If you love shopping, London is an ideal destination. And, whether you are looking for fashion, antiques, crafts or delicious food, you’ll have a wide range of options to choose from, including high-end boutiques, vast shopping centres and markets.
The British capital has a number of well-known markets. But, if you’re looking for local atmosphere and the best bargains, then it’s the smaller markets that you should consider visiting. As well as featuring plenty of fabulous vendors, these smaller markets also tend to be less crowded than their famous counterparts.
Maltby Street Market, for example, is a small but busy market that offers fresh produce like breads, cakes, meats and cheeses. Located in Bermondsey, only a short walk from the iconic Tower Bridge, this market also offers hot food, so it’s a great place to go for lunch – or you can grab a tasty snack while you peruse the products on offer.
Maltby Street Market is fairly young compared to many of the London markets. It has mostly developed since the summer of 2010. It’s located under the railway arches between Maltby Street and Millstream Road. Even more recently, the Ropewalk portion of the market has grown, offering a combination of stalls, under-arch shops, pop-up bars and eateries.
Visitors to Maltby Street Market can find a variety of gastronomical delights, including seafood and grilled meat, honeys, oils, preserves, sandwiches, soup, pastries, cakes, tapas and even a ham carvery.
The market is open from 9am to 4pm on Saturdays and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.
Being located south of the river, Maltby Street Market can be a little difficult to get to, primarily due to the lack of underground stations in the area.
The closest Tube station – and train station – is London Bridge, and it’s about a 15- to 20-minute walk. Bermondsey is a similar distance away – both stations are on the Jubilee Line, and London Bridge is also on the Bank branch of the Northern Line.
Despite the distance if you normally travel by Tube, it’s well worth the journey – just think of the extra walking as a chance to burn off a few calories and work up an appetite before you get there.
If you don’t feel like a stroll to Maltby Street, you could also opt for a bus. The closest bus stop is Tanner Street – it’s served by the 47, 381, N199 and N381 buses, which all run between London Bridge and Bermondsey stations.
Another option is to drive. There’s a lot of on-street parking in the area, but the spaces can also be in great demand, depending on the time and day, so you might have to drive around for a little while before you find a space. Be sure to check the signs to ensure the parking space you choose is not limited to permit holders – you may have to pay and display.
Once you’ve had a taste of the London market scene, you’ll be hooked – luckily, there are plenty of other fabulous markets for you to visit in the capital.
- Borough Market – A favourite among foodies, Borough Market is near London Bridge Station and is full of culinary delights ranging from breads, sweets and pastries to meat, cheese, coffee and tea. There’s also loads of street food for you to try, whether you just want a snack or are ready for lunch.
- Brick Lane – Another market known for its food scene, Brick Lane also has stalls selling clothing, bric-a-brac, handmade goods and vintage items.
- Greenwich Market – Situated right in the heart of Maritime Greenwich, this market offers a variety of beautiful products from designer-makers like jewellery, clothing, toys, handmade soaps and other unique gifts. There’s also a great selection of street food vendors.
- Portobello Road – This famous street market has been around since the 1800s and became famous for its antiques in the 1950s. However, visitors to this bustling market will find a little bit of everything and there are usually street performers out, adding to the atmosphere.
- Camden Lock Market – Situated around the picturesque Camden Lock, this market boasts more than 100 shops and stalls that sell goods ranging from clothing and accessories to food, art and homeware. The area is also home to workshops, studios, cafes, restaurants and bars – and you could even hop aboard a boat to take a ride along Regent’s Canal, which connects the Grand Union Canal to the Limehouse Basin and the River Thames.
Once you’ve finished exploring Maltby Street Market, why not take some time to explore the local area? After all, there’s plenty to see and do in the region.
- Fashion and Textile Museum – Founded by British designer Zandra Rhodes, this museum is a cutting-edge centre for contemporary fashion, textiles and jewellery. Its programme of changing exhibitions explores a variety of elements in fashion and also offers courses for creative students and businesses.
- Tower Bridge – One of London’s most iconic landmarks, this bridge over the River Thames was built 120 years ago. It features giant moveable roadways that lift up for passing ships and is a feat of engineering and architecture. Visitors can enjoy a stroll across the bridge, or take in the views from either side of the river. Alternatively, head to the Tower Bridge Exhibition for a behind-the-scenes look at how the bridge was built and operates – you can also climb to the top of the bridge to enjoy panoramic views and cross the glass walkway.
- HMS Belfast – Only a short distance up the river from Tower Bridge is the HMS Belfast. This historic warship was active from the second world war to 1963 and now acts as a floating museum to show what life was like on board such a vessel during war time and while at sea.
If you’re looking for something to eat around Maltby Street Market, the food stalls are a great place to start, as these offer a fantastic selection of flavours and a high level of quality too. However, if you’d prefer to sit down for a proper meal in a restaurant, you won’t be disappointed at the options available.
- Bar Tozino – Situated under the railway arches, this authentic Spanish restaurant specialises in Spanish ham, and offers a number of other delicious options.
- Tentazioni – Located in a former wharf warehouse in Bermondsey, this is a fine dining Italian restaurant that offers a variety of regional seasonal dishes.
Not far from Maltby Street Market, the London Bridge area offers plenty of options when it comes to leisure and relaxation. For example, there’s the Roxy Bar and Screen. This combination cinema and cocktail bar shows digital screenings of cult movies and serves up a delicious range of comfort foods.
Or if you’re in need of some pampering, there’s the Stress Exchange. This salon offers a number of spa treatments, as well as hair and beauty services.
Bars, pubs and nightlife
No matter where you are in London, you’re never far from a good pub and something fun to do after the sun goes down – so whether you’re looking for a tasty tipple or somewhere to dance the night away, you’ll find something within a short distance of Maltby Street.
- Little Bird Gin – This is a small gin bar that serves a variety of gin cocktails, as well as food. It’s located under the railway arches by the market and there’s seating available both indoors and outdoors, so you can enjoy dining al fresco during good weather.
- The George Inn – Situated on Borough High Street, this is a 17th-century coaching inn and pub. It still features authentic oak beams and a large courtyard seating area, perfect for enjoying a pint in the sunshine. This pub is a favourite of both locals and tourists and also serves up a tasty food menu.
- La Pollera Colora – This is a Latin nightclub that offers DJ-hosted salsa, merengue and bachata nights.