Yes, yes, and yes! Leadenhall market London is an extremely beautiful and unique covered shopping market in the financial district. It is quite the popular destination for Harry Potter fans who know it better as Diagon Alley or one of the entrances to the Leaky Cauldron. For the few of us left who are not die-hard fans, it is still in my humble opinion an unrivaled beauty that deserves to be seen on any visit to London. The architecture is stunning and when you’re lucky enough to see it while the sun is shining, you get to really appreciate its colorful facets.
We have just returned from our first trip of the year. We got a late start this year due to our move to Valencia. That weighed heavily on my mind for the first few months and so l did not want to complicate things by guessing which airport we would be traveling out of. It made more sense to wait till we were settled. By this time last year, we had already visited the Maldives, Cordoba and Tokyo. As you can guess, we were in London, a place l would like to think of as our second home :-). We have visited it at least ten times together, and in my solo travel days, definitely over thirty. Truth be told, if we could afford to live there, it would be the number one choice for both of us. I, more than Federico realize that the dream would be crushed if it became a reality. Visiting someplace with disposable funds is completely different than actually living somewhere and trying to make ends meet. The tax rate alone will crush me, and even my sister, a physician, complains bitterly. I have also had a number of cousins move away from there, so l know it’s not easy. I would also have to go back to work!!!! Oh hell…NO!!! :-).
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Leadenhall market London: Coolness
Leadenhall market London is a Victorian stunner that actually dates back to the 14th century, so it is one of the oldest in the country. It used to be a meat, poultry and game market. The Great Fire of London which happened in 1666 basically destroyed much of the structure and it fell into hardship. In 1881, an architect by the name of Sir Horace Jones (whose job was to revamp and rebuild London) designed the market to feature cobbled flooring and ornate roofing effectively turning it into a tourist destination. Here is a video about Leadenhall market London that does more justice than any picture :-).
Leadenhall market, being in the financial district means that the place is extremely crowded during working hours with men and women in smart suits having what would be considered an obscene amount of beer in the U.S during their lunch breaks. We went at such a time and couldn’t find a place without insanely long waits which is a pet peeve for Federico. In addition to the Leadenhall market restaurants and cafes, there are some upscale shops like Barbour, Jaeger Outlet and Waterstones bookshop. Eateries included Tortilla (British version of Chipotle) , Chop’d where you get to put together your own salad and the Lamb Tavern, a typical English pub. We couldn’t even get through the door for how many people were outside.
Walking around and checking out the market, we really enjoyed the skinny alleyways, the amazing roof – a mixture of greens, cream and maroon colors, not to mention the beautiful wrought iron works. It was designated as a Grade II building in 1972 for its special architectural and historic interest. From Leadenhall market, it’s just a 2 minute walk to 30 St. Mary Axe to see the appropriately named Gherkin building. Following the installed street signs, we actually walked from Leadenhall market to the Monument (commemorating the great fire. No, we did not climb the 311 stairs to the top, beautiful view not withstanding.
A bit of further walk from Leadenhall market London will bring you to London Bridge itself and you can admire the Tower Bridge from there. Keep walking and you will come to Borough market, one of my favorite places to get a bite for cheap. This is an amazing way to spend a day in London on your own agenda. By the time you do the above, you’ll be ready to head back to your hotel or grab a pint at the pub. The kids would definitely be ready for some rest. So, to answer the question. Yes, Leadenhall market London is an amazing place that is worthy of a visit. Since you’re in London, I would advise carrying a light raincoat at all times since the weather changes drastically and it’s much easier than carrying an umbrella.
Leadenhall Market London:
Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT, UK
Open: 10AM-6PM (technically open 24 hours but the stores close then)
Tube station: Monument. We took the bus no. 344 towards Liverpool street. Go here to plan your transport route in London.
To plan your own London visit, you can check out fares and hotels here.
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Have you ever visited Leadenhall market London? What did you think of it? Would you recommend it as a must see even for non Harry Potter fans? If not, is London a place you would like to visit?