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What does one do when they only have a short amount of time in London? One route is to see all the extremely expensive major sites only to break your bank in the first day. If you do that you will spend the rest of your time drowning yourself in a pint wondering if you still can afford the next stop on your trip. The one exception is the British Museum however, it’s free and awesome. So go to that one. This is a big city and there is a lot to do, so you want to get your worth out of your trip.
If you’re like us, you spend your 4 days in London eating and drinking your way through the city. You still end up broke but you’re much happier for your sore feet. Like I said, the major attractions are pricy (except the B.M.) so why waste your entire vacation on them? Ash and I see at least one major attraction every time we go to London and then we forget about the rest until next time. I understand for some families this is their one chance to see London in all its glory so they want to see as much as you can. I suggest seeing one or two sites, then drop them like a hot pocket and go visit three different amazing food markets in London. Eating and drinking, yes please! That’s my kind of holiday.
I’m not going to talk about pubs; I don’t even want to get into that discussion. Pubs are everywhere, just use common sense on where to drink. In my humble opinion, the cheaper the pint the better. I’d rather focus on the amazing and growing food scene of London. The food scene starts at the food markets that not only give you a chance to buy great ingredients but also to indulge in food stands and free samples. Let us get started on the three London markets you should not miss!
This might be the most well known food market in London, located in the northern part of Southwark. Out of the three markets that we are talking about today this one is the most famous one. I mean after being around for a 1000 years you tend to grow a name for yourself. You heard me right, according to the official web site the area has been enjoying markets in the area since the 11 century A.D.; that’s impressive in itself. Who needs to pay 22 pounds to see the Tower of London when you can go to these historic markets that are just as old? Being the most well known market you do have to deal with tourists but that is not such a bad thing when it comes to a great market. And don’t worry, locals of the area go here as well. This market is so large that it covers roughly three very large and solid blocks of land. I could not find the actual size but trust me there is plenty for you to do there. Oh and did I mention you don’t have to pay 22 pounds to get in?
As I approached the market I could feel the excitement swell in me. I fell in love with markets back in Morocco with all the smells and colors and the hustle and bustle of patrons and vendors. Walking through Borough’s food stalls I was overwhelmed with the colors, smells and noisy patrons pushing their way past. I wanted it all! My eyes could not stop moving as I tried to take everything in. My eyes pulled me towards the bright colors of the fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, my nose took me to the sizzling hot grills preparing food for the sea of people surrounding them. Then my internal instinct to me to the cheese where they were handing out free samples. What sense do I follow and trust? The best thing is not to be rash; breath and take your time strolling around the market and take it all in. Enjoy being a part of the crowd, take in the smells of cooking meat, fresh produce, and enjoy that fresh smell. Patience is key as you browses each and every stall. Take the free samples as you guide yourself through the stalls just enjoy the moment. Then on your second take start buying and eating like your life depends on it.
I suggest eating a scotch egg. It is a hard-boiled egg, covered in sausage meat, breaded and then deep fried. Talk about love at first bite (I know Cheesy). Speaking of cheese, spend your time in the cheese area of the market and take advantage of all the free samples and at the food stands you can find almost anything your heart desires. If you need something more substantial there are cafes, restaurants, and don’t forget about the bars surrounding the market. This place really has it all and you can spend a couple days eating and drinking your way through this market.
For more information check out website for operating hours and more. I did not go on Saturday but I was told it is the best day as thats when the market is in full swing 8am – 5pm.
During our stay in London we were staying in the neighborhood of Camden. Lucky for us the area also had a pretty fantastic market. The market itself is large and has a far more than just food. Anything from food, flowers, clothes and so much more. Ashley and I were only interested in one part of the market. Can anyone guess?
We were interested in the Camden Lock which is well known for some of the best street food from around the world in London. Man they were right! Talk about unbelievable section of food stands and stalls. When I say food from around the world I really mean it. They have Greek, Italian, Jamaican, Spanish, French, West African, Eastern European, Peruvian, Indian, plus much more! It was not lacking in great food. I again, was praying to have enough money and big enough stomach to be able to sample it all.
