There’s a fascinating story behind Borough Market of London – arguably Britain’s most famous food market. Back in 900AD when London Bridge was constructed, London was a small walled city on the North of the river Thames. Southwark was a southern neighbour and the home to hawkers, craftsmen and criminals. In fact, for many years a felon committing a crime in London could flee to Southwark where the bailiffs weren’t allowed to touch them! Years moved on and the vital artery of London bridge encouraged traders – including butchers whose live produce would often cause havoc when they escaped. The market’s popularity and location changed and nearly ended in the 1970s when New Covent Garden Market was constructed. But in the 1990s the revival of artisan foods and the endorsement of almost every British chef, secured the market its position as a genuine institution.
There’s no need to get up early to visit this food market! Head over for a coffee and stay for some amazing street food. Pick up artisan foods to enjoy at home and choose some thoughtful gifts for family and friends.
Borough Market, Southwark, London, England
Food and drink
Visit 7 days a week
Mon-Fri 10am - 5pm
Saturdays 8am - 5pm Sundays 10am - 3pm
Coffee and Sweet Treats
There are so many vendors to choose from offering pastries, brioche, coffee, mulled drinks or homemade fudge. Try The Colombian Coffee Company for a deliciously smooth coffee while supporting a worthwhile Social Enterprise. Choose the Castillo variety which is sweet and delicate, and grab a bag to take home. They will even grind the coffee to perfectly suit your at home coffee maker.
Fruit and Vegetables
You don’t need to be a vegetarian to LOVE the fruit and veg stands at Borough Market. Full of fresh, weird and wonderful varieties – it’s a great place to pluck up the courage to buy something and then figure out what to do with it when you get home. I bought some pretty and striped baby aubergines which I can’t wait to try in a Thai Curry.
Taste the globe
If travel isn’t on the agenda for a while, Borough Market provides the perfect opportunity to eat around the globe instead. Taste Croatia Deli offers unique cheeses, jams, oils and vinegar that celebrate Croatian gastronomy. You could try their amazing pumpkin seed oil. It completely changes up a tomato and finely sliced onion salad with its rich green colour and unbelievably nutty flavour. Travel on to Russia and the Baltic at the Karaway Bakery. Their Lithuanian rye bread is super soft for a rye-style bread with a hint of caraway. Layer up slices with soft cheese, salad leaves, smoked salmon and dill making a quick and nutritious lunch.
Herbs and Spices
If you haven’t got room for fresh produce, or you need something that will last – try Spice Mountain. Who knew that the world offers so many varieties of peppercorns? There are herbs and spices to enhance every dish, from tagines and curries to mulled drinks and chai latte ingredients. Unique spice containers, pestle and mortars and dainty spice spoons are all on offer too. Spice Mountain is a go to stall for exciting foodie-lover gifts to treat your loved ones.
Under the sea
The meat counters at Borough Market of London look amazing, however, for me, it’s the fish stalls that steal the show. You are likely to find seafood varieties usually only tasted on holiday and certainly not available in the supermarket. Tucked around the corner from the vendors, you’ll come across seafood paella and mussels being cooked up so you can try the fish even if you don’t want to take it home on the train!
Gardening and Greenery
Not everything is edible at Borough Market. The Gated Garden brightens Three Crown Square with a colourful array of flowers, plants and garden ornaments. Pick up tulips to take home or a pretty jug or bowl for use in arrangments at home.
It’s impossible not to feel hungry wandering around Borough Market. As lunchtime approaches the hustle heightens as locals pop out of their offices to stop in for lunch. There are street food vendors with a huge variety to choose from – Mexican to Apple Crumble! For me, there is nothing like watching something being made in front of you – and even better when a taster is offered. The fresh mushroom risotto is a super popular choice – amazing to watch and delicious for lunch.
Beyond Borough Market of London
When you’ve shopped the market and eaten until full, the area of Southwark has plenty more to offer. The Shard is just down the street and offers a viewing gallery with 360-degree views for up to 40 miles. Book tickets ahead of time to save disappointment. Nearly sunset? Head up to one of the Shard’s restaurants for a sundowner with a great view. Down by the river you’ll find a lovingly reconstructed replica of Sir Francis Drake’s 17th-century Golden Hinde ship. From a very different era, you could also explore the HMS Belfast Warship. If fashion is more your thing – delve into contemporary fashion at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum.
Looking for something quirky? How about this..
The Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garret
It’s housed in the attic of the early eighteenth-century church of the old St Thomas’ Hospital and is only accessible via a spiral staircase. This atmospheric museum offers a unique insight into the history of medicine and surgery. The original timber-framed Herb Garret was once used to dry and store herbs for patients’ medicines and in 1822 an operating theatre was included. Predating anaesthetics and antiseptics, it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe. Here’s a link to their website – The Old Operating Theatre
And finally, if you are heading home via Waterloo Station, then take a short detour to The Cut. You can enjoy a delicious and authentic Italian meal at Olivelli’s. No frills, friendly service and wonderful food.