Eating is everyone’s favourite activity in London, but when the best restaurants in the city are usually fully booked or are incredibly expensive, going out for food doesn’t seem reasonable.
So, the local’s favourite solution to this problem is eating at the best food markets in London. There’s better quality food since food stand rents are much lower and the general communal vibe makes it even more enjoyable than going to a restaurant.
Food markets in London are especially packed when the weather is good or if it’s the festive season, but good food is always worth the wait.
Read my recommendations below for the best street food markets in London you must eat at or book a street food tour in London if it’s your first time.
Borough Market, Photo by Ignacio Palomo Duarte
Borough Market (open every day except Sundays from 10 to 5)
Every “best street food markets in London” list must begin with the Borough Market. Being the ultimate street food market in London, it’s one of the oldest and most diverse.
The food you get at Borough Market is usually under £10 and enough to keep you full throughout the day. This makes it the perfect place to grab lunch and go for a long walk towards Waterloo next to the Thames.
I recommend the traditional scotch egg makers Scotchtails for an authentic British snack or Gujarati Rasoi for a wholesome Indian meal.
Afterwards, if you crave something sweet, you can join Loacal’s evening chocolate tour in central London and enjoy many chocolaty treats from brownies to a chocolate cocktail!
Old Spitalfields Market (open every day from 9 to 5:30 and from 11 on Saturdays)
Coming in second place is Old Spitalfields Market, where foodies and fashion-lovers unite to enjoy a full day of shopping. Old Spitalfields Market has come a long way as a food market, as they now even have small kitchen stations for a few of their traders.
I recommend the soupy and delicious Chinese dumplings at Dumpling Shack and to anyone with a sweet tooth, the Taiwanese wheelcakes at Wheelcake Island are honestly out of this world.
Photo credit: Wheel Cake Island
Alternatively, for those of you planning a visit in summer, book the Central London ice cream tour to enjoy new and exciting flavours as well as old Italian gelato recipes. Don’t worry about the calories, because it’s a walking tour!
Camden Market (open from 10 to 6 every day)
Camden is London’s most unique spot as it has been home to punk rockers and is still the go-to place for great live music and gigs. Perhaps over the past few years, it’s become more of a tourist attraction and the food market is definitely one of the reasons.
There. is. so. much. deliciousness.
I recommend Burger and Beyond for a satisfying giant burger and Roti House for a curry meets Naan bread dream. Also if you go in the evening, make a stop at the Cafe Chula for a refreshing Margarita!
Pop Brixton, Photo by Su May
Pop Brixton (open every day from 9 to 11 in the evening, 12 on the weekends)
One of my favourite neighbourhoods in London is Brixton, once home to the legend: Ziggy Stardust. Brixton is South London’s rising star, it’s lively but you can also avoid tourist crowds here.
Pop Brixton has one of my favourite pizza makers, Made of Dough. A pizza connoisseur like moi can’t get enough of their soft, melts-in-the-mouth quality dough.
Oh and the cheese… Now if you can’t get enough of that, discover the best cheese in London the best way: cheese crawl!
If you are not very cheesy, try the jerkalicious Mama’s Jerk for some spicy Carribean chicken.
Southbank Centre Food Market (open weekends 12 to 9 in the evening, 6 on Sunday)
The final market on the list is located in the beautiful South Bank, it’s just a few minutes’ walk from Waterloo Station and London Eye. Apart from all the great mouth-watering options, you’ll be able to go eat your food next to the Thames.
Also, you can go second-hand book shopping right after, catch a play at the National Theatre or Shakespeare’s Globe because both of them are just 5 minutes away from the market.
Try the pad thai at PAD + SEN or delicious smoked sausages at The Polish Deli.
You can try to go to one of these alone, or book a street art and street food tour with me! We can discover the best street art and street food in London together.
by Rüya Yönak