When Ash and I entered this section of the market we knew we found our new favorite place to go, too bad it was our last day in London. It was early in the morning so the vendors were slowly setting up and preparing for the lunch rush. We took our time walking by each stand: Paella, kebab, jerk chicken, fresh pizzas, crepes, fresh pastas, and other dishes that we were not sure what they were but hell they smelled great. All the ingredients were fresh and there was not a stand that I did not want to go to. After our first round trip around the food stalls we decided that we should grab blended iced coffees from the coffee stand and sit down and make a game plan. As we sat and drank our coffee the smells from the stands began to entice our hunger. The smells grew stronger and more people were starting to gather in the market. If you cook it they will come, and the locals did. After another walk through of the market I got the jerk chicken wrap that was fresh off a wood grill. The jerk chicken was wrapped up tightly in flat bread and covered with hot sauce; I was a happy man. Ashley had a chicken tikka masala roti wrap that was everything good about this world. I could have drank the juices and sauce that dripped off it straight. Then for dessert we bought a box of handmade brigadeiro, a typical sweet from Brazil. This stand had many different flavors but the traditional is chocolate. It is mostly made up of condensed milk, butter and sugar. I really should not have to say more. After all of that we had some samples and then with a thought to our bleeding bank account we held ourselves from eating more.
This might hands down been my favorite market simply because of the variety of food stands. Like I said they all looked great to me and if I had the time, the money and an endless pit for a stomach I would have eaten at every one. I mean there were a couple of Italian brothers making wood fired pizza made fresh right there. If you want to enjoy the lock you can visit Monday through Sunday 10:00Am – 6:00pm. Just know the mornings wont have as many stalls open. It is lunch time when things are in full swing. Why not just make it a day even though and never leave.
Our first two markets are fairly popular and not really a secrets anymore, which does not mean they are bad but they can be crowded with tourists. This next market is an area that not many tourist make it out to. I mean hell, London is huge and you don’t want to spend all day on the tube. The Brixton Market though is worth the ride out to the Lambeth. Now the neighborhood has a lot of Caribbean influence due to the high population of Caribbean immigrants. That just screams great food scene to me. Ill admit that we came later in the day so we missed most of the produce vendors and street food but we were not worried as there are a plenty of places to eat dinner in this market.
There is a wealth of international cuisine and again it all looked really good. The market was packed with locals with very few touristS. Ashley and I sat down at a place by the name of Champagne + Fromage. What a wonderful name for a place to eat. The sign does not lie either, it really is a place that serves sparkling and cheese. Okay they also serve charcuterie, cornichons, and great french bread. We sat down order a couple of glasses of champagne and then ate from a selection cheeses and charcuterie. Oh and don’t forget about the bread and Ashley’s favorite cornichons. The place was being operated by two French men who took this place very seriously and provided unbelievably quality products. The place only has a few seats so you might have to wait but it’s worth it. This was a perfect small meal for us and I could see myself frequenting this place a lot. Now if you need more food than this don’t worry there are plenty of more places.
Just walking around we saw Japanese, Caribbean, Indian, burgers, Mexican and an Italian place with a MASSIVE line. There were so many choices, I just wish we had time to eat at them all. Goal for next time we are in London!
I wish that we had got to this market earlier and next time I am going to come during the lunch time and see what it is like in full swing. The place is a really cool local market and our friend Ella who lives in London says she shops here often. Oh I should give a shout out to her because she did show us this market before she went home. Thanks Ella! For operating times and more info about the Brixton market you can check out their website here.
Well these are the three food markets I don’t think you should pass up while in London. Also know that both Brixton and Camden have live music at times. Make sure you check out their websites for more information. I think it’s worth the time and you get a happy stomach for your money. The food scene in London is huge and I am sure there are more areas around that we don’t know about. Next time I am back in London I think I will spend everyday exploring a new market and just enjoy food and pints of ale. Sounds like a better vacation than hopping from one tourist site to the next!
Thank you all for the read. If you enjoyed this article please like and share with your friends. We would love to hear what you think, I am by no means an expert of London so I would love to hear from you where we should go next. Thank you all for the support! Remember, go out, travel and change the world. Oh and eat and drink too.
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