Contributing Editor: Emma Walton
Borough Market is a unmissable attraction for food lovers visiting London. Currently celebrating 1,000 years in Southwark, just west of London Bridge, Borough Market housed everything from grains and spices coming in from merchant ships off of the Thames, to livestock herded from the nearby countryside as far back as the Roman era.
But Borough Market isn't just the oldest market in London, it's also the busiest. With the full market open just Wednesday through to Saturday it's no surprise that foodies across the capital flock to this mecca of food. Come Saturday, it can be pretty difficult to move with locals stopping by for a bite to eat at one of the takeaway stalls and top chefs buying fresh ingredients for that evening's service. With that in mind, the best time to visit is on a Wednesday or Thursday when you'll find the full market much easier to navigate.
If there is a particular food or drink you are looking for you're sure to find it here. Just last weekend I bought sumac, 3 types of beetroot, rhubarb, purple kale, heritage tomatoes, wild mushrooms, bee pollen, some of the stinkiest French cheese and a beautiful sourdough loaf. We also stopped off for a salad of sprouts and salsa on a flatbread.
But its not all fruit and veg. You'll also find more than one fishmonger and plenty more selling meat. Whilst there's a lot of English produce farmed just miles away, there is also an abundance of charcuterie from the continent. I'm fortunate enough to work in an office overlooking the market and we often stock up on meat, cheese and olives for meetings on Friday afternoons.
If it is a bite to eat you are looking for, the best restaurants are those based in or on the market. The takeaway stalls are also of an amazing quality. With popular restaurants, such as Brindisa (based in Brixton Village), setting up a takeaway stall at the west entrance of the market, you know you're in for a treat! Make sure you come hungry...
Once you've meandered around the market, first to try the free testers and scout out prices before a second time to make your purchases, you're likely to be thirsty. For those of you laden down with goods, a stop at Wine Wharf or Brewers Wharf to the west of the market is a must. But for the best pint head to Royal Oak or Gladstone Arms. If it's a pint with a view you're after The Anchor on the riverside is the pub for you.
With the top names in food and drink in one place, Borough Market isn't just the best known food market in London, it simply is the best.