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A London rite of passage and a mecca for the culinary curious, Borough Market in London is one of our foodie favourites in the entire capital. Loved by locals and tourists alike – it is one of the best free things to do in London.
With something to suit everyone’s budget (and tastes!), there is no better way to spend a few hours exploring all the food stalls, trying some samples and generally indulging in dishes from all over the world. From oysters oozing with tabasco to the perfect paella, we guarantee you won’t go hungry (best to go with a full wallet and empty belly, definitely not the other way around!)
This is one of the oldest (and most cherished) food markets in London, with the original market here dating back to at least the 12th century (some of the fromageries here smell like they still have cheese on sale from way back then)!
Here is our guide to getting the best out of Borough Market:
The one downside to Borough Market being so good is that it gets loads of visitors (mainly tourists and day trippers) so it can get very busy, especially around lunchtime. Queues can be quite long so if you want to explore unencumbered, visit early – especially on a Saturday.
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The best things in life are free
Not sure what to eat? Then no problems as lots of the stalls offer samples for you to ‘try’ before you buy. On our last visit, we tried everything from mushroom pate to paella, goat’s cheese to gouda. Obviously don’t take the p*ss and keep going back for more, but this is a great way to have a taster before you commit.
Cheesy does it
The famous Neal’s Yard Dairy has an outpost here, and there are many fromageries and cheese stalls in the main Borough Market Hall. Borough Cheese Company also has some standout lines including Comté and Sparkenhoe Blue. Just make sure your hotel or hostel room has a fridge before you buy a whole wheel of cheese – otherwise you’ll be gobbling gouda all night.
The best coffee in London?
Well, based on the snaking queue that goes round the block, the Monmouth Coffee Shop here has to be one of the most popular in London. Famous for their beans and roasting heritage, they offer one of the most awesome Americanos in the capital.
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Pints of the good stuff
It is never too early to have a pint in Borough Market, as many of the local bars and pubs are open all day and night, to provide tipples to the market-traders. One of our favourites is The Market Porter, a glorious Victorian boozer that feels like you are stepping back in time as you enter.
Often bedecked with flowers outside during the summer months (as well as drinkers), film fans will also be pleased to hear the Market Porter featured in a Harry Potter movie (The Prisoner of Azkaban), as the Third Hand Book Emporium.
Beer not your thing? If not, then The Cider House rules here. This stall sells various ciders (dry, medium and sweet) by the glass plus offers hot mulled cider in the winter months.
Also next door to Borough Market is the historic courtyard pub, The George, the country’s only pub managed by the National Trust. Read more about it here.
YOU MIGHT LIKE: UK Brewery Tours run a guided craft beer tasting tour around Borough Market. Check out their tour here >
Bridget Jones lives here!
Well, sort of! Helen Fielding’s literary and loveable singleton Bridget Jones lives here (well, in the movies at least). Her (fictional) flat entrance can be found above the Globe Tavern, on Bedale Street (No. 8). We won’t ask how someone working as an office assistant can afford one of the most expensive places to live in London…
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Go on a food tour
Borough Market have teamed up with cook and food writer Celia Brooks to offer official tours of Borough Market. The 3 hour food tours run on Friday mornings and include tastings of charcuterie, cheeses, fresh oysters, hot street snacks, chocolate, wine and much more! Click here to book a food tour >
Play Crazy Golf at Plonk!
Crazy golf, a colourful course with some of London’s best loved landmarks as holes and a fully loaded bar?! ‘Fore’ real – we are in!
This superb subterranean 9-hole course is just a stone’s throw away (or should that be petite putt?) from Borough Market and Southwark Cathedral, making good use of the railway arches beneath London Bridge and Borough High Street.
The Plonk Golf peeps have really gone to (London) town with this course, a neon nirvana of some of the capital’s most famous spots like Thames Barrier, HMS Belfast (a surprisingly serpentine and struggle of a shot to complete on par) and the London Eye. Upon entry, you are given your putters, balls and all important score-card as well as access to bar (the only time it is cool to ‘drink and drive’).
The attention to detail at Plonk Borough Market is superb and the illustrations and designs make this London’s best looking urban golf-course – and remember, the loser buys the drinks at the end!
As of July 2022, Plonk Golf at Borough Market prices start from £9.90 per adult for off-peak slots which includes all equipment – under 18 prices start from £5.50.
Get your money beforehand
The ATM queues at Borough Market can be a little ‘testing’ (read ‘long’) so if possible, try to get your cash out somewhere else beforehand. These days, most traders also accept contactless payments too but take a little cash, just in case.
How to get to Borough Market
Borough Market is within a short walking distance of London Bridge mainline train station, and northern and jubilee London underground lines.
Accommodation near Borough Market
Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard
5 star hotel occupying levels 34-52 of The Shard, and has breathtaking views of the city. It features an exquisite restaurant and serves cocktails until late at the highest bar in London. Check out prices and availability for Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard
London Bridge Hotel
Modern hotel located near the river with elegant rooms, contemporary restaurant, bar and gym. Check out prices and availability for London Bridge Hotel
Locke at Broken Wharf
Micro studio accommodation with a bar, a shared lounge and a 24-hour front desk. Check out prices and availability for Locke at Broken Wharf
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