Brier Bash

Brier Bash

Published: 13 Sep 2023


When it comes to iconic landmarks in London, Smithfield Market stands out as a true gem. Steeped in history and bustling with activity, this renowned market has captivated both locals and tourists for centuries. Located in the heart of the city, Smithfield Market has witnessed the ebb and flow of London’s ever-changing landscape, making it an integral part of the city’s rich heritage.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Smithfield Market and uncover nine unbelievable facts that make it a must-visit destination for history buffs, food enthusiasts, and those looking to immerse themselves in the authentic London experience. From its ancient origins to its recent role in popular culture, Smithfield Market’s story is sure to leave you mesmerized.

Table of Contents

The market dates back to the 10th century.

Believe it or not, Smithfield Market has been operating since the 10th century, making it one of the oldest markets in London. It has stood the test of time, witnessing centuries of trade and commerce.

It is the largest wholesale meat market in the UK.

Smithfield Market boasts the title of being the largest wholesale meat market in the UK, covering an impressive area of over six acres. It plays a crucial role in the distribution of meat products throughout the country.

Smithfield Market has a gruesome past.

Perhaps one of the most shocking facts about Smithfield Market is its gruesome past. In medieval times, it was the site for public executions, including those of prominent figures like William Wallace and Wat Tyler.

The market has its own underground railway system.

Hidden beneath the bustling market, there is an extensive underground railway system used for transporting goods. The system is a sophisticated network of tunnels and tracks that have been in operation for over a century.

Smithfield Market has inspired famous writers.

The rich history and vibrant atmosphere of Smithfield Market have inspired numerous writers and artists throughout the years. Iconic works like Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” and William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” mention the market in their stories.

It has survived several fires and bombings.

Despite facing numerous challenges, including devastating fires and bombings during World War II, Smithfield Market has managed to rebuild itself and continue its operations as a hub for meat trading.

The market hosts the annual Christmas Eve meat auction.

Smithfield Market is known for its lively Christmas Eve meat auction, where buyers from all over the country gather to bid on the finest cuts of meat. It is a festive tradition that has been celebrated for decades.

Smithfield Market has a vibrant street food scene.

Apart from being a renowned wholesale market, Smithfield also offers a diverse and vibrant street food scene. Visitors can indulge in a wide variety of delicious cuisines, from traditional British fare to international delights.

The market has been featured in films and TV shows.

Smithfield Market’s unique charm and architectural beauty have caught the attention of filmmakers and TV producers. It has been featured in popular productions like “Sherlock Holmes” and “Braveheart,” adding to its cultural significance.


In conclusion, Smithfield Market in London is a fascinating destination filled with incredible history, unique features, and a vibrant atmosphere. From its origins as a livestock market to its present-day status as a thriving market for food and drink, Smithfield Market continues to be a must-visit landmark in the city.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply looking to explore an iconic London landmark, Smithfield Market offers something for everyone. Its stunning architecture, bustling market stalls, and diverse range of products make it a truly unforgettable experience. So, next time you find yourself in London, be sure to pay a visit to Smithfield Market and discover for yourself the incredible charm and allure of this historic landmark.


Q: When was Smithfield Market established?

A: Smithfield Market was established in the 10th century, making it one of London’s oldest markets.

Q: What can I find at Smithfield Market?

A: Smithfield Market is primarily a wholesale meat market, but it also features various stalls selling produce, baked goods, and other food products.

Q: Is Smithfield Market open to the public?

A: Yes, Smithfield Market is open to the public. However, some areas may be restricted to authorized personnel only.

Q: Are there any guided tours available at Smithfield Market?

A: Yes, guided tours are available at Smithfield Market. These tours provide visitors with a deeper insight into the market’s history, architecture, and operations.

Q: Can I purchase meat directly from the market?

A: While Smithfield Market primarily caters to traders and businesses, some stalls may sell meat directly to the public. However, it’s recommended to check the specific market rules and timings for public access.

Q: Are there any events or festivals held at Smithfield Market?

A: Yes, Smithfield Market occasionally hosts events and festivals, including food tastings, culinary competitions, and seasonal celebrations. Check the market’s website or local event listings for upcoming events.