When shopping for everyday food and drink (groceries) in the UK, most people shop at supermarkets. They offer a massive range of products to suit all tastes and budgets. Whether your bank account is looking a little empty and you want some value food for tea, or you’re having a dinner party and need some top quality produce, supermarkets can meet your needs.
The biggest supermarkets in the UK are Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-Op, Morrisons and Waitrose. Though they are all fairly standard, they each have their own slightly different appeal and focus. For example, for sheer size, Tesco and Sainsbury’s are hard to beat, whilst Waitrose is better if you have a bit more money to spend on quality food. Ultimately, it is really personal preference and location that will decide where you decide to shop for groceries in the UK.
Most of the major UK supermarkets now offer home delivery, which enables you to do your food and drink shopping online. This saves you the time and hassle of going to a shop, searching through all the aisles and then carrying your heavy bags back home. Using a comparison site like the one below can save you loads of money.
Find out how much your standard shopping basket would cost at all the major supermarkets. You can then simply choose the cheapest one & get the food delivered straight to your door, saving you time & money.
You may prefer to visit a market to do your shopping whilst in the UK. If you have one near to you, then they are brilliant places to get really fresh and unusual food and drink. They are also often really vibrant places to visit even if you don't intend to buy anything.
Open Air London Food Markets
London has many open aired fresh produce markets, offering great home grown fruit and vegetables along with other artisanal products at great prices.
For the best prices, go towards closing time because that is when market stall owners will want to get rid of their remaining stock; you can always try to bargain with them a bit more to save extra pennies!
- Farmers' Markets
- Locations: all over London
- Opening hours: Different days of the week and different times
- Billingsgate Fish Market
- Location: Trafalgar Way, London E14
- Tube: Canary Wharf
- Opening hours: Tues to Sat 5am-8.30am
Famous for being the United Kingdom’s largest inland fish market, get to this market early in the morning; it is definitely not a market for late sleepers!
- Portobello Market
- Location: Portobello Road, London W11
- Tube: Notting Hill Gate & Ladbroke Grove
- Opening hours: Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri and Sat 8.00am - 6.30pm. Thurs early closing at 1.00pm
This market not only has a great variety of fresh produce, delicious foods and flowers, but also second hand antiques and stylish clothes. If you have seen the movie Notting Hill, you may like to pay a visit to the now famous Travel Bookshop in Blenheim Crescent. You might have trouble locating the blue doored house - too many knocks at the door, so it was repainted another colour!
- Borough Market
- Location: London Bridge, SE1
- Tube: London Bridge
- Opening hours: Fri 12.00pm-6.00pm. Sat 9.00am-4.00pm
Do not miss this trendy award-winning market! You will find, under the Victorian railway arches, a feast for the eyes, the nose…and of course, the taste buds! If you love food, you MUST come and let your senses be spoilt! The selection is wide; from artisanal to gourmet products – and of course, if you ask nicely, you can try things for free!
- Brixton Market
- Location: Electric Avenue, SW9
- Tube: Brixton
- Opening hours: Mon to Sat 8.00am-6.00pm. Weds early closing at 3.00pm
This is a bit of a specialist market offering the largest range of Afro-Caribbean food, exotic fruits, spices, vegetables, meats and fish. Make sure to check out the art works, knick-knacks, clothes and music selection also available.
- Leadenhall Market
- Location: Whittington Avenue, London EC3
- Tube: Aldgate, Bank, Liverpool Street & Monument
- Opening hours: Mon to Fri 7.00am-4.00pm
This is your one stop shop for meats of all descriptions, vintage wines and other gourmet food items. You will find the perfect ingredients to impress your friends or a special someone with your cooking skills.
- Smithfield Market (aka London Central Markets)
- Location: Charterhouse Street, London EC1
- Tube: Farringdon & Barbican
- Opening hours: Mon to Fri 3am-10am
One of the oldest markets in the UK and housed in 3 listed buildings, this is a great place for buying meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, pies and other baked goodies. Even though the market stays open until around 10am, if you want to see it in full swing and actually do some shopping too, you should get there by 7am.
- Berwick Street Market
- Location: Berwick Street, London W1
- Tube: Tottenham Court Road & Oxford Circus
- Opening hours: Mon to Sat 9.00am-6.00pm
Established in the 1800s and in the heart of Soho, this little market offers fresh produce, fish, cheese and herbs. The street is lined with record and wholesale material shops, small restaurants and bars.
- The Covent Garden Real Food Market
- Location: Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2
- Tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross & Leicester Square
- Opening hours: Saturdays 10:30am-6:00pm (until Dec 2010)
For super fresh produce with a twist, head over to trendy Covent Garden, where you will find a myriad of wonderful gourmet teas, olives, cheeses, sausages, cupcakes and a whole host of other mouth-watering nibbles.