Borough Market—a veritable mecca of food and foodies, where you’ll find everything from black truffle oil to pheasants to top-grade English cheeses.
For 1,000 years, the market has been the center of London food trade, where merchants and farmers can freely ply their wares. Located near the London Bridge and South Bank, you can easily lose a few hours wandering and drooling over the finds at this top gourmet market.
As London’s biggest market, the crowds at the Borough Market can sometimes be overwhelming. Though open Wednesday to Sunday, it’s better to go during quieter hours, so the best times to visit the market is early on Saturdays, or weekdays afternoons.
With less people to walk against and squeeze between, you can take your time wandering around, perusing the items and chatting with the local vendors.
Part of the fun is wandering around, gawking at fresh and strange ingredients, and scouting out prices and quality, so take your time before buying!
There’s no better place to find that odd ingredient—sumac, wild mushrooms, bee pollen to name a few. Sample a few cubes from world-famous Neal’s Yard Dairy or the aged beef from Ginger Pig. Gorge your inner English with artisanal pastries, plum bread and pork pies.
Visit the Backhaus Bakery for the best handmade, German cakes, or the England Preserves cart where you’ll find quality jams and preserves. You’ll find fresh olive oil, paté and biscotti at Sicily in London.
Buy some delicious coffee from Monmouth stand, just inside the main gates. During colder weather, this is a heavenly experience, and gives you the perk you need to spend a few hours exploring.
The market is a fun place to sip on a latte and munch on sweet snacks, and people watch, of course!
After an hour or two perusing the market, grab a bite at one of the sit-down restaurants.
Tapas Brindisa offers some of the best selection of authentic Spanish small plates, or wash down wriggling oysters and fried prawns with champagne at the Wright Brothers.
If sitting down doesn’t sound appealing, you can grab a bite of authentic hot meat baguette at Hobbs Meat Roast, or a falafel wrap at the Middle Eastern stand.
For dessert, pick up a creme caramel pot at Real France!
Get a bottle to take home at Wine Wharf or Brewers Wharf, to the west of the market, or grab a fresh pint at the Royal Oak or Gladstone Arms, both excellent pubs that are walking distance from the market.
Bring your own shopping bag, made of cloth so it doesn’t rip to shreds form all the goodies you’ll be taking home. Watch that wallet, too—less for the pickpockets—and more for the temptation to buy nearly everything your eyes fall on.
My favorite thing to do is to buy a few picnic delights—lemonade, smoked salmon, cured olives, dried fruit, duck confit sandwich—and a handful of specialities and novelties I know I won’t find anywhere else.