Smithfield is central London’s last surviving meat market, and though most of the transactions today are wholesale, visitors are invited to shop too; arrive before 7am to see it in full swing. The market has been at this location since the 12th century, but the current colourful building was designed in 1868 by Horace Jones, who also designed Leadenhall Market and Tower Bridge. City of London guides run 1½-hour tours (£12.50) monthly at 6.45am.
Smithfields is at a developmental crossroads: the area is being rebranded as the Cultural Mile corridor, which runs between Farringdon and Moorgate. The market itself is looking to move to Dagenham in East London, pending the Parliament's permission. Part of the vast market complex is already abandoned, and the Museum of London is planning to relocate to the semi-derelict General Market section by 2024.