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The sun is (just about) still shining on London town and the city is at its finest, so hit the streets and indulge in some affordable grub at London’s best outdoor food markets before the rain returns!
While Borough Market and the South Bank Centre’s Real Food Market are worthy staples on most visitor’s list of attractions, here are some cheaper options that will make your money go that little bit further:
An excellent value lunch choice if you’re exploring Soho during the week. Join the hoards of office workers fueling up on generously sized falafel boxes, steaming Vietnamese Pho, tasty pizzas and other takeaway delights. The market itself is actually one of the oldest in London, dating back to the 1770′s, but the fare on sale today is more “lunch on the go” than your traditional fruit and veg.
Head to nearby Soho Square or the newly refurbished Leicester Square to bask in the sunshine while you tuck in.
Lower Marsh Market
Another popular choice with local workers and the perfect pit stop if you’re near Waterloo or the South Bank and want to avoid the more expensive food options. Lower Marsh Market is open from around midday to 3 p.m. and serves up a large range of really affordable food. Think pad Thai, curries, wraps and cakes, all for just a few quid each.
Once you’ve made your choice, Waterloo Millennium Green at the end of the street is a convenient place to sit and eat – or head to the South Bank and eat overlooking the River Thames, feeling very smug that you got such a good bargain!
A fashionable way to spend a Saturday in London, Broadway Market has a lively atmosphere and is more of a destination in itself than a quick lunch stop. So give yourself a bit of time to peruse the quirky range of stalls before choosing what to eat. The cupcakes and the traditional British pies should come high on your agenda.
Brixton Village Market
Ok, so strictly speaking most of this is under cover, but the joy of it is that you can sit outside a restaurant under the old market arches all year round and it does kind of feel like you’re sitting outside. This is an ideal place to spend an evening eating, drinking and being merry—all on a budget.
Brixton Village and Market Row arcades were both run down and under threat of demolition when local businesses won the right to transform them into a bustling foodie hub. The choice of food is immense—from hearty Caribbean and South American fare, to delicate Thai and Japanese street food, humungous pulled pork burgers and sourdough pizzas so popular the queue goes round the corner.
Many of the restaurants also have a bring your own booze policy too, which keeps things nice and cheap. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are the liveliest.
Food trucks are gaining in popularity in the UK and this summer sees Truck Stop parking up in East London. Over 20 food trucks have come together to offer a massive choice of tasty eats, from southern comfort food, fried chicken and The Breakfast Club’s indulgent all-day breakfasts, to meals you are less likely to find at a food truck—good old fish and chips, Japanese gyoza and Lebanese flatbreads.
The Truck Stop is hitting Wood Wharf near Canary Wharf the first Thursday and Friday of every month this summer, with the next events on August 1st and 2nd and September 5th and 6th from 5-11 p.m. Tickets cost £10 and can be exchanged for 10 “Truck Stop Dollars” to spend on beers or cocktails. Bargain!
More markets in mind?
Let us know about your favorite outdoor markets in London using the comment box below—we’re always on the lookout for Cheapo spots to shop! Or, if you have any questions, ask away! And don’t forget to check out our picks for the best budget hotels in London for a spot to stay. If you’re lucky, you might find a place next to your favorite market!