London's weather takes a lot of crap from other, lesser cities, but the reality is that it is actually safe to occasionally go outdoors without an umbrella. In fact, we actually have something of an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our outdoor markets. Here are the ones you should know about...
Soho Cutting through one of the former seedier streets in Soho, this long-standing market is a combination of street food (Banhmi11, Freebird Burritos, Savage Salads, Tongue ’n Cheek) and produce stalls frequented by many Soho restaurants. This market runs Monday-Friday, and though it’s had to jump around on Berwick a few times recently because of construction work, it’s always there. It also holds a pretty rad Record Store Day street party in April.
Camden Granted, delving into the maze of the market itself -- along with the food that always lives there -- might be a risky move. The Global Kitchen market on Camden Lock, on the other hand, is populated with tasty offerings from every cuisine imaginable. Fill your belly from the likes of Mama’s Jerk Station, Philly Boys, and Circus Bros, plus a whole assortment of pretty reliable sushi, crepes, Ethiopian, mac & cheese and more. The only real drawback: you have to fight the ever-present crowds of tourists.
Barbican One of the oldest street markets in London, it’s also one of the busiest, drawing in lunchtime crowds from Hoxton to Farringdon. Burritos, falafels, charcuterie, truckish wraps, pasta, soups, Indian... you get the idea. If you can’t find something to eat here, it’s because you can’t decide which smells the best.
Brixton Pretty much responsible for the Brixton transition from scruffy to cool, the market here has become pretty fantastic. With a stable roster of semi-permanent restaurants and bars (plus a few bakeries, flower stalls, etc.), it then has several weekly markets where even more places pop up in the surrounding streets with more food, drinks, music, and DJs.
Shoreditch Pump is in a converted petrol station (clever that) that has slowly been turned into a street food paradise where bites and booze are served from little huts housing a whole host of vendors like Hix's FishDog, Tacotitlan, Pizza Rossa, and more. With a full overhead cover, this is a great shout when the weather turns against us.
London Fields Started in 2011 by the crew over at Neil House, it has resident traders all week with everything from jewelry to brewing supplies to cycle repair, not to mention food stalls like Pizzas Don’t Cry, BAO, and Morty & Bob's. Come Saturdays; things get ramped up a notch with the influence from nearby Broadway Market, with more of everything you want, but probably don’t need.
Farringdon While the obvious leather dominates here, midday brings out the hungry workforce looking for sustenance in the form of tasty food. Its proximity to the city means it can get pretty cheek-&-jowl busy, but it’s worth elbowing your way to get Grill My Cheese, Yogiyo!, Food Gangnam Style, plus the now-brick-and-mortared Daddy Donky.
Borough This behemoth of a market requires the patience and self control of a saint. As the best-known market in London, it draws in all the tourists, plus regular weekly shoppers and hordes of lunchtime eaters. Granted, this also means the food is spectacular. Although open Thursday-Saturday, there’s only one day that the entire market is open. And thus when everyone attends. You guessed it: Saturday.
Bermondsey A strong contender to nearby giant Borough Market, this has become a little foodie hub of its own. With many food sellers housed in the Arches, there’s bread/beer/sausages right out of the oven/tank/grill, plus countless stalls that set up every Saturday. Have your mouth get involved with Waffle On, Hansen & Lydersen, Maltby & Greek, and of course the St. John Bakery (hello donuts).
London Fields Located between the canal and London Fields, this is a haven for Hackney-ites. With a good combination of food, produce, and artisanal crafts, it’s a nice Saturday morning stop. Not too big as to be overwhelming, and right by London fields, head here and get chow, grab coffee from Climpson & Sons, or a Bloody from Off Broadway, then spend the afternoon lying in the grass.
Southbank Hanging out in the shadow of the Southbank Centre, this market has a wide selection perfect for when hunger strikes while walking along the Thames. Horn OK Please, Creperie Nicolas, Hank’s Po' Boys, and many more set up shop Friday-Sunday.
Brick Lane A far cry from the curry cornucopia on Brick Lane proper, filled with questionable hygiene and dodgy deals, the food portion of the Sunday Upmarket is nothing to scoff at. Located half in/half behind the Old Truman Brewery, get your mouth/hands/face involved with the tasty bits from The Orange Buffalo, Mother Clucker, and The Rib Man.
Broadgate New kids on the block have big plans for world domination through street food, but luckily have started first at the newly developed Broadgate Circle. A combination of food trucks and stalls, you’ll find the tasty offerings of Wahsakaka, Sub Cult, Rupert’s Street, Pulled, and more.
Shoreditch This family-friendly lineup brings 15-20 purveyors of curbside eats together every Saturday from 5pm to midnight. Located right next to Pump Shoreditch, this can become a huge neighborhood party with Holy Toast, Tre Rote, Tigellae, plus many other rotating faves.
Brockley Although it's a bit of a mission for some to get to, this southeastern market is well worth the trek. Heavy pavement hitters like Luardos, Van Dough, and Spit & Roast sit comfortably amongst produce stalls every Saturday.
Various locations With Summer Tales ramping up just by Old St, get ready for a mini tropical paradise. Way more then just a gathering of food, the plan here is to combine delicious food, culture, nightlife, and “experimental” entertainment. As a result, you get food from top folks like Burger & Lobster, Pizza Pilgrims, Bonnie Gull, and Forza Win, plus boozy experiences from Background Bars.