It’s tourist central just across the Thames near the London Bridge, so it’s really no wonder that Borough Market, one of the oldest and best in London, is always packed. If you’ve come to London prepared, you’ve already got a plan to have lunch at Borough Market. Now you just need to know what’s for lunch. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed, no matter what you choose.
There are dozens of places to eat near the market, which is tucked away down a flight of stairs by the Southwark Cathedral. Just be prepared to battle it out with all the other people who had the same idea as you to enjoy lunch at Borough Market.
The food options at Borough Market are not just what you can find at the typical market stalls, like cheese and artisan bread. In fact, you will be absolutely shocked at the plethora of food options available at or near the market. This is what makes it such a fantastic market.
There are hot food vendors along the outside perimeter of the market, lots of typical market vendors through the middle, even more food vendors in the buildings under the tracks, and just when you think there couldn’t possibly be more, there are full-sized restaurants lining the entire area.
Borough Market Hours
The market is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7am, except on Saturday when it opens at 8am for the early birds. While Monday and Tuesday are limited market days and all of the stalls are not open, that should not sway you from visiting. Even when all the stalls are closed, Borough Market is still alive thanks to the surrounding restaurants and shops. There’s always somewhere to eat near Borough Market.
What to Eat at Borough Market
Now, how do you choose what to eat for lunch at Borough Market. You can’t get ahead of yourself and just stand in line for the first thing that looks good, or you won’t make it very far. One thing is guaranteed here: you will run out of stomach space before you run out of places that tempt you. You have to go in with a plan.
It’s a good idea to be armed with a few important tips, as well. We’ll throw those in at the end, because we know you’re eager to get to the food! You’ll also find a few recommendations on where to stay near Borough Market. And when you’re ready to walk it all off, check out this post for a one-day walking tour of London’s top landmarks.
While we’ll mostly be discussing the lunch food options in Borough Market, there are all kinds of other goodies you can buy in the market, like cookies, muffins, cheeses of all kinds, sausage, tea, spices, fresh produce. If you’re able to take back a few items to your hotel room, or you want to put together a picnic basket of items to take for a picnic along the waterfront, you can easily do it here. So do plan for at least an hour of additional walking around at the market, before or after you’ve eaten.
Best Street Food in Borough Market
In Borough Market, you’ll find a few different kinds of food options. The places in this list can most accurately be defined as street food. There is a very nice line up of street food options along the outside wall of the market. There are probably about 10 stalls there, where you can stand in line for a sandwich or take-away plate of food. A few more street food options can be found throughout the market. If you can buy it outside and take it to go, we’re considering it street food.
I’m starting the list with everyone’s favorite food stop in Borough Market. This place is so popular, you’ll rarely find it without a line. I promise you it is worth it to stand in that line. Kappacasein sells an amazing plate of potatoes covered in bubbling hot Raclette cheese, with pickles on the side. The best part is watching the giant wheel of Raclette cheese being melted under the heating lamp. When it starts to get bubbly on top, they slide it off onto the waiting potatoes.
If you don’t like potatoes, you can also get a grilled cheese toastie. It’s definitely not your ordinary cheese sandwich. They pile it high with shredded cheddar and grill it until the cheese oozes out the sides. This is my favorite plate of food in the market and I head there first thing. It’s the stuff of dreams.
Depending on what time you stop by the Roast Hog stall, you might be rewarded with the sights and smells of a whole hog roasting on the spit. These guys go through a TON of roasted pork each day, so by the end of the day there isn’t much left to see. This is one line you definitely want to stand in. A huge handful of roast pork is stuffed into a chewy bun and topped with some arugula.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of places for vegetarians to eat at Borough Market too! We really like the falafel bowl and falafel wraps at Nana Fanny’s. You can choose your fillings for the wrap, or they can make you a bowl without the wrap. It’s not all about falafel here though. On the other side of the stall they’re putting together some pretty amazing salt beef bagels.
Who can resist the aroma of a giant pot of Caribbean chicken bubbling away in front of you? A stop at Soul Food is a really wise choice. The options include jerk chicken and a curried goat served over rice. It’s sweet and spicy, just the way we like it.
