Just like most cliches turn out to be true, most tourist attractions are popular for a reason. They’re usually worth visiting. And there are so many of them in this city! Even after four months I still haven’t ticked all the city highlights boxes. But on the weekends – especially when the sun is finally shining like today – I rather spend my time discovering the places where the locals go instead of standing in line with tourists.
One of those places is Bermondsey. I’d never heard of this area in South London, but according to some friends who’ve been in London a lot longer, this is the place to go to for some local food shopping. I took the tube to London Bridge and instead of turning left to Borough Market, I turned right and walked for about fifteen minutes until I was surrounded by arty, trendy shops and people. I had arrived in Bermondsey.
If size matters Maltby Street Market can’t compete with Borough Market, but this is where you’ll find the locals on a Saturday morning. You won’t be able to do all your grocery shopping here, but this small, lively street has an interesting combination of food stalls, pop-up bars and coffee places.
But don’t think this is all there is! On the other side of the railway, tucked away under the railway arches, all sorts of businesses are selling their products in an area that is called Spa Terminus. During the week they’re only open for their resellers, but on a Saturday most of them are selling to retail customers as well.
One spot you don’t want to miss is St John’s bakery. Their doughnuts are legendary and I now understand why. Don’t wear your best clothes while eating them though… (I now have custard stains on my shoes, bag and jeans).
Another shop I was happy to find was Boerenkaas. You can buy Dutch cheese pretty much in every supermarket in London, but the aged cheeses are harder to find. This place is selling a large variety of Dutch cheeses which you can all taste before you buy your favorite.
And if you’re a big tea drinker (who in this country isn’t), make sure to visit My Cup of Tea. This shop just opened recently and they’re selling all sorts of beautifully packaged teas.
I love discovering all these local places. But maybe next time I need to find out what the locals do to burn those calories after visiting yet another food market…