Borough Market: Can You Visit on a Budget?
The UK foodie paradise of Borough Market is just a short walk from London Bridge on the South Bank. Popular with locals and tourists alike, it has a well-earned reputation for the wide range of quality foods stocked by the different stallholders. You can easily spend hours here wandering from stall to stall, taking in the atmosphere and visiting the excellent surrounding cafes, pubs and restaurants. The only drawback is that you can also end up spending a lot more money than you thought you were going to. How can you enjoy a day at a place like Borough Market if you're travelling on a shoestring or feeling the pinch in the run-up to payday? I'll happily agree that some things are worth spending the extra on, whether that's Freedom Foods, Fairtrade goods, or good old expertise and panache. For example, the organic small-estate and cooperative coffees from the Monmouth Coffee Co cost about the same as drinks from the big chains, but to me they represent better value and I think they taste better too. If you go around all the stalls and shops, chances are you'll be offered enough free tasters to make up a substantial mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack if you time your visit right, although it's best not to be too cheeky. If the weather's good you can buy yourself a delicious take-away snack or picnic ingredients to eat in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral or Tate Modern, rather than going for a full-price sit-down meal somewhere. A perfect way to end the day is to head to the Old Vic or Shakespeare's Globe for a spot of theatre, both are great venues too. When it comes to shopping, I have two favourite stalls for bargains. The first is fruit and veg merchants Elsey & Bent, who are a little less chi-chi than some of the other greengrocers at Borough and consequently have lower prices. They also stock plenty of seasonal foods, which tend to become cheaper when large amounts hit the markets. On a similar note, the £1-table at the Pays D'Auge Fromages stall is a don't-miss part of the market. They sell off ripe French cheeses that are still perfectly good for eating, and many foodies would say that's when they're are at their best. Happy eating! Borough Market opening hours: Thursdays: 11am - 5pm, Fridays: 12 noon - 6pm, Saturdays: 8am - 5pm. www.boroughmarket.org.uk