If Soul Food isn’t around, there are many other Caribbean food stalls that sell similar dishes.
While this shop offers all kinds of delicious Spanish products, like Jamon Iberico (which I can never resist) and manchego cheese, it is their famous chorizo roll that really wins over the lunch crowd at Borough Market.
Just outside their market is a small stand selling these wonderful rolls. They’re stuffed with Spanish chorizo, rocket and roasted peppers. You can get a small or large sandwich. They’re really filling so get a small if you want to eat other items from the market.
I’m not necessarily advocating that you eat donuts for lunch, but let’s say you’re having brunch in Borough Market, then it would be totally acceptable to stop by Bread Ahead and indulge in one of their jelly-filled donuts. Also pick up a ciabata roll or a freshly baked loaf for later.
Hobbs Meat Roast
You really need to stop at Hobbs for a roast meat sandwich. They serve roast porkloin with stuffing and apple sauce, turkey breast with stuffing and cranberry sauce, and salt beef with dill pickle and mustard. The line can get really long, but again, totally worth it.
You’ll find Hash at the bottom of the stairs as you enter the market. They sell all kinds of good food, like gumbo, pulled pork and mac ‘n cheese with pulled pork. There are even a few tables nearby where you can hopefully eat while sitting, but don’t bet on it. You probably will never see this few people hanging around the entrance to Borough Market, like this.
Richard Haward’s Oyster Bar
Craving oysters? Pop into the small shop of the Richard Haward’s Oysters, where you can get oysters on the half shell shucked right in front of you. There are a few tables along the sidewalk where you can enjoy your oysters with a glass of wine and watch the happenings of the market. The oysters are super fresh and at a good price.
Best Sit Down Borough Market Restaurants
All of the listings above are street food at Borough Market, but there are a lot of sit down Borough Market restaurants, too, in case you want to take a little more time to enjoy your food and not spill half of it on the sidewalk as you’re walking around. Some of these restaurants are located within Borough Market, and some are just on the outskirts. You won’t have to walk far to get to any of them.
Here are a few of our favorite sit down restaurants in and around Borough Market:
This is the place to go for a proper Sunday Roast (they have a set 3-course menu on Sundays), but you can order a hearty plate of roast specialty, like roast pork belly and vegetables, any time you want here. It’s a good way to experience the more traditional side of English cuisine.
Location: The Floral Hall
Hours: Lunch: Monday to Saturday Noon – 3:45pm; Sunday lunch: 11:30am – 6:30pm (set menu only); Dinner: Monday to Friday 5:30pm – 10:45pm and Saturday
If you recall, we’ve already discussed Brindisa, but that was for their street-food-esque chorizo roll, which you can get on the street side of their restaurant. If you go inside, you’ll find all kinds of yummy Spanish tapas to tuck into and a casual environment (that can also get rather rowdy when it’s full). They also have a few seats outside in nice weather, which we prefer for people watching.
The dishes you have to get are gambas al ajillo (my absolutely favorite dish here), huevos rotos and solomillo Iberico. If you’re really hungry and looking for a full meal rather than tapas, I highly recommend the txuleta steak.
Location: 18-20 Southwark St
Hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 11:30pm; Saturday 9:30am – 11:30pm; Sunday 9:30am – 10pm
Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House
Since you’re obviously searching around on the Internet for places to eat lunch at Borough market, you’ve no doubt seen the many pictures of fresh-shucked oysters. Those are from Wright Brothers. They have other seafood dishes too, like the British mainstay Fish & Chips. Have you ever tried cockles? You can get them here. They’re really good. They also have Devon crab (cooked in a variety of ways) and the always delicious Wright Brothers Fish Pie.
All of the menu items are fantastic, but our favorite thing to order at Wright Brothers is the seafood platter. It’s available at all of their restaurants (not just the one at Borough Market), and they are amazing.
