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Jun 20, 2006 02:25 PM

Oldest London Farmers Market

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Anyone checking out the food scene in London should visit the Southwark (pronounced suh-therk) Market, located on the newly-renovated South Bank of the Thames between the Southwark Cathedral and the new Globe Theatre. There has been a food market on this spot since 1016 A.D. It is under a lot of train tracks because when rail lines started coming into London they had to go around (over) this established market.

The market is open only to those in the food trade from Monday-Thursday and Friday morning. But Friday afternoon and especially all day Saturday it is open to the public. The produce and meats sold at the market are the best-looking I've seen in London and one buys direct from the producer (which is why it really is a farmers market).

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  1. It sounds like you are talking about what is commonly known as the Borough Market, which has been discussed and recommended highly on this board many, many times.

    6 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Sounds like it to me too.

      1. re: Candy

        I've been there its interesting. But, if you are from NYC, its not that special to make a special trip to see. And, if you are staying in London on a vacation in a regular hotel room, the market is about really perishable goods (80%). There are some prepared foods for immediate consumption or take away. But again, it is not really worth a special trip if you have access to NYC Markets.

        1. re: Ora

          There is plenty of good grazing there and the Spanish sausage sandwiches with the poquillo peppers is to die for. This coming trip in October I have taken a flat with a kitchen and the other amenities just so we can try some of the perishables, not that I want to spend all of my time cooking in with so much good food to be had and there are somethings that you don't see readily available in the US like Bresse Chickens. But Burough Market is a treat and check out the cathedral too. It is very interesting and also has a nice gift shop.

          1. re: Ora

            True, most of it is perishable, but I bought the BEST preserves I have ever had there. England Preserves. There's a woman who sells a much larger variety, but flavor-wise, they pale in comparison. There's also fabulous olive oil to be had, and I'm a huge fan of the brownies at Flour Power City.

            1. re: Ora

              as a resident of both nyc and london, i strongly disagree with this. if you're into food then it's definitely worth a look. you're not going to see a lot of the same things in the states, even in a well-stocked gourmet shop. and sad to say, it beats the pants off of the union square greenmarket.

              1. re: wleatherette

                I would agree. There were things I don't see at markets in the US (and vice versa, to be fair). If nothing else, this is a great place to grab lunch and sit outside the cathedral noshing. The clotted cream fudge is decadent, the meat pies are tasty, the cheese is very good, and there are lots of things I am not even mentioning. It's definitely worth a stop.

        2. In addition to the Chorizo sandwiches mentioned by Candy, look out for the organic lamb kebabs, with tzatziki, feta and peppers. yummy! It's a great place for a quick snack...but it's very crowded in the summer.

          1. It's very crowded any time of the year.

            1 Reply
            1. At the risk of looking picky, it's worth adding that Borough isn't really a true farmer's market either - unlike the London Farmers' Markets (, retailers are allowed to operate there as well as producers. Hence the Brindisa stall, etc.

              1. Even without discounting all the food to buy, there's plenty to eat there, as Borough is pretty much the Disneyland of good eating.

                I can think of a dozen sandwiches there that are worth killing for (not even counting the part-time Grilled Cheese guy) (voted best sandwich by Gourmet magazine...). Plus an excellent, real ale-stocked pub (The Market Porter) and an outcropping of London's best coffee shop (Monmouth).

                And Neal's Yard Diary. And the crazy chili pepper people. And the woman selling home-made Indian curry pastes that actually made me weep...

                Yeah. It's a good place.