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London’s 5 Best Outdoor Street Food Markets – And 1 To Avoid

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6 days ago

If it’s one thing London is known for, it’s the sheer number of food stalls, markets and outdoor street food markets that pop up all around the city. They’re not all made equal though, so you need to know where to go to find the best outdoor street food in London this summer.

Because there are so many amazing food streets in London, you’ll find lots of innovative cuisine that you can’t find elsewhere. You’ll often get to try incredibly interesting new flavors if you know which ones to go to.

This article isn’t about London’s well-known food markets and food halls like Borough Market or Spitalfields Market. They’re a whole other beast. This is just about the street food that pops up around the city and is outdoors. 

We’ve taken the guesswork out for you and rounded up the best of the best. 

1. Broadway Market

Broadway Market’s weekend food market should be at the top of every visitor to London’s food journey. There’s a huge selection here and a beautiful park just nearby to sit and enjoy it in the sun (weather permitting, of course). 

You can really find everything here but some of the more special foods to try at Broadway Market are the plantain from Ghanaian food stall, the vegan chocolate hazelnut churros at Broadway Churros, and the kimchi onigiri from the Japanese/Korean fusion food stall (onigiri is a filled rice triangle with nori around it – so satisfying). 

Market Food in London Chicken Sote

Broadway Market has become quite trendy and somewhat upmarket over the years.

Brands like Aesop and Haeckels opening stores here. It’s certainly added to the vibe of the market and goes beyond Broadway Market’s offering of the best outdoor street food in London.

Make sure you walk by Cubitts to see the old shop sign for F. Cooke’s very English jellied eel. The shop is beautifully designed. You can still get jellied eel in London, but not here unfortunately!

Broadway Market also has lots of beautiful shops and restaurants so if you’re looking for some craft shopping or a sit down meal, you’ll find it here. And wrap around the corner for Netil Market for even more exciting street food.

I really do think Broadway Market has the best of London’s outdoor street food offering. Make sure to get a sample of the churros with the vegan dulce de leche!

When to visit Broadway Market

Broadway Market’s street food stalls are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm. It is usually busiest at about 2 pm on Sundays when most of the crowd from Columbia Road Flower Market have walked over. 

How to get to Broadway Market

It’s sandwiched between Cambridge Heath (walk north to Andrews Road and turn left) and London Fields (walk through the park) overground stations. In truth, the easiest way is to get a taxi to the corner of Whiston Road and Pritchard’s Road. Then cross the pedestrian-only Cat & Mutton Bridge to enter the market. 

2. Maltby Street Market

This one is becoming more popular with visitors to London not only because of the great food options but also because it is located between the railway arches and the warehouses. It’s a wonderful setting. 

If you’ve read our other insights, then you’ll know we love toasties. So we’re going to recommend the toastie from Moon Cheese Toastie. The crispy bread on the griddle is just so satisfying. But they’re only there on Saturdays and Sundays.

Also, La Criolla Empanadas makes a mean empanada. As good as anything you will find in Argentina, La Criolla Empanadas has cemented its place as an institution for locals and tourists looking for the best outdoor street food in London.

Local tip: Maltby Street Market is open on the weekends, but not all vendors come out on Sundays.

Maltby Street Market in London with flags of different countries
Malty Street Market has become quite a scene (Source: Maltby Street Market)

When to visit Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market is open on Fridays from 6 pm to 9 pm as well as 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 11 am to 4 pm on Sundays. 

How to get to Maltby Street Market

This is sandwiched between London Bridge and Bermondsey stations but the easiest is London Bridge. Take the St Thomas Street exit and follow the road. 

3. Brick Lane Sunday Market

This is probably one of the most well-known food markets in all of London. It’s garnered its reputation as some of the best street food in London because of the buzz (but also because of the options). 

One of our favorites here is the Grilled Cheese stand for its haggis grilled cheese toastie. This is a super unique flavor that I don’t you’ll be able to find outside of the UK. It’s also one of the best grilled cheese toasties in London.

