London is home to sensational cuisine from all corners of the globe. Some of the most successful restaurateurs started from a humble food truck. Dining in the metropolis doesn’t have to burn a hole in your back pocket. Save the Michelin star restaurant for next time and support local and regional traders who put their heart and soul into their market stall. Tickle your tastebuds and take a rollercoaster ride stopping off for sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. To see what’s in your area on your visit to London, check out this handy guide. We’ve also compiled some of our favourite London markets in this comprehensive guide and the best thing is that they are all FREE. Cue stretchy pants.
11 LONDON MARKETS YOU SHOULD VISIT
Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm, Friday – 10am – 6pm, Saturday – 8am – 5pm
London’s oldest market has gained a reputation for showcasing and selling exceptional produce. With a history spanning over 1,000 years in Southwark, Borough Market is a bustling hive where you’ll find small-scale artisan producers alongside stallholders who are producers themselves. Locals swing by on their weekly shopping round. Chefs and food writers host cooking demonstrations. Londoners and visitors arrive in hordes to sample traditional British produce and regional specialties from around the world. Most of the market is undercover but if the sun decides to shine, we recommend taking your lunch or snacks to find a spot by the River Thames.
Closest stations: London Bridge (Underground: Jubilee and Northern lines) (Trains: Southern, Thameslink, southeastern)
Quick trip to London? – If you’re visiting the English capital for a short time, this 4 day suggested itinerary will help you make the most of your visit, including a trip to Borough Market.
Saturday from around 8.30am
The success of Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in the movie Notting Hill isn’t the only reason that tourists flock to Portobello Road. This renowned market is truly an Aladdin’s cave. Visitors come to the famous London landmark to see its extensive selection of antiques. Find open-air market stalls flouncing antiques, silverware, vintage cameras and books. Enter the colourful shopfronts and browse through vintage furs, furniture and London street photography prints. Munch on a Portobello crepe as a pit-stop snack. Watch the locals pick up their fresh fruit and vegetables from the grocers outside Electric Cinema. When your tummy starts grumbling, head up towards the Ladbroke Grove end, pass under the A40 and you’ll find a mix of food stalls selling bakery treats and hot regional specialties. The bold rainbow bay windows are on Lancaster Road and just around the corner, you can take a peek at St Luke’s Mews.
TIP: Google Maps shows Portobello Road Market and Portobello Market. There is no distinctive difference but two different websites show different opening times. The official website is this one.
Closest stations: Notting Hill Gate (Underground: Central, Circle and District lines), Ladbroke Grove (Underground: Circle and Hammersmith & City lines), Westbourne Park (Underground: Circle and Hammersmith & City lines)
Every day 10am – 8pm
Located in the heart of London’s East End, Spitalfields Market brings art and crafts, fashion and food under a resplendent glass canopy. Independent artisans sell authentic handmade jewellery, artwork and accessories next to food trucks dishing up delicious street food. The market is surrounded by boutique shops, trendy bars, food trucks and award-winning restaurants. Spitalfields regularly hosts free events including film screenings, lunchtime concerts and cultural festivals. Head to E1 on Saturdays to browse through the Saturday Style Market from up-and-coming designers. For art fans, one weekend each month is dedicated to the Arts Market, featuring works from amateur and established artists.
Closest Stations: Liverpool Street (Underground: Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines) (Trains: London Overground, TfL Rail, greateranglia), Shoreditch High Street (Trains: London Overground)
Sunday 10am – 5pm
The gentrification of East London included the area around Brick Lane which now buzzes with London’s edgy and artistic crowd. The poor slums have been replaced by art galleries, food markets, vintage stores and trendy bars and clubs. Close to Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane is one of the best spots to sample authentic Jewish bagels, a must try is the hot salt beef bagel and a Bangladeshi curry. Don’t be surprised if you hear the beats from street performers or you’re waved down by some friendly activists asking you to sign the latest petition. Brick Lane attracts plenty of young Londoners on the hunt for unusual clothes, vintage leather and bric-a-brac. If you’re interested in street-art, you’re also in the right place. Join a guided walking tour or wander to discover the ever-evolving facades.
Closest stations: Shoreditch High Street (Trains: London Overground), Aldgate East (Underground: District line) and Liverpool Street (Underground: Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines)
Saturday 9am – 4pm & Sunday 11am – 4pm
Every weekend, LASSCO Ropewalk shepherds hungry visitors through Maltby Street Market. Offering an array of delicious street food and glorious desserts, it’s a less-crowded alternative (but by no means lower-quality) to nearby Borough Market. Permanent establishments such as St. John Maltby, Bar Tozino and Comptoir Gourmand sit under the brick railway arches and regular traders pitch their tents in the tight corridor. Crack into an egg-shaped Taiwanese snack from Dhan Waffle, get cheesy with the Raclette Brothers and have a zesty tipple with the guys at Little Bird Gin. Then, top it off with a decadent chocolate dessert from Bad Brownie or a salted caramel hot chocolate with burnt marshmallow from Fatties.
