Packing a Picnic at London’s Best Food Markets

April 24, 2012 by

Day Trips, Free Things To Do, Travel Tips

Borough Market in London, England. Photo courtesy of Bernt Rostad via Flickr.

Borough Market in London, England. Photo courtesy of Bernt Rostad via Flickr.

With such wonderful parks dotted all over this huge city, one of the best things to do on a sunny day in London is pack a picnic basket and head onto that green grass with the squirrels and pigeons as company. Many of London’s original food markets have now become more about antiques, bric-a-brac and cheap clothes, DVDs and souvenirs but some continue to thrive and farmers’ markets have sprung up to fill the gaps.

1) Borough Market

Borough Market is located in the Borough, South London, near London Bridge. This is probably the best known fresh food market still operating in inner London and it’s wonderful, being a Saturday ritual for many Londoners. The foods on sale will make your mouth water. Breads and cheeses, meats and fish, fruit and vegetables, coffee and cakes, pies and so on, all of it grown or prepared by people who care about food. If you ask a question, expect a lengthy and knowledgeable answer. One of the most indulgent things to do here is have a cheesy raclette at Kappacasein – you’ll find it by the queues and delicious smell. Open Thursdays 11-5, Fridays 12-6 and Saturdays 8-5

2) New Covent Garden Market

It is located at Nine Elms, South London. Once located in Covent Garden where the old market buildings are now used for retail, cafes and pubs, this is the largest fresh food market in the UK and is aimed largely at the trade: restaurants, florists etc. Open 3am until 10am, with late opening until 11am on Saturdays

3) Leadenhall Market

On Gracechurch Street, City of London, this lovely historic indoor market dates from the 14th century. It has wonderful cheeses, meats, fruit and veggies plus great things for picnic baskets like foie gras. Open Monday to Friday from 11am until 4pm

4) Farmers’ Markets

These pop up all over the city with what they offer varying. Marylebone Farmers Market on Sunday mornings is in a carpark behind the Waitrose on Marylebone High Street and is fairly upmarket in its offerings. Whitecross Street Food Market in fashionable Hoxton/Clerkenwell open every Thursday and Friday tends to have prepared foods, perfect for your picnic basket. Pimlico Road Market on Saturday morning has fresh fruits and vegetables as well as cheese and baked goods.

- Philippa Burne

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