There is no shortage of weekend markets in London and tempting the taste buds at an open food market is, in my opinion, a perfect way to start a Saturday morning.
But with the Borough Market in Southwark, you don't need to wait until Saturday. If your schedule permits, the Market is ready to get your mouth watering on Thursday and Friday afternoons, as well. Some retailers in and around the Market are even open earlier in the week.
Being that I spent my days with some of London's best agencies, I did wait until Saturday to check it out. I boarded the Tube and rode it to London Bridge; another perk of a visit to Borough Market being that you can combine it with many other tourists attractions in the vicinity, from the London Bridge to the Tower Bridge, and everything in between.
Crossing over Southwark Street and to the left of the beautiful Southwark Cathedral, I dropped down into the madness under the Viaduct.
And make no mistake: the market is madness. But a beautiful mess of madness it is.
My first order of business was breakfast. I had to select a snack to prevent myself from purchasing everything I laid eyes on in a fit of early a.m. hunger. With endless selections of fresh produce, seafood and meats and soft buttery cheeses, I was bound to get in trouble. Around me vendors were doling out taste tests of piping hot, spicy paella and mulled wine and cider, and the smell of crispy fried fish 'n' chips wafted through the air, making my stomach growl.
But it was morning time, giving my brain a battle between a later day indulgence like paella, fish 'n' chips or a toasty duck sandwich, and something that was a little more typical for the time of day. Earlier in the week I had passed by a pastry store on Primrose Hill and the memory of the soft croissants denied taunted my memory. Borough presented my solution just a short distance into the Market with an almond chocolate croissant, decidedly my favorite kind from my young days studying in Paris.
Even being my favorite, it was no easy decision with brownies the size of bricks and other warm freshly baked delights in the mix.
As with most any food market, Borough would be a great place to get one's weekly produce and local, fresh goods. If were a resident and less a nomadic fast-moving target, I would have taken some of the goods home. Instead I indulged with my other senses, taking in the sights and smells, and when offered, accepting the occasional taste.
Borough Market has been around in some form or fashion since the 13th century, and has since grown into a fashionable and popular destination. It has also been featured in film and on TV to add to its notoriety. Thus the madness.
Various other markets around town were suggested to me by some of the ad industry professionals I spoke with throughout the week, but be it as it may, time only permitted a visit to Borough.
What is your favorite market in London? Or what is your favorite city to explore weekend food and treasures markets? Chime in here.