A food lover’s haven, Borough Market London is a bustling hub that brings together over 100 vendors and showcases local and international cuisine. The oldest market in London, Borough dates back over 1,000 years!
What’s in this guide?
- Best things to do at Borough Market
- Borough Market history and facts
- Things to do near Borough Market
- Opening times
Getting to Borough Market
Located in Zone 1 right next to London Bridge, it couldn’t be easier to reach Borough Market.
If you’re near a Jubilee (grey) line tube station, take it to London Bridge station for easy access to the market. Or if you’re travelling from outside London, London Bridge train station is only 5 minutes away.
Alternatively, you can reach London’s Borough Market by bus. Plenty of bus stops surround the market, including Southwark Street, Borough High Street, London Bridge and London Bridge train station.
The best things to do at Borough Market
London’s Borough Market is split into three areas:
- Three Crown Square is home to the larger producers and vendors
- Green Market is where you can find smaller traders that tend to be more specialised
- Borough Market Kitchen is where you can find street food stalls, the perfect place to grab a quick lunch
When you’re at Borough Market, it’s a good idea to spend time in all three areas to make sure you’re making the most of your visit.
Quality food is at the heart of everything that Borough Market stands for, so make sure you browse and try out as many street food vendors as you can during your visit. Here are some of the key ones to look out for:
- Kappacasein – the ultimate toasty and cheesy potatoes. Using Raclette cheese made from round the corner in Bermondsey, this is as local as it gets
- Nana Fanny’s – for textbook deli food done right, you’ll need to visit Nana Fanny’s. Established in 1944, they really know what they’re doing, with their very own secret recipes. Their favourite dish is their mouthwatering beef bagels, complete with pickles and mustard
- Gourmet Goat – be blown away by superb Greek-Cypriot food at Gourmet Goat. The vendors pride themselves on bringing classic eastern Mediterranean dishes to the masses, using cuts of meat that are often forgotten about
You’ve tucked into some award-winning food, but what to wash it down with? Luckily, you can also find plenty to drink at Borough Market:
- Monmouth Coffee Company – one of the first specialist vendors to arrive at Borough Market, this spot has become renowned among coffee-loving Londoners. Stock up on whole or ground beans, or grab yourself a coffee at the café to sip on during your Borough Market visit
- East London Liquor Co – specialising in gin and vodka, East London Liquor Co only uses UK-grown wheat and focuses on familiar British flavours. What’s more, the spirits are made in Bow Wharf, the heart of London’s old distilling quarter
- Utobeer – if you have a passion for craft beer and are on the hunt for something different, Utobeer is the place for you. Here, you’ll find around 700 beers and ciders to choose from, focusing on small breweries
If you want to stock up on some fresh produce (maybe for a picnic in one of the royal parks?), you’re spoiled for choice. Top greengrocers at Borough Market include:
- Turnips – run by the Foster family, Turnips is an iconic stall at Borough Market. Get your hands on high-quality produce that’s locally sourced wherever possible
- Spice Mountain – find herbs and spices from across the world at Spice Mountain
- Bread Ahead – on Cathedral Street, this team of expert bakers produce superb croissants, bread and a host of other bakes. Make sure you grab a doughnut whilst you’re there!
- Neal’s Yard Dairy – one of the first vendors to set up shop in the warehouse spaces in the 90s, Neal’s Yard Dairy sources cheese from specialist UK producers, with many aged in their on-site maturing rooms
The Borough Market Store is also a must if you want a souvenir for your visit. Here you can find all the official merchandise, including a fantastic cookbook.
Borough Market events
Not just a place to grab some food, the iconic London market is often used as a venue for all kinds of events, from live cooking demonstrations to interviews. Make sure you check out the website to determine which Borough Market events will occur during your visit.
We’d also suggest a Borough Market food tour if you’re unsure of which stalls to tackle. This will give you a chance to taste the very best the market offers, whilst also learning about its history and its vendors.
Borough Market history and facts
With over 1,000 years of history, Borough Market has cemented itself in London’s list of must-see landmarks. Now run by a charitable trust that makes sure it benefits the community, the market today celebrates sustainable food production and social connection. But how did it come about in the first place?
Borough Market’s story starts with London Bridge. Centuries ago, the City of London and Southwark were two distinct areas, joined by that single bridge. The surrounding streets became trading hubs, setting Borough Market's backdrop.