Location: 11 Stoney Street
Hours: Monday – Friday 12pm – 10pm; Saturday 11am – 11pm; Sunday 12pm – 10pm
This place is tiny and it often has a line like you wouldn’t believe snaking around the front, and that’s just to get on the waiting list. If you’re lucky enough to arrive when there isn’t a line, you should go immediately. We’ve found that lunchtime and anytime before 6pm will give you the best chance of getting in. If you go during the dinner rush, you may just be turned away, and if not it can easily be a 2-hour wait.
They offer a small list of handmade pasta like pappardelle with beef ragu, pici cacio & pepe, fetuccine with nduja, burrata. sardines, and salame, plus wine and bread.
Location: 6 Southwark Street
Hours: Monday to Saturday Noon – 3:45pm, 5-10pm; Sunday Noon – 3:45pm, 5-9pm
Wine Bars near Borough Market
We never leave out the wine! You can find a couple of really great wine bars in Borough Market, which are great for taking a short break to enjoy a glass in between walking around the stalls. Here are two of our favorites.
Bedales Borough Market
There are several locations of Bedales wine shops around London, and we love them all! Not only will you find a great selection of wines by the glass and small plates, you’ll also find a really helpful staff who are always cheery and ready to explain the wines you’ve chosen or give recommendations.
They’ve recently redone their Borough Market location to include a really great terrace where you can sit and drink your wine. It adds a lot of much needed space to the small bar and offers the perfect spot to people watch from above.
Aside from just stopping in for a glass and a snack, you can also check out Bedales and maybe the timing will be right for you to join in a wine workshop or class.
If you’re market hopping, you can also find a Bedales in Spitalfields Market.
Location: 5 Bedale St
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am – 11pm; Saturday 9:30am – 11pm; Sunday 11am – 11pm
Laithwaites The Arch
We have been members of the Laithwaites Wine Club for many years, so we were excited to see that there’s a Laithwaites wine bar in London. It’s located in one of the railway arches near Borough Market and it’s a full wine shop, as well as wine bar. You can shop around the store and pick out a bottle, or a glass, to drink in house at the tables and couches at the back of the store. You can pick any bottle by the bottle in the store and they just charge an £8 corkage fee to drink it at the bar.
Location: 219-221 Stoney Street
Hours: Mon – Thu: 10am – 7pm; Fri: 10am – 9pm; Sat: 10am – 8pm; Sun: 12pm – 6pm
Tips for Visiting Borough Market
See that photo above? You will be hard pressed to ever find the market with that few people walking around. Usually the market is completely packed with people and it’s difficult to walk around without feeling shoved and jostled from every which way. Here are a few tips that might ease the trauma.
- Avoid the weekends if at all possible. The market is a lot less crowded during the week days.
- Check the schedule online before you go so you aren’t disappointed to find a shop you wanted to try is closed. Each stall has its own schedule.
- Arrive as early as possible. 10am might feel too early to eat lunch, but it’s all about frame of mind. You can at least scope out the stands and decide what you’re going to eat before the hordes set in.
- Once you’ve gotten your food, head to the outside wall to stand and eat. There are less people on the outside walkway and it’s easier to eat standing up when people aren’t pushing you.
- Plan to share food as much as possible, so you can try 2-3 dishes before running out of stomach space. Most dishes are full-sized and don’t make it easy to try multiple things.
- If there’s a long line for something, like Cappacasein, take another food item into that line with you to eat while you’re waiting. Multi-tasking at its best!
As you can see, eating at Borough Market is a challenge, though a really delicious one! You could go back many times and never eat the same thing twice. That’s the ultimate joy of visiting Borough Market. Do you have a favorite food you’ve had at Borough Market? Share with us in the comments!
If you like Borough Market, you’ll also love these other fun foodie things to do in London.
Where to Stay Near Borough Market
The part of London where Borough Market can be found also happens to be an awesome place to stay. It’s near just about everything a tourist wants to see in London. You can go anywhere from very luxury to budget in this area, and no matter what you choose, you’ll be within easy walking distance of all the sights, plus dozens of restaurants and bars.
You can click on any of these links to read reviews or book directly with the site of your choice:
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.