London is home to an abundance of unique shopping experiences. From the grandeur of Harrods to the designer shops of Knights bridge to East End traders buzzing around Borough Market, you are not stuck for a place to shop in the capital.
If you want a truly different experience when indulging in a bit of retail therapy then there is no better place than Leadenhall Market. Sat in the historic centre of the City of London, the market can trace its history back to the 14th century and is covered by an elegant and magnificent Victorian roof.
When it first opened its doors it was predominantly a meat, game and poultry market but has since evolved to accommodate commercial vendors. It featured the famous Poultry Market which stayed in place until the mid-20th century when it was then converted into general retailing and leisure units.
Nowadays there are a range of boutique retailers alongside pubs and restaurants making it a highly fashionable place to be seen in the heart of London. If you still looking to pick up some produce then fear not as the market still has a range of stalls selling flowers, cheese, meat and other fresh food.
It has gone through a level of hardship over the years, none more so than the Great Fire of London in 1666. A large part of the capital was gravely damaged by the blaze and Leadenhall Market bore the brunt of it. In 1881 it was down to Sir Horace Jones, who was tasked with revamping the City of London to give the market a fresh new look.
Sir Horace was the architect behind the likes of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets and went about redesigning Leadenhall. The old stone structure was done away with and replaced with wrought iron and glass and was granted Grade II heritage-listed status in 1972.
Leadenhall is now regarded as one of the City’s five principal shopping centre and is made all the more appealing thanks to the Victorian decor. It also has connections with both Dick Whittington and starred in the Harry Potter film franchise.
The shopping centre was a main feature in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and used during filming in 2000 and 2001. Leadenhall was used as the popular wizarding pub The Leaky Cauldron as well as the iconic shopping street Diagon Alley. As well as the Harry Potter franchise, it has also appeared in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Imagination of Doctor Parnassus and Love Aaj Kal.
So what do you need to know when you are visiting Leadenhall Market? Here is our tourist’s guide.
Due to the high number of bars, pubs and restaurants in Leadenhall Market the public areas are generally open 24 hours a day. This means you can take a look at the magnificent architecture at any point in the day, maybe when you are walking back to your hotel after a long day sightseeing?
The core trading hours of the market is between 10am and 5pm Monday to Friday, although there will be some variation when it comes to specific shop and eateries. If you are planning to include Leadenhall into your night out, make sure you look to see if the establishments are open before you set off.
Leadenhall Market is all about a spot of retail therapy. Established market traders sit alongside High Street brands providing great fashions and accessories, traditional jewellery, wine and spirits experts and the very best in French perfume. A number of retailers have a permanent residency at Leadenhall while others can be temporary.
Among the permanent fixtures are
Barbour – stylish and practical clothing
Diptyque Paris – purveyor of French perfumes
Hotel Chocolat – one of Britain’s most-loved chocolatiers
The Pen Shop – makers of pens for over 150 years
Reiss – makers of designer and luxurious menswear, womenswear and accessories
Jaeger Outlet – contemporary British fashion brand
Waterstones – classic bookshop
Windsor Flowers – flowers available for every occasion
Eating and drinking
The shopping is all well and good but when you have spent the day trawling the sights of London, there is nothing better than a nice pint to round off the day. Leadenhall Market is populated with trendy bars, traditional pubs and gourmet restaurants meaning you can put the perfect end to your break.
Leadenhall has a wide range of places for both eating and drinking with every taste catered for. Here are our picks of the best bars, pubs and restaurants.
Amathus Drinks – store offering the finest wine, Port and Champagne
Chamberlain’s – serving gourmet dishes from the award-winning chef Andrew Jones
Cheese @ Leadenhall – a heaven for cheese lovers
Chop’d – great place for a fresh, tasty and healthy lunch
Gino D’Acampo My Pasta Bar Pronto! – serving authentic Italian food at competitive prices
Pizza Express – classic High Street pizza place
The Lamb Tavern – three floors of exquisite fine dining
We Grill – a range of skewers which can be picked up for under £10
There are also a host of bars nearby
Proud Cabaret City – 1 Mark Lane, City of London
The George – 40 Liverpool Street, City of London
The Rake – 14 Winchester Walk, Borough, Bankside
Gong – 31 St Thomas Street, SE1
Wheatsheaf – 6 Stoney Street, Bankside
Where to stay
The City of London is blessed a huge variety of hotels in its vicinity. Its location means you have the perfect base for your trip to the capital. You are on the cusp of the hip and happening Shoreditch and not too far from the rustic charm of north London and Camden.
Holidaymakers are spoiled for choice when it comes to hotels as there are various luxurious hotels for you to peruse. Here are our suggestions.
46 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SB – a 20-minute walk from the market. Walk down Chiswell Street and take a right onto Moor Lane. Follow this to Ropemaker Street and follow it down until you reach Liverpool Street Underground station. Walk down Old Broad Street until you reach Bishopgate, continue until you see Leadenhall on the left.
151-157 City Road, EC1V 1JT – the best route from this hotel is by Tube. Hop on the Northern line at Old Street and get off at Bank, Leadenhall Market is a short walk from here.
52 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SD – this hotel is next door to London City Suites by Montcalm so simply follow aforementioned instructions.
How to Get There
Leadenhall Market is well served by bus, train and Tube with a number of stations within a short walk from shopping centre. The best option is to use the London Underground with frequents services heading in that direction.
Monument – served by both Circle and District lines and just ten minutes from Leadenhall
Bank – served by Central, Northern and Waterloo & City and is a short walk from Leadenhall