The Markets and Squares of North London

Expedia Cycling Contributor

The Markets and Squares of North London

7.09miles Smithfield Market to St. Bartholomew’s Norman Church

Tom Bogdanowicz

I’m a Londoner. With members of the invaluable and dedicated London Cycling Campaign, I wrote the definitive London Cycling Guide from which this route is taken.

The parkland, waterways and splendid architecture of the capital inspire me to ride in our wonderful city. The route includes several outstanding Victorian era squares, built in a variety of styles from Gothic to Italianate to Classical. The local markets featured range from crowded, multicultural Brick Lane to elegant stalls in Spitalfields. Broadway Market is only active on Saturdays. Otherwise, Sunday is the best day for most markets. markets.

Tom's Stops

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1. Smithfield’s Meat Market
225, Central Markets, London EC1A 9LH

This meat market stands on the site of a 13th-century cattle market. It’s the last major produce market left in central London and is open weekday mornings. By night, it becomes busy with queues for popular clubs and venues.

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2. Fox and Anchor Pub
115 Charterhouse St, London EC1M 6AA

The London Art Nouveau facade of the Fox and Anchor pub is made from tiles designed by WJ Neatby who also designed the food hall in Harrods department store. This pub, opened in 1898, serves hearty English breakfasts from 07:00.

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3. Spitalfields Covered Market
Horner Square, London E1 6EW

Drop off your bike at the stands on Lamb Street and visit Spitalfields covered market. Saved from demolition, this is now an elegant area for shopping and eating. Expect the covered market to be busy on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

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4. Brick Lane Market
91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QR

This market is packed with thronging crowds on Sundays and sells just about everything. Try the bagels from the 24-hour bakeries near Bethnal Green Road, where the annual Midsummer Night bike ride stops off. Security note - beware of bike thieves in the area.

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5. Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Road, London E2 7RG

Buy plants at knockdown prices in the East End’s most famous flower market, open Sundays from 08:00 to 14:00. As the day goes on, the prices keep dropping. To refuel, consider the Birdcage pub or the Laxeiro restaurant at either end of the street. Lock your bike on Ezra Street, and make sure it’s secure.

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6. Broadway Market
Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ (runs from London Fields park to the Regent’s Canal)

On the other side of Regent’s Canal, Broadway Market has gourmet food stalls and a bike-friendly bakery called Pavilion. Local cyclists also frequent The Dove pub.

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7. Chapel Market
77-78 Chapel Market, London N1 9EX

The locals of Islington have been taking advantage of Chapel Market’s fresh fruit and veg for decades. On the same street, you can sample traditional London jellied eels or pie and mash at Manze’s, and all-you-can-eat vegetarian restaurant Indian Veg.

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8. Exmouth Market
Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QL

Sitting opposite the Edwardian splendour of the ornate Finsbury Town Hall is Exmouth Market. Visit for the lunchtime food stalls, but you’ll also find restaurants and bookshops for the rest of the day.

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9. Norman Church of St Bartholomew’s Church
Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ

Finish your trip at one of London’s oldest churches. The stunning Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great dates back to 1123, and is tucked away behind a half-timbered gateway on West Smithfield, just south of the market where we started. The interior is well worth the entry price.