Smithfield Market

Shopping , Markets and fairs Smithfield Market , Farringdon Monday December 12 2016 - Wednesday November 29 2017
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Smithfield Market
© Paula Glassman

Smithfield Market (also known as London Central Market) provides a colourful link to an age when the quality of British beef was a symbol of national virility and good humour. Designed by Horace Jones, Smithfield opened for business in 1868 and early risers will still find meat and poultry (though no livestock) traders setting up their stalls at first light inside the metal structure with its ornate arched ceiling and bizarre colour scheme (white, purple, blue and green). Nowadays Smithfield is also notable for its swanky eateries, odd neighbour, club Fabric.

Venue name: Smithfield Market
Address: Charterhouse St
EC1A 9PQ
Opening hours: 4am-12noon Mon-Fri
Transport: Tube: Farringdon/Barbican

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Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Smithfield market is the largest wholesale meat market in the UK and is located in between Farringdon and Barbican tube station (where it has been for the past 800 years).

All the action starts VERY early in the morning, around 4am, on weekdays however lorries start arriving at 10pm and some stalls are still open at around 7/8am. They mainly serve caterers, wholesalers, local restaurants in London however they do sell to the public so if you are able to visit early during the week to stock up on your meat shop for the week I can imagine it is an amazing experience.

If you are only in the area during reasonable hours, well I would still recommend a wander round the old Victorian buildings that house the market - they really are beautiful! And the modern 60's poultry market is apparently an architects paradise with a one a kind concrete shell roof. 

I recently visited on one of the monthly tours which take place on a Wednesday morning starting at 6.45. The tour guide is passionate and full of knowledge on the history of the industry, buildings etc.  You get to wander round a very quiet market as nearly everything is done for the day however there are some very friendly butchers still around that will regale you with stories from days gone by, show off their goods and sell you some their meat for a reasonable price!

If in the area try and visit in any way you can! It certainly is an experience.