When it comes to indoor markets in London, the Leadenhall Market is at the top of the list of must-visit locations in London. This beautiful area is popular year-round, from hiding from the winter cold to the perfect spot to grab a cold beer in the summertime.
The stunning interior makes for the perfect place for your Instagram photos, as it will leave you breathless.
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There is so much history around this market that you really need to delve deep into it. That’s why this London Leadenhall Market guide is here to give you the ins and outs of the market.
It will also give you any other information you may want to know, including its fascinating history.
Once you step foot in this beautiful market in London, you will understand right away why this is one of the most popular places to go.
It is unique in the sense that the ornately designed Victorian interior, with its cobblestone streets and skylights, covers the entire market.
It is centrally located in the City of London, making it a natural meeting point for after-work social gatherings and for having out-of-office meetings over lunch.
During the day, you will also catch loads of tourists looking for a place to rest and refuel while exploring the city.
It has become a hotspot for tourists because it is a filming location in the Harry Porter movie ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. And locals for its amazing restaurants being a favourite place to grab some dinner or meet for lunch.
The market is also home to an array of quaint and trendy stores, making it a lovely place to shop in London. There are still some spectacular local butchers and artisan food stores as well – it is a market after all.
Although the market itself is technically open 24/7 for visiting, the hours of the store and vendors within will differ greatly. So, make sure that you go in a timely manner to ensure you are able to visit the places you want to.
Leadenhall is one of the oldest markets in London, dating back to the 14th century. This iconic venue was once the centre of Roman London, where it stood as a small covered market.
Since then, it has gone through many transformations and reconstructions over the centuries. It was damaged and rebuilt after the Great Fire of London into the structure we see today.
It was originally only for fishmongers and butchers selling game meat. Interestingly, not much has changed with the focus on food still being a major thing about this market.
The lease for the market, as it is known today, was acquired by the Lord Mayor in 1408, where it was turned from a private space into a commercial space.
It was given to the City of London in 1411 and is still being looked after by them to this day. The market went under a redesign in 1881 by the famous architect, Horace Jones.
He added elements of glass and wrought iron instead of the more conventional stone both to the exterior and interior. What you see there today is the result of this redesign that hasn’t changed.
Thanks to its central location on Gracechurch Street, London it is actually very easy to get to Leadenhall Market. You can take the train or the underground with Monument Underground Station being the closest and only a few minute’s walk away.
Monument Station is linked to Bank Station so you can reach Leadenhall Market through the District, Circle, Central and Northern lines.
It is along various bus routes as well for anyone who wants to jump on a big red bus and make their way there.
Bus routes 48, 47, 40, 35 and 25 have the Leadenhall Market on its stops. All of these are within walking distance of the market and make it easy to reach from almost anywhere in London.
The market was a hub for selling fresh fish, meat and poultry and saw plenty of geese come through there to be sold. In an interesting turn of events, one goose managed to escape his fate by being so hard to catch.
The market workers gave up and he eventually became a resident of the market. His name was Old Tom and The Lamb Tavern was his favourite hangout spot but all the stall owners would feed him.
He became the market’s unofficial mascot and lived until he was 38 years old and is buried within the market. There are reminders of him around the market to this day. The most notable is a bar that is named after him, Old Tom’s Bar.
Although it has a clear Victorian design influence, this market had a very different look during the Roman period.
Within the Roman settlement of Londinium, the market held the Forum of Londinium and the Basilica.
It also held a civic administration centre and was a popular meeting place. The open-air square’s sides were lined with different stalls, maintaining the market within the area.
The Romans destroyed the market in 300 AD as punishment but only left officially over 200 years later.
Some of the remains were discovered during the remodelling of the market where a giant mosaic artwork was uncovered. You can find this mosaic in the British Museum today, with some of the Basilica arches being visible in the Nicholson and Griffin Barber Shop’s basement.
When it comes to food markets in London, Leadenhall is a favourite. The restaurants here take over the cobbled streets with tables aplenty and a wide variety of different cuisine to choose from.
There is something for every occasion, from award-winning pubs to fine dining and even family restaurants.
