Borough Market: Best Market for Cheap Eats in London

Borough Market is the largest and oldest wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London.

Borough Market is the largest and oldest wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London. This vibrant market is not only the best-known market in the UK but is also one of the most famous food markets in the world. It has survived for over a thousand years mainly because a 1754 Act of Parliament stipulated that it would remain “an estate for the use and benefit” of the local community “forever.”

Owned by a charitable trust and run by a board of volunteer trustees, it has a plethora of stalls owned and run by expert small producers who grow, cook, or directly source the food that they sell. The traders are strongly committed to the environment to the maximum extent possible as most waste items are recycled while rainwater is collected to feed the plants. Moreover, they use low-energy lighting.

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The retail market operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The wholesale market operates on all weekday mornings from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

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Borough Market has a colourful history as it has been in existence since before 1014 in some form or the other. In the 1990s it had a revival with the emergence of artisanal foods. Presently the market is located on Southwark Street and Borough High Street just south of Southwark Cathedral on the southern end of London Bridge but originally it was located adjoining the end of London Bridge. The market claims that it has been there since 1014 and maybe much earlier but subsequently it was moved south of St Margaret’s Church on the High Street. However, the first mention of the same was in 1276. A royal charter from Edward VI was given to the City of London in 1550 to control all markets in Southwark and the same was confirmed by Charles II in 1671. As the market started causing excessive traffic congestion, it was abolished by an Act of Parliament in 1754.

The local parishioners were permitted by the Act to set up another market on a new site and accordingly, a new Borough Market was set up on a 4.5-acre site in Rochester Yard. This strategic location near the riverside wharves of the Pool of London was responsible for the market becoming one of London’s most important markets. The market was the scene of a terrorist attack in June 2017 when three attackers ran to the area and started stabbing and killing people with knives before being shot dead by armed police.

The Market is located next to London Bridge station, which is serviced by the Jubilee and Northern lines on the London Underground and by mainline trains from all over London and the south of England. The closest bus stops are London Bridge (Routes 43, 141, 149 and 521); and Borough High Street (Routes 43, 141, 149, 521). There is a bus stop at Southwark Street just moments from the market.