by Immy Smith
Whitecross Street is so synonymous with food, it’s gained the affectionate nickname of ‘Bitecross Street’.
It sits somewhat in the shadows of the Barbican’s brutalist tower blocks and the sheen of the City but we’d argue the tucked-away nature of the street only adds to its charm.
Whitecross Street was first established in 1603 with the opening of a hospital. Being just outside the walls of the City of London, the street became a prime spot for traders who first started selling their wares here in the 17th century.
By the 19th century, property owners had moved in and there were more residential buildings punctuated with other buildings of note, including the Lord Mayor’s stables, the Great Northern Railway Goods Depot and a debtor’s prison where over 2,000 people passed through each year.
Like much of the area, parts of Whitecross Street were destroyed during the Blitz but post-war developments have since transformed it, making way for a thriving community that feels more like a village than an inner-city through-road.
Nowadays, it has everything a Londoner could wish for, like a micro city with all your essentials dotted along one strip. There are charity shops, galleries, restaurants, cafés, a properly good boozer, staunchly intact Victorian architecture and of course, the weekday market.
Approaching Whitecross Street on a weekday lunchtime, it’s more than likely you’ll smell the market before you see it. It’s a global affair with stalls cooking up everything from burritos and baguettes, to pad Thai and pizza. You could practically transport yourself to the four corners of the globe with the various tastes and aromas on offer, and all without walking more than 500 yards.
Every July, a massive street party takes place, with even more stalls cramming onto the pavements, live music, performance art and spoken word…
Where you can literally hear the word on the street.
NOTE: Whitecross Street Market is open from 11:45 AM – 2:15 PM, every Mon-Fri. You can find out more HERE.
Whitecross Street Market | Whitecross Street, London, EC1Y 8JL
Love street food? Check out our guide to London’s best food markets