The honest truth is that the food stalls in Upmarket on the corner of Hanbury Street and Brick Lane are better than the street food on Brick Lane. And the Upmarket food hall is open on Saturdays and Sundays. 

When to visit Brick Lane Sunday Market

You guessed it: the Brick Lane Sunday Market is only on Sundays. Go earlier (around 11:30 am) if you want to avoid the crowds. Go later if you want to feel the real hustle and bustle of the neighbourhood. We’ve written a full guide to Brick Lane’s markets.

How to get to Brick Lane’s Sunday Markets

Get off at Shoreditch High Street Station and follow the signs to Brick Lane. It’s about a two-minute walk. 

4. Whitecross Street Food Market

This one is smaller than the others but has some interesting options that we haven’t found anywhere else. Whitecross Street generally has some pretty unique food options to get you going. 

The must-try food at Whitecross Street is the flatbread sandwich made out of tapioca from Beijummy. I used to get this all the time when I worked in the area. Instead of normal bread, they use tapioca to create a squishy layer that they fill with anything of your choosing from sun-dried tomatoes to chicken to vegan cheese. 

We should say that Whitecross Street Food Market caters to the lunchtime crowd rather than tourists so it opens just for lunchtime on the weekdays. And it will be mostly workers from the surrounding offices. 

When to visit Whitecross Street Market

Whitecross Street Market is open between 11:30 am and 3 pm, though stalls often start closing up at around 2:30 pm. 

How to get to Whitecross Street Food Market

The closest tube station is Old Street.  

5. Cowcross Yards

Billed as Farringdon’s best-kept secret, Cowcross Yards is known for serving up delicious meals to the Wednesday and Thursday afternoon lunch crowd. The market is operated by KERB which is responsible for some of London’s best fixed markets and food halls include Seven Dials Market in Covent Garden, so you know you’re in safe hands if you’re looking for the best outdoor street food in London.

The area that the market is located in is also famous for its cow murals. There’s quite a few murals of cows in interesting poses.

What makes Cowcross Yards so special is that the KERB team is very supportive of innovative food and cooking, so you’ll find dishes here that you won’t find elsewhere. We particularly loved the Tajik and Uzbek cuisine at Samarkand Palav.

The lamb palav is just one of many dishes to try. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, try the Persian food at Deeg for some interesting flavors (think saffron-infused rice and walnut stew).

When to visit Cowcross Yards

Cowcross Yards serves the lunchtime crowd in the area immediately around Farringdon station, so it is currently only open between 11:00 am and 2:30 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

How to get to Cowcross Yards

This is by far the easiest to get to by public transport. It’s just a one-minute walk from Farringdon station (which is connected to the Elizabeth line). Walk out, turn to your right (toward The Castle) and continue up the road until you get to the first junction. Turn left and you’ll see Cowcross Yards right in front of you.

And the one to avoid…

Like Brick Lane’s Sunday Markets, the Southbank Centre Food Market has garnered its reputation mostly because of buzz. There are some fine options here, but it isn’t the most innovative of the lot – and you can find everything here in other places (and in nicer settings). 

The standout stall at the Southbank Food Market is Crepes a la Carte for their excellent range of sweet crepes. There’s not a huge amount more here. 

When to visit Southbank Centre Food Market

The Southbank Centre Food Market is open from midday to 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and to 6 pm on Sundays. A lot of stalls start closing up by 7 pm so if you’re planning to go for dinner then go early. 

How to get to Southbank Centre Food Market

It’s very close to Waterloo station but beware, it’s a bit of a maze to get to. There will be signs but be prepared to walk across a lot of big roads and also for a lot of steps. 

London is a melting pot of cultures and food so you’ll find something for everyone at these food markets. And make sure you’re always prepared for rain, hail or shine given London’s notoriously unpredictable weather.

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