The other week I was shown round Shepherds Markets in Victoria. London is a city known for its traditional markets, the most famous being Covent Garden flower market and Smithfield meat market. In the last few years Shepherds Markets has joined the list, a small family run business, established in 2005, it offers good quality food stalls in several pop up locations throughout central London.
Fins and Trotters
The Victoria market takes place every Thursday and is worth checking out if you are in the area at lunchtime as it offers a selection of tasty hot and cold food. The Streetisans, as they are known, have a wide selection of good quality hot food.
Fins and Trotters sells traditional fish and chips, this popular stall is considered to offer one of the best fish and chips in London and were the winners of the London Lifestyle award 2013 for London Street Food Vendor of the year.
My favourite things about the market was the sheer diversity of food available, showcasing world cuisine with many stalls serving dishes based on family recipes and traditional methods that have been handed down through the generations.
The very cutely named ChikP sells authentic falafel wraps accompanied with delicious fresh salad, inspired from their grandmother's cooking.
I was delighted to see a twist on Scottish cooking, as my mum was from Scotland, with Denney’s offering haggis toasties including a Lady Macbeth made with vegetarian haggis. I hope that the range can be expanded to include stovies!
The Seriously Italian Company do homemade pesto and Italian pasta dishes with an British slant, as they are made from English heritage grain.
The other stalls are Fab Thai Cuisine which do what they say in the name, La Ferme who after holidaying in France were inspired to make their own tartiflette and beef bourguignon as well as selling French produce-cheeses and charcuterie, Waffy Duck, serving traditional French duck confit and Villagegujjus who made traditional vegetarian Indian food from the Gujarat region.
The Starisan traders are new, start up businesses that specialise in cold foods which are the perfect treat to buy and enjoy later at work or at home.
Starting off the cold food section is Cakehole/ Lucky Doughnut all I can say is OMG, these doughnuts are utterly amazing! I have it on good authority that they sell out fast.
The Avocado Cafe
The Avocado Cafe sell a range of avocado based dips and I can personally recommend there avocado salad box which is as tasty as it is colourful. Louise Maddy who runs The Avocado Cafe recently won Outstanding Trader of the Year award as a First Pitch Finalist from the National Market Traders Federation.
Simply Hand Made
Simply Hand Made sell exquisite handmade chocolates and macaroons which almost look too nice to eat and are beautifully presented.
Hush Hush Chefs
Hush Hush Chefs specialise in filo pastry dishes including colourful quiches and pies.
Comptoir Gourmand is a traditional patisserie. The cakes look like a piece of art they absolutely stunning and taste amazing.
Also on the day I visited were Iberian Deli who sell imported Spanish produce, Timmys Pies whose ignoramus pies are a meal in themselves and Bee Happier who sell raw (unpasteurised) honey from North East Spain.
Matt Cooper Photography
Last but by no means least there are also a Craftisan section, craft traders selling a variety of gifts. When I visited I saw Matt Cooper Photography with an enchanting collection of London themed photos from beautifully captured world famous and some more locally known London landmarks.
The Victoria Market takes place every Thursday in Cardinal Place, the shopping centre on Victoria Street opposite Westminster Cathedral, and a couple of minutes walk from Victoria Station.
If you are planning to visit Buckingham Palace, the Queen's Gallery or the Royal Mews I'd suggest to try to go on a Thursday so it coincides with the market being open, as they are all only a five minute walk from Cardinal Place shopping centre. Exit via Cathderal Walk, passing Marks and Spencers on your right. Continue until you get to The Phoenix pub which will be on your left, look out for the cows on their roof, and then turn left into Palace Street. At the end of the road the Royal Mews is directly in front of you. Cross the road and turn left for the visitors' entrance to the Mews or turn right for the Queen's Gallery and Buckingham Palace.
Shepherds Markets also offer several other regular markets. Check their website for the complete list but here are a couple of my other favourites.
2nd Wednesday of each month there’s a market which is organised in conjunction with Baker Street Quarter Partnership which is held in the summer months in Portman Square, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street. It’s a fabulous location as these beautiful but usually private squares garden are rarely open to the public. In the winter months it is held at 55 Baker Street in a sheltered atrium, a location I am very familiar with as it’s also the meeting point for the free lunchtime guided walks which I am involved in delivering.
Every Friday and Saturday plus 1st Wednesday of each month at One New Change, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral. This shopping centre is in a great location and features in many of my guided walks as it has a wonderful roof terrace with fantastic views over London and free public toilets and it’s always great to visit when the market is on.
The author of this blog is a qualified City of London and City of Westminster Tour Guide who leads guided walks combining world famous landmarks with hidden treasures often missed by the crowds