TIP: Fancy kicking on? Head on over to the Bermondsey beer mile for a pint or two.
Closest stations: Bermondsey (Underground: Jubilee line)
Sunday 8am – 3pm
On Sundays, Columbia Road is overtaken by an oasis of foliage and flowers. It’s worth the trip to East London to grab a bargain from one of the flower stalls which stock everything from tiny succulents to towering potted palms. Many flowers are grown locally while other bulbs are sourced from quality nurseries overseas. Pick up a bouquet or a small pot to liven up your Airbnb living room or kitchen table. In moving with the times, many of the vendors now have card machine facilities so that you’re not fumbling for pounds. Once you’re cradling your stems, don’t forget to take a stroll among the Victorian-style buildings. Peek in one of the small art galleries, tinker around in an antique shop or get cosy in a nearby café or pub. Buskers serenade you at each end of the lane so don’t forget to support these fellows too.
Closest stations: Shoreditch High Street & Hoxton (Trains: London Overground)
Every day 10am – Late
Welcoming approximately 28 million visitors a year, Camden Market is a balanced curation of local businesses, regular stalls and various pop-ups. Camden’s alternative musical roots are evident with markets vendors commonly seen wearing a punk rock t-shirt or sporting a sleeve tattoo rather than a clean-cut look straight from a barber shop. Bursting with community spirit, the market happily supports and accommodates entrepreneurs, start-ups and creatives in the historic area. From 16 stalls in 1974 it has grown to over 1,000 stalls today, the area around Regent’s canal and Camden Lock continues to showcase an eclectic mix of vintage clothing and hand-crafted accessories, mouth-watering street food and freshly baked sweets. When night falls, the live music venues come to life so you can always swing by after work or make it a weekend destination.
Closest stations: Camden Town and Chalk Farm (Underground: Northern Line), Camden Road (Trains: London Overground)
Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm
In the middle of bustling Soho, one of the oldest markets in London is home to stalls selling a hybrid of fruit and vegetables, flowers, street food and household necessities. Stretching from Walker’s Court to the corner of the elegant Yauatcha restaurant, this pedestrianised outdoor market prevails after almost 250 years. A good range of shops compliment the street stalls including Flat White coffee house, fabric store Cloth Shop and vintage boutique Reign. A popular haunt for office workers in the area, visitors would be remiss to bypass lunch at Berwick Street for another Pret sandwich. Our recommendations: Savage Salad with chicken and halloumi and a large falafel wrap from Jerusalem Falafel.
Closest stations: Oxford Circus (Underground: Victoria, Central and Bakerloo lines), Tottenham Court Road (Underground: Central and Northern lines), Piccadilly Circus (Underground: Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines)
Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 3pm
Jerk chicken nuggets, Yorkshire pudding burritos, shredded duck confit with pickled red slaw and honey mustard salt beef short rib. Are you salivating yet? Yeah, so are we. Supporting independent traders as well as up and coming street food talent, Street Food Union will pitch their tents come rain or shine. Ravenous customers arrive in droves from around London’s theatre district for delicious cheap eats. Be aware that there is limited bench seating in the narrow cobblestone street.
Closest stations: Piccadilly Circus (Underground: Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines), Leicester Square (Underground: Northern and Piccadilly lines)
Saturday 10am – 3pm.
A member of City & Country Farmers’ Markets association, we discovered this small community farmers’ market when we lived just around the block. Directly opposite Oval Underground station, we always loved watching locals buying organic fruit and vegetables, families buying loaves of bread and couples sampling olives or gluten-free desserts. Hot food options including pies, sausages, dumplings and Vietnamese pho are perfect for when the days are grey and drizzly. But when the sun shines, the church’s courtyard is perfect to soak up the sunshine. More local artisans are also selling their arts and crafts wares here.
Closest stations: Oval (Underground: Northern line)
Saturday 10am – 2pm
A commute down to Brockley Market in South East London needs to be timed well for die-hard foodies. The Underground doesn’t stretch to this part of the world and this award-winning market is only open on Saturdays for four hours. The local community spirit is strong in this small Lewisham parking lot. Produce from organic grocers, cheesemongers, fishmongers and butchers is locally and seasonally sourced. Traders also offer organic bread and cheeses, biscuits and cakes, natural wines and craft beer. The street food trucks compete for custom with greasy burgers at Mother Flipper, sub sandwiches at Sub Cult or margherita pizza at Van Dough. Bench seating is available to enjoy your food spoils. Brockley Market is located a fair distance from the high street and an ATM so ensure you bring cash when you visit, although most vendors take card as well.
Closest stations: St Johns (Trains: southeastern)
Have you visited these markets in London? Make sure to share your stories with us below!