For a thousand years, a market has existed at the southern end of London Bridge, making this still-busy ancient gathering point a superb spectacle. Overflowing with small shops, food stalls and wholesale greengrocers catering to London's top-end restaurants, Borough Market makes a delicious lunch stop, afternoon grazing session or pure dinner-party inspiration. The market is committed to sustainability and supporting small-scale food producers.
The market specializes in high-end fresh (and often local) products. You'll find an assortment of fruit and vegetable stalls, cheesemongers, butchers, fishmongers and bakeries, as well as delis and gourmet stalls selling spices, nuts, preserves and condiments. This gastronomic ensemble makes for an eye-catching and mouth-watering display, and plenty of visitors stroll through with their cameras at the ready.
Once you're too hungry to continue window-shopping (and sampling), grab some grub from one of the many takeaway stalls. Choose anything from sizzling gourmet German sausages to Ethiopian curries, Caribbean stews, falafel wraps, and raclette cheese melted over cured meats and potatoes. Save room for dessert from the cake stalls; walking out without a treat will be a challenge. Many of the takeaway food stalls cluster in Green Market, the area closest to Southwark Cathedral.
Restaurants, pubs and bars
If you'd rather eat and drink indoors, there are a whole host of options in and around the market. Padella, the eternally busy pasta restaurant, operates a virtual line so you can sign up in advance or on the door and return when your table is available. Tucked under a railway arch is Arabica, which serves delicious Middle Eastern mezze dishes that are perfect for sharing.
Get a pint at the Market Porter, where most people seem to spill out onto the street to watch the market in action. The Rake, a tiny bar with an outside area, stocks an exceptional range of beer.
Opening times and other practicalities
The market is open from 10am Monday to Friday, and from 8am on Saturday, but not all traders are there every day. It's heaving on Saturdays; arrive early for the best pickings or embrace the craze at lunchtime. If you can't find a spot in the stepped seating area in Jubilee Place to enjoy your takeaway, walk five minutes in either direction along the Thames for river views. Water bottles can be refilled at the water fountain on Stoney Street, not far from Maria's Cafe.
The market is right next to London Bridge rail and Underground station (Jubilee and Northern Lines). The public spaces of the market are all on one level and are wheelchair accessible, but there are some old cobbled stretches and narrow alleys to contend with. Some of the surrounding restaurants and pubs are on multi-levels.