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Food & Drink

Top 10 UK food markets

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Feast your eyes on our top 10 tasty UK food markets. Visit these markets to try, taste and buy local goodies in some of Britain’s most beautiful and historic cities, towns and villages.

Borough Market, South London, England

Borough Market

This weekly market on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, is a favourite with hungry Londoners. You’ll find it under the railway arches between Southwark Cathedral and Borough High Street. A favourite of many a celebrity chef, Borough Market offers a mix of excellent foods from around 150 stalls including fish, game, artisan cheeses, rare-breed meats and ales. Slurp down a fresh oyster with an organic beer and enjoy the buzz.

Don’t miss: exploring peaceful Southwark Cathedral, found just north of the market. As the parish church closest to the Globe Theatre it has a strong links with dramatists. Shakespeare’s brother is buried here and there’s a monument to the bard above which you’ll see stained-glass windows depicting some of his characters.

Orton Farmers’ Market, Cumbria, England

The small village of Orton in Cumbria hosts a farmers’ market on the second Saturday of each month. Around 40 local producers, growers and farmers sell everything from trout pate to home-brewed cider. You’ll be assured of great quality as all produce must be from within 50 miles of the market and all the food on offer must have been grown, raised, caught or processed by the producer.

Don’t miss: Kennedys chocolate shop, an award-winning artisan chocolate producer in the village.

Shipbourne Farmers’ Market, Kent, England

Taking place every Thursday morning, Shipbourne market hosts around 20 stalls in the charming setting of St Giles’ Church. Shipbourne first won the right to stage a market back in 1285 and locals reasserted this privilege in 2003. Since then the market has become a real focus of the community and sells local food including tangy chutneys and Kentish apple juice.

Don’t miss: trying Shipbourne’s own currency. Use your credit or debit card to buy Shipbourne farmers’ market pounds at the pub then spend them in the market.

Broadway Market, East London, England

Broadway Market © Yukino Miyazawa

East London’s coolest market sees trendy locals and curious visitors descend on this single street each Saturday when it’s packed with stalls selling everything from locally baked bread to artisan scotch eggs and Vietnamese coffee. There’s also vintage fashion, flowers, jewellery and records.

Don’t miss: a drink in The Dove pub – a cosy wood-panelled hangout with a great selection of Belgian beers.

Winchester Farmers’ Market, England

Taking place on the second and last Sundays of the month, in the shadow of Winchester’s magnificent cathedral, this is the biggest farmers’ market in the UK. You’re assured of top quality local produce as everything sold here must come from within Hampshire or from within 10 miles of the border. Look out for water buffalo meat, Hampshire honey and peppery local watercress.

Don’t miss: your chance to have a peek inside Winchester Cathedral. It’s got 15 centuries of history and an Antony Gormley statue in the crypt.

Moseley Farmers’ Market, Birmingham, England

The BBC’s food magazine, Olive, recently listed Birmingham as the UK’s foodiest town. Their decision is in no small part to do with Moseley Farmers’ Market, the monthly market that sees this Brummie suburb ring to the calls of vendors selling produce from all over the Midlands.

Don’t miss: trying a balti, the Indian dish made famous by the city. After doing a spot of shopping at the market, why not sample some of Birmingham’s other culinary highlights? The city is known as having some of the best curry restaurants in Britain.

Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, Scotland

Edinburgh's farmers' market

You couldn’t ask for a better backdrop to such delicious food. Taking place every Saturday on Castle Terrace under Edinburgh’s ancient fortress, Edinburgh Farmers’ Market hosts 55 specialist producers. You’ll find rich Scottish venison, organic mushrooms from the Highlands, handmade pies and more.

Don’t miss: a fresh take on an old Scottish favourite at Stoats Porridge Bar. Porridge is a great warming snack on a cold Scottish morning.

Kirkwall Farmers’ Market, Orkney, Scotland

Set in front of the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall Farmers’ Market takes place on the last Saturday of every month. You’ll find organic vegetables, herbs, local fish and beef as well as locally made arts and crafts and Highland Park Whisky.

Don’t miss: sampling the local real ale known, ominously, as Skull Splitter.

Swansea Market, Wales

Swansea Market

Wales’s most famous market is renowned for selling Welsh laverbread (seaweed boiled into a tangy paste), cockles from Penclawdd, Welsh cakes from the griddle and meat and vegetables from the Gower and Pembrokeshire. It’s the largest, and possibly the friendliest, indoor market in the country and is open from Monday to Saturday every week.

Don’t miss: trying laverbread. It doesn’t look that tasty (it’s a slimy black paste) but this snack made from seaweed is a true taste of the sea. High in iron and other minerals, it’s great fried up with bacon for breakfast.

St George’s Market, Belfast, Northern Ireland

St George's Market © comawe

This beautiful Victorian market was completely refurbished in 1997 and is now a must-do in Belfast. Saturday’s food and garden market sees local delights like organic veg, beef from Armagh, fish landed at Portavogie and award-winning Irish farmhouse cheeses. There are also colourful blooms in the flower market, live music and world foods from Mexican snacks to Italian olive oil.

Don’t miss: the 23 fish stalls that have a reputation as having the best seafood selection in Ireland.

Broadway Market image © Yukino Miyazawa, St George’s Market © comawe

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