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When the sun is out in London, you must take advantage! Despite the notoriously dreary weather, it’s a city where you get outside as much as possible to walk through the parks, tend to your garden, or socialize with friends over a pint. Market places have long served as a central gathering point for Londoners to enjoy great food and drink, or pick up goods and produce to take home. Some of the city’s most famous market places have been going strong for over three centuries, while several that are new to the scene have helped drive London’s great micro-brewery and farm-to-table movements. The next time you plan a visit to this great British metropolis, be sure and check out at least a few of the epic markets mentioned below.

 

RELATED: Insomniacs, this is your guide to a great night out in London

 

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Borough Market | Photo by Tom Hoppe

Borough Market

Just south of the Thames River near London Bridge, Borough Market is the ultimate foodie destination. Glass-ceilinged passageways dotted with enticing food stalls lead to open spaces with restaurants and fresh food stands. The largest trading area of them all is called “Three Crown Square.” Here, you’ll find an extensive produce selection with a bounty of local fruits and veggies. Jonesing for the best buttery, gooey grilled cheese sandwich in town? Stop by the Kappacasein food stall, where owner Bill Oglethorpe makes his famously rich Ogleshield cheese in nearby Bermondsey. For one of the best sit down restaurants, head to Padella, a tasty Italian joint serving house-made pasta in a sleek black and white bistro space. Other favorites in this market include: Wright Brother’s Oyster Bar or Fish! for delicious seafood, Roast for a more upscale meal, and the Wheatsheaf for the perfect pint. Don’t forget to keep an eye on Borough Market’s event calendar as well. There’s always some fun celebration or demonstration going on.

 

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Portobello Road Market | Photo by Compass + Twine

Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road is the famed stretch of shops in London’s charming, upscale Notting Hill neighborhood. Having been around for over 300 years, it’s undoubtedly one of the city’s most iconic landmarks (remember the Julia Roberts-Hugh Grant film of the same name?). Interestingly enough, the name actually stems not from the mushroom but from the town in Panama, Porto Bello, which the British captured from the Spanish back in 1739. Today the popular, year-round street market is best known for its abundance of antiques. Vintage stores rule the scene here, with over 1,000+ vendors providing some of the best antique shopping in the world. You could easily spend a full afternoon poking in and out of all the fun and eclectic stores. When you want to stop for a bite to eat, pop into Farm Girl for some delicious sandwiches and fresh fruit juices.

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Maltby Street | Photo by Brennan Hoppe

Maltby Street

Maltby Street is one of the newest (and coolest) additions to London’s market scene. The outdoor, primarily-weekend market in southeast London focuses on artisan purveyors and offers the most dynamic assortment of gourmet street food and microbreweries in town. All up and down the narrow street, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops fill old warehouse spaces underneath massive, steel railway arches. The eateries have an intimate, pop-up feel and curate their menus around seasonal ingredients. Start off with a cup of joe at Monmouth Coffee, then swing by the famous St. John Bakery when you’re hungry for traditional English fare. Lassco also has good eats, along with cool antique furniture and items you can buy. You can get all things delicious along this stretch, from local London-rooftop-made honey to Japanese doughnuts. When it’s finally time for a drink, grab a Bloody Mary to-go and continue meandering along or duck into Kernel for a pint of their award-winning local brew. Brimming with character, the once-industrial Maltby Street now beckons a cool, young crowd to come hang out and enjoy tasty eats.

 

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Covent Garden | Photo by Compass + Twine

Covent Garden

The famous piazza-like space in the heart of central London has long attracted both locals and tourists for good food, shopping, performances and a jovial atmosphere. Covent Garden‘s landmark square boasts numerous restaurants and cafés, along with a massive glass pavilion in the center known as “The Apple Market.” Inside the market, you’ll find British vendors selling myriad items, everything from handmade soaps and jewelry to leather goods and tourist knickknacks. Outside, the square buzzes endlessly with friends meeting up, live music playing, or some sort of street performance underway. Swing by for a casual pint at one of the pubs, or make a fancy evening out of it with dinner at the raved-about, upscale restaurant, Frenchie, followed by a show at one London’s famous theaters near by. 

 

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Hawker House | Photo by Brennan Hoppe

Hawker House

Another great market to hit up, no matter the season, is the Hawker House. During the winter, it’s an indoor food market; in the summer, they open it up to the outside. Located near the Canada Water tube stop, the Hawker House hosts an eclectic array of cuisines, including Indian, BBQ, pizza, Brazilian, doughnuts and–of course–beer. For those who fancy the hard stuff, there’s also a excellent gin stand! Only open Friday after 5pm and Saturday starting at noon, it’s more of a nighttime street market scene with a lively vibe and DJs playing tunes. In a pretty solid frat move, they even sell Bud Light in the flip-cup game area.

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Tagged: Europe, London

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