How to visit Borough Market.

Borough Market is one of the oldest markets in London. It’s an absolute must do when in London and is our most popular food tour. Here we give tips on how to visit Borough market, including what to eat and when to go.

So how do you visit Borough market?

Well the obvious answer is to join one of our food tours of course. We run smaller group tours (no more than 10 people) so you can get closer to the action and experience the market like a local. If you don;t have the time to join our tours here’s some tips to get the most out of your visit to the market.

How to get to Borough market.

The market is right at the south end of London Bridge. London Bridge station is right next to the market itself and provides fantastic transport links to the rest of London. If the weather allows a really cool way to arrive at the market is to walk over London Bridge. The reason that Borough market is where it is is due to this bridge. The first to cross the river Thames and as a result the location of all the trade and activity back in London’s early days.

When to visit Borough market.

The market is open Tueaday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. We highly recommend getting there at opening times as the place does get crowded. Like many inner city markets it’s a labrynth of alleyways and passages. It’s really easy to get lost and not actually see a lot of the market. If you arrive early then you can at least beat some of these crowds.

What to eat.

We could talk for days about the amazing food on offer at the market. One must try would be the sausage rolls at Ginger Pig butcher. These guys were one of the first vendors to open up here in Borough and they pride themselves on farm to table produce. Another place we love is Juma kitchen which is a really cool Iraqi cuisine hut. They have won numerous awards including being finalists in the BBC’s food and farming awards.

What to buy.

The market itself has a small souvenir shop which a lot of our guests enjoy popping into. On the outskirts of the market are smaller, local vendors selling produce that you can take away. Don’t miss Pate moi who have a delicious mushroom pate which they claim is the wolrd’s most addictive. Also Bath soft cheeses sell amazing cheese that you can take home and enjoy with a nice glass of wine after your day of exploring.

Of course we’d love to host you on our Borough market food tours. We keep the groups small so that there’s less stress and everyone can feel involved. We also visit a few places not mentioned here and not that well known. You can book by clicking here.

Guests on our Borough market food tour

The best markets in London

Some of the best markets in the country can be found in London. We are really lucky to be able to enjoy amazing art, antiques, fashions and no forgetting food right on our doorstep. Many guests who come on our food tours ask us what are our favourite markets in the capital so here’s a list of our top 5.

Borough Market

Known as one of the best street food markets in the UK a visit to Borough is a must for every food lover visiting London. Situated at the south end of London bridge the market is also one of the oldest in London dating back over 1,000 years. We host food tours on market days (Wednesday to Sunday) where we explore the market as well as the fascinating surrounding areas. Highlights of our tastings include freshly baked empanadas, traditional fish and chips and some of the best cheese in the country. Don’t miss it, book your spot here.

Alfie’s Antique Market

This is a really unique experience. Alfies is located in Marylebone and is open Tuesday to Saturday. If you are an antiques lover you’re in the right place. Spread over 4 floors there are over 100 dealers selling everything from old electronics to period furniture. It’s a great place to stroll around even if you aren’t buying anything.

Broadway Market

Hosted on Saturdays this Hackney market is for the hip and trendy. A traditional fruit and veg market has been here since the late 19th century but now it is the home of organic food, vintage clothing and books and gifts to tempt you in parting with your cash. It’s a great spot for food as well with some really good stalls but also some great restaurants in the local area.

Columbia road Flower Market

Get the instagram ready for your photos. Columbia market is hosted every Sinday just off the main drag of Shoreditch. The street is transformed with the coloruful plants, bulbs, flowers and trees on sale. It gets really busy so give yourself plenty of time to wnader the street and it’s surrounding area. There’s some great little coffee shops along the road as well so even if you go on a non market day, you’ll find something good there.

Greenwich Market

This indoor market dates back to the 18th century. There’s a great selection of gift stalls, including lewellery and other nic nacs. Theres even some popular furniture sellers based here. You are very close to the river so during the summer it’s a good market to visit with the breeze. There’s also some good street food to sample while you’re there.

Are you planning on coming to London in 2023? If so we’d love to show you around on one of our food tours. Explore London’s east end or Borough market with us.

People enjoying lunch at Borough market

Spitalfields Market

One of our favourite places to take guests on our Eat the East End food tour is Spitalfields market. Here we talk about the history of the market and what you can expect to see when you visit today.

The Beginning of Spitalfields Market

After the great fire of London in 1666, the areas to the east of the city became hubs for markets and trade. 

In 1682 King Charles II granted a royal charter that allowed a market to take place every Thursday and Saturday in Spital Square. The market quickly established itself as one of the city’s most popular fruit and vegetable markets.  

Business throughout the 18th century flourished. For this reason, the area attracted French Huguenot immigrants weavers. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 meant French Protestants were forced to flee France.

Those who arrived in the East End of London brought their silk weaving businesses with them. Some of the weavers’ homes can still be found today on Fournier Street. 

The French weavers were later followed by Irish weavers who had to emigrate from Ireland due to a decline in the linen trade. This influx of people led to the building of a church in the Spitalfields area – Hawksmoor’s magnificent Christ Church, a site we recommend you visit.

Spitalfields’ Decline

During the 19th century the market declined and it became known for cheaper, less desirable goods. 

The low costs made it an attractive area for new immigrants to settle. It was at this time that many Jews from across Europe settled here, many fleeing anti-semitic attacks in the Russian Empire. The area became one of the largest Jewish districts in probably all of Europe, home to a staggering forty synagogues. 

But the Jewish community would also gradually move out as other areas of the city came into their own, enjoying their own boom periods. By the mid-20th century, the area was a shadow of its former self. 

Towards the end of the 20th century, the market itself was closed down and moved to the outskirts of London.

Spitalfields Market Today

Spitalfields Market Today

The area began to go through a period of cultural renewal in the 1970s as large numbers of Bangladeshis arrived, bringing with them their vibrant culture and amazing cuisine. Conditions, though, were still far from ideal. 

In the early 2000s, a process of redevelopment was begun and today Spitalfields Market is a must-visit for food lovers in London. 

Open every day, the market is full of some of London’s most well-loved food stalls. You can find anything here, from artisan pizza vans to Sri Lankan curry stalls. The market’s historic roof has been kept which gives a really cool atmosphere.

There’s also a really good section for local artists and fashion designers. It’s the perfect place to find that unique gift to take home!

Next door, there is also the Old Spitalfields Market, another space offering unique gifts, vintage items, and unmissable food and drink. 

Though often thought of as one market, Spitalfields Market and Old Spitalfields Market are two separate entities. However, they’re right next door to each other and both offer a dizzying amount of choices! 

What to Eat in Spitalfields Market?

On our London food tours, we like to come to Spitalfields and try some amazing dishes. A great place to visit is the Dumpling Shack. These guys make amazing Shanghai dumplings. There might be a queue but it moves pretty quickly and is well worth joining. 

We also love the Chai Guys who have a small stall knocking out some amazing Chai. Perfect for a cold London morning.

There are always some new stalls popping up so it’s worth a walk around before you choose what to eat.

To find out more about Spitalfields market and all of the delicious food offerings there, consider joining us on our London East End Food Tour – a great way to discover London and some of its hidden food gems!

If you have any questions regarding this blog or our tours, please get in touch

A bowl of Dumpling shacks famous dumplings.