A Guide To Borough Market

By Ellie Smith

5 months ago

The lowdown on London's most famous food market


Jam-packed with food stalls and grocers, and surrounded by endless buzzy restaurants, pubs and shops, Borough Market really does feel like the epicentre of London’s food scene. The capital’s oldest food market, it has been sitting proudly in Southwark – in one form or another – for over 1,000 years, with a unique atmosphere that feels like a blend of old and new London. But with so much to explore (and eat), a trip here can feel a little overwhelming. With that in mind, we’ve outlined all the key information to know before you go.

Borough Market London: Everything You Need To Know

Why Is Borough Market So Famous?

First up: a bit of background. Borough Market is thought to date back over many centuries; the earliest record of the market is from 1276, though it’s probable it existed even earlier than that, in the 990s. It originally operated slightly further down the high street, moving to its current site in 1756 after being resurrected by locals following a brief Parliament-induced closure.

For many years, it operated as a wholesale market, but suffered a steep decline in the ‘70s as supermarkets grew. However, this presented an opportunity to take the venue into a new direction, and by the ‘90s a whole host of artisan retailers had set up camp within the famed Art Deco facade, holding foodie events and drawing in a new audience. This heralded the beginning of a new era for Borough Market, establishing it as a gourmet food destination. 

Food stall at Borough Market

What Can You Buy And Eat There?

Nowadays, the market is home to over 100 stalls, stands, shops, restaurants and bars. You can buy a whole host of fresh produce: cheese, meat, fish, fruit and veggies, alongside pantry items like oil, condiments and coffee. There are also street food stalls selling everything from falafel wraps to pies to noodles. And of course there are the sweet treats: cakes, brownies, cookies, eclairs, you name it. It’s impossible to try everything (in one go, at least), so make a beeline for:

  • Humble Crumble: A cult bakery selling fruit crumbles – these can be bought ready to eat straight away, or as a ‘crumble bundle’ to bake at home.
  • Neal’s Yard Dairy: Cheese lover? Go wild at this excellent cheesemonger, which was one of the first retailers to set up around Borough Market in the ‘90s.
  • The Black Pig: Devour one of the ciabatta sandwiches from The Black Pig – the honey, truffle and pork number is the stuff of legend.
  • Bread Ahead: Don’t leave without trying one of Bread Ahead’s famous doughnuts.
  • Ginger Pig: If you’re cooking a roast, stop by the Ginger Pig for some prime cuts of British meat.
Bread Ahead Covent Garden

Bread Ahead

Borough Market Opening Times

Borough Market is open six days a week, from Tuesday – Sunday.

Opening times are:

  • 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Friday
  • 9am – 5pm, Saturday
  • 10am – 4pm, Sunday

What Are The Best Days/Times To Visit?

The market gets very busy, particularly on weekends. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit one afternoon during the week, or go early on a Friday or Saturday morning.

Padella London Bridge

Padella

Restaurants Near Borough Market

If you’re after more of a sit-down meal, there are plenty of restaurants in and around Borough Market. Some of the best are:

  • Rambutan: Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s debut restaurant focusing on spicy Sri Lankan fare.
  • Berenjak: A second branch of Soho’s Persian restaurant Berenjak opened in Borough Market in 2022.
  • Roast: Situated above Borough Market in the Floral Hall, Roast serves one of London’s best Sunday lunches.
  • Mallow: A plant-based restaurant from the team behind Mildred’s serving brunch and veggie-focused sharing plates.
  • Parrillan: Spanish food is cooked over a wood-fired grill at Parrillan, the second outpost of the popular eatery, with outdoor tables and an open kitchen inside.
  • Arabica Bar & Kitchen: A buzzy Middle Eastern restaurant found deep within the market, which originated as a little food stall.
  • Padella: Arguably London’s most famous pasta restaurant, serving small plates of affordable pasta. Expect to queue.

Pubs Near Borough Market

Finish your Borough Market excursion with a pint at one of the many local pubs. Options include:

  • The George Inn
  • Gladstone Arms
  • Bunch of Grapes
  • The Rake
  • The Globe Tavern
  • Boot & Flogger

Find out more at boroughmarket.co.uk