Let’s be real, people come to Billingsgate Market for one reason, and it’s to buy fish. This centuries-old market used to be situated in the heart of the City, but since the ‘80s it has occupied a massive 13-acre hangar further east in Docklands. Billingsgate Market has a couple of cafés serving hot drinks, snacks and meals, but the real draw is the trading floor containing 98 stands and 30 shops. A whopping 25,000 tonnes of seafood products are sold through these fish merchants each year.
If you fancy snapping up some super-fresh sea bream or world-class lobster, it’s very much a case of the early bird catches the fish. Billingsgate is open 4am-8am Tuesday through Saturday, then shuts up shop Sunday and Monday. Most of the merchants don’t mind selling small amounts of produce to one-off customers, but trying to haggle is a brave move because they operate at a relatively small mark-up anyway.
Getting to Billingsgate Market is simple. Blackwall and Poplar are the nearest DLR stations, and Canary Wharf the nearest tube, but you’ll probably need to book an Uber if you want to arrive right at the start of trading. Pulling an all-nighter before coming here is an idea we couldn’t possibly condone.
Top Tip: Wear sturdy, non-slip footwear because the trading floor can get pretty soggy. Nick Levine
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