Smithfield is central London’s last surviving meat market. Its name derives from 'smooth field', where animals could graze, although its history is far from pastoral as this was once a place where public executions were held. Visit the market by 7am at the latest to see it in full swing. The Museum of London is due to move into Smithfield Market by 2021 in a relocation costing £70 million.
Built on the site of the notorious St Bartholomew’s Fair, where witches were burned at the stake, this is where Scottish independence leader William Wallace was executed in 1305 (there’s a plaque on the wall of St Bart’s Hospital, south of the market, ending with the Gaelic words 'Bas agus Buaidh' or 'Death and Victory'), as well as the place where one of the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt, Wat Tyler, met his end in 1381. Described in terms of pure horror by Dickens in Oliver Twist, this was once the armpit of London, where animal excrement and entrails combined in a sea of filth. The market itself is a colourful building designed in 1868 by Horace Jones, who also designed Leadenhall Market and Tower Bridge.