It is advised, though, to book a table in advance, especially during peak times as it gets jam-packed then, and walk-ins could have a long wait.
For a taste of Spain, this Rioja Bar is an amazing place to grab yourself some tapas and various speciality dishes.
The atmosphere is perfect for any business meeting but is even better to head to after a long day of exploring just to unwind and relax with some sangria in hand.
A firm favourite, Brokers is a popular hangout spot that sits above the crossroads within Leadenhall Street.
The indoor upstairs seating is a great way to partake in a little people watching and escape the hustle and bustle of the street below.
Brokers is home to the Lloyd’s Wine Society where they host wine tastings on a regular basis throughout the year, but only for those who are members.
Their menu is mainly traditional British cuisine and will pair well with one of the wines from their extensive wine list featuring a curated selection from around the world.
This is a pub that dates back to the late 1700s and is famous for its specially brewed, classic real ale. They have a range of traditional pub classics to go with their drinks and a restaurant that serves seasonal British cuisine.
This is a popular spot for city workers during the week to relax a little with tourists also loving the authentic pub experience in the heart of the City of London.
Leadenhall Market isn’t just full of restaurants. It is a market after all, so there are a number of different stores you can visit.
There are fashion boutiques as well as drinks sellers and food stores to grab some groceries and snacks from. Make sure that you have a handy tote bag with you to keep all your fresh groceries safe and sound while walking around and getting home.
For all your speciality drinks needs, Amathus City has you covered. This is an independent drinks retailer that has been around for over 40 years.
It has spent this time sourcing drinks from around the world and bringing them to the heart of London. This is the place to get yourself some unique spirits or wines to take home and pop open after a long day.
For anyone wanting to splurge a little, Beau Gems are retailers of high-end watches and jewellery.
They are Cartier watches’ official agents and stock various certified pre-owned diamonds and watches. If you happen to be in London and are looking for that special engagement ring, take a look inside here.
For some fun and quirky trinkets and items, this Danish design store has a ton of things to make you laugh and smile.
Almost everything they sell is about creativity and social interaction. This is a fun place to go with family and friends to find some games to play and small gifts to take home for anyone.
Although Leadenhall Market has been used in numerous films, it is probably most popular for being used in a particular franchise.
If you are a Harry Potter fan and take a stroll through the market, you might feel like it already looks familiar. That’s because this London shopping district was used as Diagon Alley.
It was used for various scenes throughout the film franchise, with the exterior being used in The Philosopher’s Stone.
If you take a walk to the Bull’s Head Passage in the market, you will notice a blue door that was used as the entrance for the Leaky Cauldron.
Make sure to bring your travel camera and explore a little to see if you can find all the different spots used within the films on a lovely walking tour.
Although Leadenhall Market is quite secluded, some of the top attractions in London, like the Sky Garden, are nearby.
All of these are within walking distance and will take you around 10 minutes or less to get to. Some of the most famous attractions include:
This is the castle that is home to the Crown Jewels and is famous for being both a royal palace and a prison.
It has stood for almost 1000 years where the Ceremony of Keys tradition still takes place. Believe it or not, it was also once home to a zoo.
The tower is also home to the Yeoman Warders, the famous soldiers seen as symbols of the Tower of London. They still protect the castle to this day after Henry VIII decreed that some must remain permanently to guard the tower.
It isn’t open to the public for general walking around, so a tour is the best and only way to experience the interior of this monument.
Another landmark of London, the Tower Bridge, spans the River Thames and is right next to the Tower of London.
There is a pedestrian crossing on the high level of the bridge which had a glass floor installed in 1982. If you have a fear of heights, then tread carefully.
This is one of those London attractions that you simply have to take a walk across while in the city. Especially during the Spring months when all the colours of London start to showcase, and the days get a little longer.
The Leadenhall Market is a lovely place to visit. It is different from any market in Shoreditch and also happens to be up there as maybe the oldest market in London.
The atmosphere is always fun and vibey with good times ahead. Whether you want to take a night out with your friends or partner or do your weekly grocery shop, this place has it all.
You’ll need to take multiple trips to fully take in everything that is offered but rest assured that every time you go, it will be a good time.