Amazingly, Smithfield has been on its current site for almost 1000 years and is now the largest wholesale meat market in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe.

Sprawling across four hectares, the market is a hive of activity from the crack of dawn – and even earlier, given it opens at 3am.

If you’re a casual cook, or you just want to see what a serious London market looks like, then Smithfield is the place to go. But, beyond that, if you seriously fancy yourself on the grill – and fancy yourself even more as a market haggler – you’ll quickly become a regular.

Whatever you’re after – gourmet snags, racks of red meat or posh cheese – you’ll find it here. But don’t be shy; make sure you negotiate or at least look for the best deal.

GREAT FOR: Your next barbie

» London Central Markets, EC1A 9LH 
Tube: Farringdon

Words: Tom Sturrock