If you love fresh seafood and fish as much as I do (and that means almost more than anything), this place is a must-visit. One of the Best London Markets will become your monthly/weekly shopping spot.
This is one of my favourite London markets and it is breathtaking…in a few senses.
Name: Billingsgate Fish Market
Address: Trafalgar Way, London E14 5ST
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday : 4am – 9:30am
As you can see the market opening times are not for those who love to lay in. I have also heard that coming by 8am has not much sense already as all the (best) ‘goods’ are gone. Oh well…
I live West London and it takes me an hour by the tube to get to Canary Wharf, where the market is, and thus the tube still doesn’t work 24/7 in London the most realistic time for me was to leave home at around 5:30 to be on the market by 6:30. And that is what I have done.
Also, do not forget to get cash as on the market there is only one cash machine and it charges. If you go by feet google maps directions from the tube to the market can be a bit confusing but you will find there eventually.
The hardest part on arrival was to keep calm and not buy everything starting from the entrance. Nevertheless, I pulled myself together and have done two circles before I finally started buying.
The prices on the market I found truly great and the quality too – live lobsters, freshest oysters, big chunks of beautiful fresh tuna steaks…oh..’I need to get myself some friends and throw a seafood party’-I thought. Joking, I do have friends..visible ones…honestly. But that is exactly what visiting this market would be a must-do for, if you have any big dinner coming or any celebration and you have a good taste in food – set up your alarm now!
For those like me, who despite trying hard cannot eat 2 kg of fresh salmon in a day, there is always an option to freeze what is left or to buy frozen straight away.
After thinking and considering and thinking …I went on and bought a big bag of frozen muscles and two bags of big frozen prawn tales ( you get offers everywhere like 3 for £12 etc.) , a box of Tiger Prawns (£4.50 and I usually get them for £9 from local fishmonger) and a big bag of frozen wild salmon fillets. The later one was a big mistake and I guess I finally after quite a few previous fails learned the lesson – salmon should not be frozen! I tried to grill it and also for my Best Salmon Recipe and it is nothing like the fresh one. Nevertheless, it was a good buy for the price/amount I paid and I am going to use it for soups for the next… lifetime.
As for the tiger prawns by the way – love them absolutely so really recommend trying. Also, consider the option of buying fresh ones (works out at the same price but you have to get 1kg and in a box it is 500gm) and just freezing what is left after the first try. Grill them and enjoy.
The time I spent on the market, including my walk around and ‘careful consideration’ of what I see was 30 minutes. So by the time I finished the tube was already packed with Canary Wharf ‘suits’ and me, happy and stinking of fish with big bags, was going home for my oysters&champagne breakfast.
This is my experience and quite a happy one I must say. So now you know where your favourite London restaurants are getting their fish from, my last advice – make yourself a budget in advance or may be a list of what you need but be ready to go over those. Now that my freezer and fridge are absolutely packed, I ,foodie-shopaholic, am looking forward to my next trip to the one of the Best Markets in London – Billingsgate Fish Market.
P.S. and By the way, I have noticed groups of people following each other and listening to some very interesting lectures on fish and seafood, as I later found out there is a Billingsgate Market School which I hope to get a chance to be a part of next time.