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Jun 10, 2010 04:25 AM

Borough Market [London]

I see from their webiste the market is open
thursdays:11am - 5pm
fridays:12pm - 6pm
saturdays:8am -

I can't make it on a Saturday. From your experience is it better on Thurs or Fri? aiming for most amount of stalls... and smallest crowds...

do they give free tasting samples? or discount their produce at the end of the day?

2 more days and I'm a plane to London...can hardy wait

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  1. Friday , early on about 11 or 12, is probably the best time to avoid dense crowds. I was there at that time about 2 weeks ago, and I had no problems navigating my way around. Some shops are open all week.

    Some places have free samples, but not all. There's a man selling olive oils that has lots of free tasting of the different varities. There's a new chocolate shop - very nice things there.

    1. I agree, Friday before noon is definitely the best time although sometimes they are just setting up the free samples at that point.

      Most stalls don't discount their wares until 4PM on Saturday...

      1. I'm curious--I keep seeing this advice. Go early, 9am on Friday. 11am on Friday at the latest. Before noon on Friday. But it doesn't open, according to their website, until 12pm on Friday. So does Borough Market open before it officially opens? Is that what the locals are trying to say, that there's a secret opening time for those in the know? Or do the hours change seasonally and nobody is actually paying attention to the current opening times when offering advice?

        I don't mean this as a snarky response. I'm genuinely confused by the recommendations I've read on the many threads in contrast to the stated opening hours. We're going to be in London on Friday the 25th, and if the stalls are secretly open at 11am, I would LOVE to go at that time. It would make the rest of my day that much easier!

        6 Replies
        1. re: modthyrth

          It gets busy a few hours after it opens. It isn't as though there are queues of people breaking down the doors to get in the moment it opens. The best strategy is to visit earlier rather than later, so by 11:00am on Saturday it is busy but not impossible, and by 1:00pm it is packed. I never got there at 8:00 but I suspect you could have a place pretty much to yourself.....which may be great for shopping but somewhat lacking in energy/buzz.

          1. re: PhilD

            I gave up going to Borough when it was already busy before 9am on a Saturday. The buggy brigade get there early.

          2. re: modthyrth

            The opening times refer to when the majority of stalls will be open for business, but you can walk through the market at any time, and some of the vendors (eg. Ginger Pig, Brindisa, Sillfield Farm) are open outside of market hours. If you go before noon, some vendors will be there, but not all of them. Personally, I'd aim for around 11 on friday - you might not see everything, but most of it, and it'll be less hectic.

            1. re: babybat

              Excellent, thanks for the clarification!

            2. re: modthyrth

              I can only write about my experiences, but I was at Borough two weeks ago today. I got there just a little after 11 and was out by noon... bought everything I went for and all the stalls were open and selling. I think that noon opening is a myth! Opening time for Saturday might be a bit more valid.

              1. re: zuriga1

                Agreed. Many of the stalls open before 12, though the earliest I've been there on a Friday is at 10:30 so I don't know how much earlier.

            3. Their site says that they will be open at 10:00 on NYE. Any opinions on whether that would be a good time to go? This will be our first day in London but it sounds like fun and we will have a mini kitchen available.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kfoster21

                Not sure whether you are asking whether NYE is a good day to go, or whether 10am is a good time to go. Either way, I think that would be a great first-day-in-london activity, especially if you want to have some stuff on hand to prepare in your mini-kitchen on New Year's Day. I find that Borough is usually kind of a rolling opening. Some of the stalls are ready and smiling right at opening time, and others are just unpacking their wares and setting up at opening. Personally, I prefer going earlier, because it's a much more pleasant shopping experience. I'd expect that it will get pretty busy around lunchtime, as usual. NYE will probably be a lot like a regular Saturday at the market, ie, packed.

                  1. re: kfoster21

                    Saturdays are PACKED. However, there are a lot more options that day. There are good options on Friday, many less on Thursday. I absolutely LOVE it though and think it's worth the crowds. Go hungry. Plenty to eat and take away.

                    1. re: ambra

                      Just on the whole 'when does it open' issue you will find between 9am and 11am that not every single stall will be open with samples but in my experience by 11 the whole market is basically up and running. If you're free and around don't delay yourself till midday and you can wander round the whole place at any time even while they're setting up at some ungodly hour so I think it's fair to say you'd be hard-pressed to arrive too early.

                      For NYE I think the market would be a great thing to do - again getting there at 10 would be a very good idea (esp as it's advertised as such) and you can wander round and try everything then do a bit of buying as it fills up.

                      Don't forget the mushroom pate and the ostrich steak baguettes!