Broadway Market, located in Hackney, is a vibrant Victorian marketplace that draws in visitors from all over London with its excellent restaurants, cafes, shops, and bustling Saturday market. However, the history of this market dates back to a time before even the Romans, and it has much more to offer than just artisanal cheeses and hand-crafted gift ideas.
In this guide, readers will discover the unmissable restaurants and bars, the best shops, and the history of Broadway Market. Additionally, practical tips for visiting this lively market will be provided to ensure a memorable experience.
- 1 Unmissable Broadway Market Restaurants and Bars
- 2 The Best Broadway Market Shops
- 3 The History of Broadway Market
- 4 Practical Tips for Visiting Broadway Market, London
Unmissable Broadway Market Restaurants and Bars
Climpson & Sons
Climpson & Sons is one of the oldest coffee shops in London and has been serving coffee for over two decades. They offer a great selection of coffee and open early enough to cater to early birds visiting the market. In addition to coffee, they also serve delicious pastries and treats from Dalston’s Dusty Knuckle.
The Dove is a family-owned pub that has been at the heart of the Broadway Market community for around thirty years. The pub’s exterior, with its glossy blue color, makes it stand out from the crowd. The interior, with its old-school bench seats and wood panels, adds to the buzzing atmosphere. The Dove is known for serving a killer Sunday roast and is considered the best pub in the market.
El Ganso Cafe
El Ganso Cafe is a laid-back institution in Broadway Market that serves contemporary Spanish cuisine. The cafe offers outdoor seating where diners can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the market. El Ganso’s food is excellent and puts tapas at the heart of what they do. The wine list is also worth mentioning, and diners can ask for recommendations to go with their dishes.
Overall, these three restaurants and bars are must-visit places in Broadway Market. Whether you want to start your day with a great cup of coffee, enjoy a pint with friends, or dine on delicious Spanish cuisine, these establishments have got you covered.
The Best Broadway Market Shops
Fabrications is a unique craft shop that offers much more than just the necessary tools for creating. The shop also features a collection of upcycled clothing and accessories, making it a one-stop-shop for those who want to get creative with their wardrobe. In addition to their retail offerings, Fabrications also hosts sewing and embroidery classes, as well as community craft clubs. With its diverse range of products and services, Fabrications is a must-visit shop for any craft enthusiast.
The Broadway Bookshop
The Broadway Bookshop is a charming local bookstore that caters to all book lovers. With a well-curated selection of books that covers a wide range of genres, this shop is a go-to for those looking for something unique to read. The store’s non-fiction section is particularly noteworthy, with a collection of highly interesting books that are not typically found in mainstream bookstores. The Broadway Bookshop is a great place to spend an afternoon browsing for your next literary adventure.
Noble Fine Liquor
Noble Fine Liquor is a must-visit shop for wine and beer enthusiasts. This shop specializes in natural, low-intervention, and organic wines, with a focus on old-world bottles. The staff at Noble Fine Liquor are highly knowledgeable and passionate about their products, and are always happy to offer recommendations. In addition to wine, the shop also offers a great selection of beers and ciders that are perfect for enjoying alongside food from the market stalls. With its wide selection of quality products and expert staff, Noble Fine Liquor is a standout shop in the Broadway Market community.
The History of Broadway Market
1000 BC and Beyond
Broadway Market’s history dates back to the ancient world when Phoenician traders sailed from the Mediterranean to the British Isles in search of tin and other goods. Their docks, located in what is now known as Londinium, were the destination for goods that would travel across England on newly expanding trade routes. One such trade route, the Porter’s Path, used to carry wheat out of the Lea Valley and Broadway Market sits right on that route.
The Porter’s Path and the trading points along it were used right up through the Roman times and into the Middle Ages, with a few rocky moments. In the 9th century, King Alfred the Great had to dam and drain the Lea River to prevent marauding Vikings from destroying the wheat crop. By this point, the wheat grown in the Lea Valley had become London’s main source of grain.
Into the (Relatively) Present Day
In the 1890s, Broadway Market began to take shape as a market that mainly supplied the working-class communities of east London with fresh fish, vegetables, meat, tinware, drapery, and hats. It continued in a similar capacity until the 1980s when it began to decline largely due to the rise of supermarkets.
The market was rescued by two shopkeepers who organised a giant Victorian-themed carnival with invites to everyone in the community. The plan worked, sort of. It got the local community together to help protect the historic market. They tried a few things like becoming a flower market, but there was too much competition from Columbia Road and they failed. They also tried a food market – but that also failed.
Eventually, in 2004, they hit on the idea of it becoming a general market for high-quality food and wares. And that’s the market we know and love today.
Practical Tips for Visiting Broadway Market, London
Broadway Market is a bustling hub of activity on Saturdays, with 120 stalls offering a variety of street food options. To avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit on a weekday or arrive early in the morning. If you’re planning to dine at one of the popular restaurants in the area, be sure to book ahead. With so many options to choose from, it’s worth trying something new and exciting from the street food vendors.