Borough Market during medieval times
During medieval times, the markets at Borough constantly annoyed the authorities in the City of London. Citizens would make their way across the river to buy goods rather than stay in the city. The city banned its public from buying goods from the markets and banned traders from setting up on the bridge.
These restrictions stayed in place until 1550 when Edward VI sold Southwark to the City of London for just £1,000.
Towards the 16th and 17th centuries, the markets around Southwark became busier, so much so that London Bridge and other vital roads were often blocked. Authorities set a rule which made traders set up in a fixed sequence, no more than a yard from the street drainage. Fishmongers were closest to the bridge in this sequence, with bakers and poulterers at the other end.
Moving Borough Market
As London expanded and became more congested, bringing order to the market became more important. In 1754, a bill was passed to shut down traders to ensure a clear route from the South to North London.
Luckily, Southwark residents soon set up a petition to create a new market away from the high street. This was passed through parliament and allowed them to acquire a plot of land to set up a new space that would benefit the community. And this is where you can find Borough Market today.
The new Borough Market
Once it was settled in its new home, Borough Market continued to be a busy London spot selling all kinds of produce. That is until the 19th century, when the expansion of the railway system meant that the market became a hub of wholesale fruit and veg.
The market thrived as a fruit and veg hub until the 50s, when supermarkets started to gain popularity and threatened to jeopardise its future.
In the late 90s, a successful Food Lovers’ Fair and the growing trend towards understanding the source meant Borough Market could reinvent itself as a centre for quality. This secured its future as an integral part of the community and beyond.
Things to do near Borough Market
It’s not hard to think of what to do once you’re at Borough Market, as a cluster of London landmarks can be found in the area. So, we’d recommend dedicating an afternoon to this part of the capital.
Once you’ve finished sampling the delights of Borough Market, how about visiting Tower Bridge? Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the high-level walkways. Nearby is the Tower of London, where you can learn all about the famous prison. Or take a walk along Southbank, where you can enjoy the Thames’ views and visit Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern.
Landmarks aside, Borough Market also boasts all the amenities you could need on a day out in London.
The street food vendors offer some fantastic cuisine. Still, if you’re looking for a sit-down meal, Borough Market is surrounded by some great restaurants. Our top three choices are all only a few minutes' walk away.
El Pastor: How about trying some Mexican food in a Michelin-starred restaurant? El Pastor specialises in homemade, beautifully crafted tacos inspired by Mexico City. Enjoy the fantastic food in a friendly, lively restaurant.
Wright Brothers: For lovers of seafood, Wright Brothers is a must-visit. The restaurant prides itself on serving up fresh fish from Devon and Cornwall. Popular dishes include their fish pie, a pint of prawns and shellfish platters.
Padella: It may be walk-ins only and suffer from long queues, but winning the ‘Worth the Queue’ award proves Padella is well worth the wait. Here, you’ll find a small menu of freshly made, hand-crafted pasta, each just as delicious as the next.
If you’re looking for a sit-down and a tasty drink, Borough has plenty of quaint pubs and bars that make the perfect backdrop for your evening.
Bedales: Set in the heart of Borough Market, Bedales is a long-serving resident at the market. At this wine bar, enjoy a seasonal menu that’s constantly evolving, bringing you the very best labels. They have a shop too, so you can bring home your favourite tipples.
Boot & Flogger: A 5-minute walk from the market, Boot & Flogger is like a time capsule. Decorated with wood panelling and antique furniture, you feel like you’re going back in time at this traditional English pub.
The George Inn: Dating back to 1676, The George Inn was a pub of choice of Charles Dickens. It may not attract icons today, but this quaint pub is still a great place to enjoy a crisp pint at the end of the day.
Open seven days a week; Borough Market hours vary depending on the day you’re visiting. Monday to Friday, you can browse the market from 10:00 to 17:00, and on Saturdays, their opening times extend between 08:00 and 17:00. On Sundays, it’s 10:00 to 15:00, but this still gives you plenty of time to browse the stalls.
When’s best to visit Borough Market?
If you want to fully immerse yourself in Borough Market and roam between stalls freely, we’d say avoid peak times. As weekends and lunchtimes tend to bring the biggest crowds, we’d suggest visiting in the mornings or holding out until after 16:00.
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