Greenwich Market – Just as much fun now as it was before Covid

We visited Greenwich Market two dozen times over the years, but our last visit had been more than two years ago. The Market has a very proud history. There has been a market in Greenwich since at least the 14th Century. Today’s market traces its beginning to 19th December 1700, when a Royal Charter was given to Greenwich Hospital, the Royal Navy’s oldest charity, to operate a market. This fine institution is there to support serving and retired navy staff and their families. The charity exists to this day and still owns the Market just like it always did. It took them nearly forty years until they actually made use of the Charter and opened the Market for the first time on 3 September 1737 with 60 stalls from far and wide.



Initially located next to the West Gate of the Old Royal Naval College, the market gradually moved to its current location during the first half of the 19th Century. By 1849 that relocation had been completed and an Act of Parliament extended the powers of Greenwich Hospital with regards to the running of the Market and the collection of related tolls from the stall owners. In the 1910s the building underwent another major refurbishment, including a new roof.

Open Hours

Even during the current Tier 3 Covid lockdown, the Market is still open daily from 10am to 5:30pm. There are a bit over 40 food stalls in total in a very wide sense, i.e. including sweets, pastries, pickled foods, smoked sausages and cured meats, etc. Out of those stalls, the vast majority are only open about 4 days per week and the days differ from stall to stall.


When we visited last Saturday, we counted about 25 stalls, much less than the 120+ we were used to from peak season during the summer, but nonetheless enough variety to be a ton of fun and easily worth a visit.



Salt Beef Sandwich from Red’s Carvery

We each had a giant salt beef sandwich with mixed leaf salad, honey mustard, Russian dressing, gherkins and melted cheddar at Red’s Carvery (£9, including the £1 extra for the cheese). Except for a few chewy bits where the ligament had not been properly removed, the meat was absolutely delicious and went well with the melted cheese.

What else is on offer?

Ellie also had a tray of Oreo pancakes at Planet Pancake for a pretty good value £3.50 and some of the best flat white in a while from Ideal Espresso (£3).


There were plenty of other food stalls that looked attractive, but we didn’t want to overdo it. During this time of year, the majority of the stores are non-food, such as antiques, fashion/clothes/socks, jewellery, gift ideas, homewares, greeting cards, art & crafts, collectibles, soap, and children’s toys. Many of the stall owners make an effort to bring in the Xmas spirit.


The market is nearly completely covered and reasonably well protected from wind and rain in most places. Some of the little alleyways that lead to the Market are quite picturesque.


More food stalls near Cutty Sark

From the official Greenwich Market we walked towards Cutty Sark, the Thames, and the foot tunnel. There are about ten more food stalls in the area, even though we found the ones at the actual Market more interesting. Always a matter of personal taste.


From Cutty Sark we went on the mandatory tour of Greenwich Park and the Royal Observatory with the famous Prime Meridien. Then it was already time for our ice-skating session at Queen’s House Ice Rink.

Looking for more fun things to do in London? Check out our posts about The Thames Rocket, The London Helicopter, The Psychopath’s Den Escape Room Experience, the Emirates Airline Cable Car, and our baking course with Bread Ahead.

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  1. What a lovely time out this must have been allowing a brief respite from your covid lockdown. I love that you have all of these markets throughout London. I need to explore more of them in depth. Personally, I would have more interest in the food stalls over the other wares. Thank you for explaining the history and taking pictures allowing me to feel what it’s like. I’d be all over that pastrami looking delight 🙂

    1. Thanks a bunch, David. So glad you enjoyed reading this post. I did take quite a lot of inspiration from your blog posts and tweets, in particular the ones about Hawaii and Hawaiian food. Ellie and I always have a great time visiting Greenwich Market. 🙂

  2. I was happy to read a title that proclaimed that something was a fun during the Covid pandemic as before. Good to read that the Greenwich Market was still open during the lighter phases of lockdown. We have tried to keep our markets open as much as possible in Canada. With some attention to protection, it is wonderful to see businesses still able to operate. And provide great service to the customers.

    1. Thank you, Linda. Yes, it is wonderful indeed to see how some of the markets are still managing to make a living for the stall owners and a great few hours out for happy customers.

  3. I resent the implication that sweets and pickles aren’t actually “food” 😉 I could happily make a meal of sweets and pickles. Though I probably shouldn’t brag about that. This is a fun trip through Greenwich market. I was quite taken aback to see some of the food vendors not wearing masks tho. Hope you skipped the churros.

    1. Thank you, Cynthia, I guess I agree with you on the pickle side (not big on sweets myself). When growing up in Bavaria, we sometimes just had fresh buttered rye with spring onions, chives, and a few pickles, it was always delicious.

      About the masks, thanks for making me aware. Perhaps I add some explanation to the post. The rules change daily here, but I believe last time I checked there was no rule that obliges vendors to wear masks as long as there is physical distancing and it’s outside. In most cases, like with the churros, there was also a transparent plastic pane between the customer and the vendor.

      I hear the rules are much stricter in some locations in the U.S. and elsewhere.

  4. Looks great – like Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. I miss the freedom of wandering between market stalls in the sun, choosing weird and wonderful flavors. Have they fully renovated the ship? Did it have a fire a few years back? My brain is failing me in my old age.

    1. Your memory is very good, yes, it burned down and it is now fully renovated. I hear that in NY things are still a long way from going back to normal. Most major markets here in London are operating pretty much as usual. Our favourite is Borough Market, where we shop several times a month.

  5. We’ve not visited Greenwich market but it looks like a great place for foodies and we’d definitely enjoy exploring the fare on offer. It was interesting to learn of the history of the market. The salt beef sandwich looked scrumptious. To our shame, we’ve never visited the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Park or the Royal Observatory, so we should remedy that and plan a visit.

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