment and is now too crowded with too many identikit stalls. It's got craft/jewellery, clothes and food stalls (excellent Ethopian food as well as all the usual suspects). Lots of beautiful stuff from new designers and a few quirky and fashionista clothes stalls. Good world music CD stall. And the Big Chill bar/historic Shoreditch is just round the corner.Get there around 11-12am and it's not crowded. Lock up bikes securely.....
Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street off Brick Lane.Nearest Station/Underground Liverpool Street
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