One of the most unfair myths about London concerns the food. Boring, bland, and unnecessarily expensive. However, in reality, you can get a top-quality meal for a fiver from any corner of the world without leaving central London.
So here's a selection of some of the capital’s tastiest street food markets that are just around the corner from some of the main attractions so you never have to settle for a dull meal ever again while you’re working your way through your London bucket list!
Borough Market is one of the biggest and most popular markets in the capital and has become a landmark in itself. So unsurprisingly, it can get immensely crowded, loud, you might get pushed around and spend quite some time in a queue.
But, I honestly can’t go over a month without paying it a visit, cruising through the numerous stalls, picking up some generous samples and feasting on a cheese toastie, falafel or coconut pancakes. Apart from a quick tasty lunch, it’s also a perfect place to get edible souvenirs and gifts like top quality tea, artisan toffee, sauces, spreads and tons of other products from around the world.
The vibrant atmosphere is guaranteed not only thanks to a diverse mix of cuisine but also a mix of visitors - this food market is definitely not only a domain of trendy hipsters. But if you would rather avoid the joyful, hungry crowds, visit on weekdays rather than weekends and you can explore it in peace.
For a much smaller and more charming market, head to Greenwich Market which combines crafts, art, design, antiques, and meals from around the world.
Under one roof, you can buy second-hand books, hand made jewelry, Ethiopian vegetarian food, stuffed fried pizza dough, a specialty called Panzerotto, or a healthy home made hazelnut spread.
Even though there are benches and tables available for visitors, on a sunny day, walk to the lovely Greenwich Park and eat al fresco instead. Market treats taste even tastier with a view of the London skyline!
Southbank Centre Food Market
Apart from its delicious and diverse food, one of the best features of the SCFood Market outside the Royal Festival Hall is its proximity to the House of Parliament and the London Eye.
Meaning you can stop for a quick lunch of freshly steamed dim sum, a plate of Greek mezze, or an artisanal cheese board while ticking some attractions off your London bucket list, all without compromising the quality or price of your meal!
The market is worth a visit even if you’re not feeling hungry simply for its buzzing cheerful atmosphere, as where there is good food, there are happy people!
Camden Market, selling everything from noodles and churros to rock and punk vinyl records, independent art to peculiar fashion is a living organism all of its own.
Market's West Yard went through a big street food makeover last year and now runs over 34 food stalls with top quality street food stalls serving up delicacies seven days a week.
So before you hit the streets of Camden to listen to some live music and throw yourself into its unpredictable nightlife, rest by the Regent's canal and line your stomach with some local favorites like fried chicken or incredibly popular halloumi fries.
Delicious and responsible! Or head here on a Sunday (if you can put up with the crowds) and spend the day eating your way around the globe without ever leaving north London.
Maltby Street Market
Weekends spent on Maltby Street is a real local secret - the market here is smaller and lesser known than nearby Borough, and so tends to be a locals-only affair.
It’s well worth the visit as it offers top quality street food and specialties such as Dhan waffle, a Taiwanese waffle and doughnut combination as well as many other gourmet delicacies.
It provides an opportunity to taste some of London’s old-school classics too, as the market offers delights such as scotch eggs, oysters and gin drinks straight from the distillery that’s tucked away under the railway arches.
And in the case of unpleasant weather, shelter can be found in the several pubs, bars and restaurants which are also beneath the arches.
Heading to East London to discover the cool and hipster side of London? Don’t miss out on Broadway Market in Hackney, a Saturday meeting point for trendy young foodies. In addition to over 80 stalls of incredible food, the market benefits from its truly lovely location.
It runs from Regents Canal all the way to London Fields, one of the city's most popular picnic spots. It’s no surprise this is one of London’s best-loved weekend hangouts, but happily for the locals remains far enough away from the main tourist hotspots that they can keep their Saturday ritual all to themselves!
A wonderful and dizzying concoction of international street food stalls housed in old shipping containers, a community garden, a yoga studio, a live music venue, and Brixton’s hottest spot to stop by on Friday and Saturday nights, Pop Brixton is not to be missed. If it all sounds a bit much to be under one roof, fear not as there is no roof - in summer at least.
Spend balmy summer evenings here sipping locally brewed ales or delicate gins accompanied by plates of gyoza, Jamaican jerk chicken, and Ghanian curries, or in winter take cover (there is a roof in the colder months) as you stay warm with a glass of wine or get moving on the dance floor. Pop is as much a part of Brixton’s soul as it is a community landmark, so come and see for yourself why the locals love it so much.
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