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Borough Market guide – London’s most famous food market

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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:

Baker bread stall at Borough market
mussels and frites stall at Borough market

Go early

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.

olive bread at Borough market
vegetable stall at Borough market

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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.

paella stall at Borough market
mushrooms stall at Borough market

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.

cheese stall at Borough market
cheese stall at Borough market

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.

guide to Borough market food market London Bridge blog
guide to Borough market food market London Bridge blog

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Pint 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.

Market porter pub london bridge
The Market Porter

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.

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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…

Borough market
guide to Borough market food market London Bridge blog
craft beer shop at Borough market

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.

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 >

wine shop at Borough market

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.

fudge stall at Borough market
fish kitchen at Borough market
portena shop at Borough market
Neals yard remedies at Borough market

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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