Historic markets and pop-up stalls, around London Bridge and Bermondsey?
When you think of The City of London, men in business suits carrying briefcases tend to pop to mind, and yet there is a wealth of old and newly established markets hidden away all over the city in old viaducts and under bridges. The extent of history and wealth of character in this area never ceases to amaze me and whether you’re a weekend moocher or you live in the area, the weekday and weekend markets are something to behold.
Probably one of the most famous and oldest of all the markets in London, Borough Market. Hidden away down a questionable set of stairs off London Bridge or down a maze of backstreets and lanes from Borough Market underground is a jungle of a market, and a hot bed for food vendors and fresh food stalls – it truly is a foodie’s paradise. The market stalls range from British produce to international delicacies selling truffles, raclette and delicious Indian street food. I personally have two favourite places; firstly ‘Padella’ is the pasta place of the market Gods. It’s not a stall but a little sit in restaurant on the corner of the hustle and bustle of the market. Homemade Italian pasta is their speciality – but everyone knows it so be prepared to queue, but I’m telling you it’s worth it. It’s totally affordable, around a fiver per dish of pasta and if you’re looking for a warm comforting plate of deliciousness after a long day at work, their paradelle pasta with 8-hour slow roasted shin of beef is a thing of beauty. If pasta isn’t really your thing and you want a pit stop lunch or a romantic break during your shopping excursions without breaking the bank, Richard Howard Oysters are second to none. With over 100 years of family experience, they have cultivated, harvested, and sold their oysters, farmed on the same stretch of Salcott Creek on the Island of Mersea in Essex, to Borough market. The oysters are shucked in front of you and are a fraction of restaurant price - £10 for four medium rock oysters and a glass of bubbles or wine, or £9 for four medium rock oysters and a bottle of beer. The staff are so helpful and knowledgeable that they will help you pair the perfect crisp white wine to enjoy with your naughty treat.
You may have heard of Borough Market, but have you heard of Maltby Street Market? Opened in 2010 this is in a rather special area; nicknamed the ropewalk in 1746 the area was disrupted from the original layout by the construction of the London to Greenwich railway in 1836. The viaduct that carried the materials is now the picturesque backdrop for the Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey. The railway accommodates for indoor/outdoor seating and the market has a variety of stalls ranging from green grocers to wine bars to niche barbers. If you want to find the freshest fruit and veg for your Sunday roast, head over to Taylors of Maltby. They have established links to farmers in Essex, Surrey, and Kent, and if you can’t make it to the market itself, they are now offering an ordering service on their website https://www.taylorsofmaltbyst.co.uk. Bar Tozino is a Saturday only feature of the market, but this boutique stall is London’s first and only Jamón Bodega. Take a trip over to enjoy Spanish wines and beautifully carved ham hanging from the ceiling, a real weekend treat.
Feeling full? Quench your thirst for culture at the Bermondsey Square Antiques market. It started in 1855 as an underground market for stolen goods but today is a gold mine for stunning second-hand items and historic pieces including furniture, silver, jewellery and china. Set on the site of the formally Bermondsey Abbey this market attracts dealers from all over and is a mecca for serious antiques collectors. If you want the best of the best be sure to get there early (5am for the more serious antiques hunters amongst you) or a civilised 2-4pm every Friday afternoon. It’s easy to find on Long Lane near Tower Bridge Junction or a skip and a hop from either London Bridge mainline and underground or indeed Borough Market underground station.
The city has so much more to offer than men in suits. Retail, historic markets, restaurants both traditional and modern and some of the most prime real estate in central London, it’s well worth a visit or even a reccie for your new postcode!