London’s Best Family Street Food and Markets
Between the time difference, the food culture, and the new flavors, it might be hard to sit down to a family meal all at once in the middle of a busy day out in London. Instead, take a break from your sightseeing for some simple food and lots of options that your kids can get behind at a traditional food market. They’re friendlier than grocery stores, but have a huge range of options, places to sit, and often, live music. Best of all, they’re all very conveniently located right next to tube stations.
Step outside the station and you’ll find the sprawling glass walls of the Borough Market enclosing the greenhouse-like space and filling it with old-timey charm. Small tables, chairs, and log stumps are strewn around the area for casual sit-downs once you’re finished shopping.
Browse through the fresh meats, cheeses, and veggies for something simple and unadorned. You’ll find bread and baked goods here too, as well as the upscale coffee roastery, Monmouth across the street, in case you need a parental pick-me-up.
Grab a quiche, salad, or sandwich at one of the market’s cafes, taste your way through Europe with Spanish tapas, Balkan flavors, Mediterranean bites and German meats, or simply go the English way with some fish and chips or a kabob.
Nearby sightseeing: London Bridge, Tower of London, London Dungeon
Covent Garden Market
The two-story arcade that is Covent Garden proper is just the beginning of the all-styles food and drinking corridor here. The market offers produce staples as well as upscale desserts and candy; a range of boulangeries, chippies, and hand pie kiosks offer food-to-go options; and a variety of sit-down restaurants from which you can hear classical musicians playing on the piazza.
There are places to sit down, but you should scope out a place for the family to gather beforehand, since this market can get quite busy.
Nearby sightseeing: London Transport Museum, Royal Opera House
Make your way to the southeast banks of the Thames to see where time began and step back in time to 1737, when the Greenwich Market began. Wander the historical heritage zone and visit the Cutty Sark, one of the last clipper ships built to deliver foreign goods to the banks of London.
The covered market sells the wares of so many vendors and collectors; they must trade-off with each other every other day. Surrounding the market are brick-and-mortar establishments where you can sit down to watch the haggling from a distance. Take your kids on a world tour with an eclectic feast of international cuisine all around the market and the historic area.
Nearby sightseeing: National Maritime Museum, Cutty Sark, Royal Observatory Greenwich
Notting Hill & Portobello Market
You may remember it as a Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie; your kids will just see Portobello Market as a mouthwatering collection of delicious fresh foods in a very hip corner of London. This pop-up market takes place on Saturdays from 9am until 1pm and its convenient location next to one of London’s largest parks makes it a great place to stock up on picnic supplies to take across the meadow to Hyde Park.
Make sure to try the cheesemongers from Hurdlebrook dairy, the most recent winner of the “favorite vendor” award.
Nearby sightseeing: Hyde Park, Kensington Palace and Gardens, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall
Southbank Centre Market
Take a break from the music and culture of the Southbank Centre or the dizzying heights of the London Eye when you visit the Southbank Centre Market on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Kids will love the hand-held British and Mediterranean street food and special guests lined up on each weekend.
Outdoor seating at cafe tables and along the banks of the Thames makes this a great spot to get out and enjoy the festivities. Head up to the Queen Elizabeth Hall Rooftop Garden for a peaceful picnic.
Nearby sightseeing: Southbank Centre, British Film Institute Southbank, London Eye, London Aquarium
Old Spitalfields Market
Admit it. You’re a hipster parent that likes to branch out a little further in your clothing and dining options. And while you’re at it, you like to make the kids branch out too.
Old Spitalfields Market in up-and-coming Whitechapel (walk north along Commercial Road when you get off the tube) is the place to find chic, trend-setting fashion, as well as a variety of food options the whole family can get behind. American-style burger joints and diners are en vogue, and British hand pies and fish and chips are never in short supply. These are all sit-down joints within the market complex.
Cross the high street to find Brick Lane, the densely-packed Bangladeshi street lined with spicy Bengali restaurants serving family-style ethnic food at affordable, non-chic prices. These restaurants are great at catering to families and large groups if your kids are willing to try something new. Sundays find Brick Lane converted into an outdoor street market with not just food, but also colorful eastern clothes and goods.
Perhaps surprisingly, you’ll also find the most authentic New York Jewish delis in London squaring off against each other on Brick Lane. Currently, Beigel Bake at 159 Brick Lane is the reigning champ.
Nearby sightseeing: Jack the Ripper Tour, Dennis Severs’ House, Old Truman Brewery
What London markets are you planning on hitting up during your trip? Share with us in the comments below!
Borough Market Cover, Borough Market Baker, Covent Garden Tables by pcruciatti/Shutterstock. Notting Hil Carnival Food Stall by Kamira/Shutterstock. Old Spitalfields Market by Kiev.Victor/Shutterstock.Tags : travel london england