Top Five Markets in London for Foodies and Explorers
Ciani Rey Walker
Arts & Culture
Food & Wine
London is one of my favorite cities in the world because it’s this melting pot of architecture, food, art, people. You can walk from a beautiful glass building on one street to a preserved church ruin on the next, hearing at least 5 different languages along the way. There are so many sides to London, and the best way to experience them is through its markets. The markets of London are a wonderful mix of off-the-beaten path and iconic London. They’re for foodies, collectors, people watchers - there’s a market for every type of traveler. Let’s have a look, shall we?
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Located just off the Thames River in Southwark, Borough Market is a prime example of touristy meets local. You may have seen it on Bridget Jones’ Diary, 101 Dalmatians, or Season 4 of You, to name a very few. This market is centered around food and features a variety of fresh produce, spices, oils, as well as stalls with deliciously fresh food.
Tip: Head over for breakfast before the crowds settle in for a peaceful stroll around the market.
Maria’s Market - The most amazing British breakfast sandwiches.
La Tua - Best handmade pasta.
The Colombian Coffee Company - Best hot chocolate I’ve ever had, think Mexican hot chocolate but less sugar/richer chocolate.
The Turkish Deli: for those who always wanted to understand what lured Edmund into the dark side in The Chronicles of Narnia.
Located right on Camden Lock (you can actually get there via boat), Camden Market steps away from the “posh” part of London and sets a more eclectic scene- think Amy Winehouse. This market is unassumingly large as it’s compartmentalized into food stalls, which is mostly where you’ve seen photos of Camden Market, and the rest is retail stalls that sell a super wide variety of things from souvenirs to vintage clothing. To give you an idea, I bought a really unique pair of pants from an African shop, some of the best smelling soap, and a pocket watch to live out my Peaky Blinder dreams. There’s a lot more retail than food so I’d say eat first so you have fuel to explore.
Tip: Do this and walk along the canal (or take a boat ride) to Regent's Park.
Portobello Road Market has street food and vendors in the iconic neighborhood of Notting Hill. This market lines Portobello Road’s shops so you’re free to wander easily from street vendor to brick and mortar shop. This market isn’t super central in terms of location, but it’s still worth a visit if Notting Hill is on the itinerary- and yes, The Travel Bookshop from the Julia Roberts movie, Notting Hill, is still there! Tip: Pair this market with exploring Kensington/Chelsea for a very posh day
Favorite Stalls & Shops
The Travel Bookshop - Walk Julia Roberts’ footsteps from Notting Hill.
German Bratwurst Truck - It doesn’t actually have a name but you’ll know it when you see it and won’t be able to stop talking about it.
One of a Kind - Super unique vintage clothing.
Spitalfields Market is right near Shoreditch. It has the most modern feel with a combination of booths, stalls, and brick & mortar shops/restaurants both local and chain (they have a great All-Saints) - it even has an outdoor seating area with a screen to watch sporting events in the summer. It's really nice for those who want to explore a market but also have the option to do a full sit down restaurant and enjoy well known shops. It’s one of the smaller ones so you’ll be able to fit other things into your day, and one of my personal favorites because it’s so green - they’ve got plants all over and a few flower shops as well. It’s also covered so you can enjoy rain or shine!
Tip: Pair this market with exploring Shoreditch for a taste test of East London.
Favorite Stalls & Shops
Fudge Stand - Can’t go wrong here if you love fudge.
Clothing stand with the funky pattern shirts - It doesn’t have a name but I got a really fun shirt with flamingos on it that has lasted over six years.
Greenwich! This is my honorable mention because it is not in the City of London, you have to take the DLR, but it is such a gem- if you have time to be outside of London for a half day I highly recommend Greenwich Market. It has everything we’ve talked about and more, including small art galleries, furniture/antique shops, bars, restaurants - this one is especially great if you’re looking to bring things back for friends/family that are a bit more special than keychains and mugs. It has some of the best food I've had in (or near) London- there are food tours for this place!
Coopie-coco - Chocolate lovers look no further. This place sells homemade chocolate truffles as well as other Jamaican sweets and will make your mouth water.
Flavored Coffee - I’m allergic to coffee but I brought some back for all my coffee drinking friends and they loved it- plus it smells so good I almost kept a bag for aromatherapy. Irish Whiskey is a favorite!
Steak & Chips - Fish and chips is all the rage, but hear me out, this steak & chips stand is soo good.
Bonbon Cafe - I have one word for this place: chutneys.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Bijoy Shah’s guide, To-do & To-eat: A Lively London Respite.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to London.