Nick-named 'London's larder', Borough Market sits under the cover of a series of handsome Victorian wrought-iron sheds near Southwark Cathedral. It's a vast place, teeming with traders, food stalls, punters, produce and onlookers.
The market was officially established in 1756, although the first records of trade here actually date back to 1014 when it was a more moveable entity, usually held out on the street.
In recent years, it's gone from an obscure wholesale produce market to a rich assortment of stalls selling niche local and international ingredients, and serving hot dishes from around the world, bread baked in every way and an extraordinary number of cakes.
This private half-day tour takes you around the market in the company of an acclaimed chef and food writer whose knowledge and insight will help bring the market to life. You can arrange a morning or afternoon tour, the former starting in the Rabot coffee shop and the latter kicking off at an oyster and prosecco stall.
Your guide has been running tours here for the past ten years and as the only guide licensed to do so, her expert knowledge of the produce and her relationship with the traders is unparalleled. This, combined with her passion for food in general, makes this a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable experience.
Every tour is slightly different, although you’ll usually begin by discussing your tastes and interests, as well as the history of the market. You’ll spend the next three hours slowly meandering through the market’s lanes and alleyways, stopping to chat with various stall owners and sampling a huge variety of food and drink.
Expect such delicacies as local hand-dived scallops and naturally-reared steak, Iberico ham, homemade truffle ravioli, and ginger and wheatgrass shots. There are over 100 traders in the market so the variety of produce is vast, enabling you to base your route and visits around your personal likes and dislikes.
You’ll visit both the raw ingredients section and the hot food stalls area of the market, as well as exploring alleyways that even locals often miss. Along the way you'll be regaled with historic anecdotes, treated to an insider's view of the market and its traders, and get to meet some of the many local characters that give the market such a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The tour usually ends with a wine tasting and charcuterie plate.