Leadenhall Market, located in the heart of the City of London, is a vibrant, covered Victorian retail
center with cobbled walkways, a glass roof, and a rich heritage dating back to the 14th century.

Leadenhall Market at nightLeadenhall Market at night. Photo: WikiCommons

Leadenhall Market, nestled in the heart of London’s Square Mile, is a captivating and historic covered market. Its origins trace back to the 14th century, making it one of the oldest markets in the city. The market’s location in the financial district adds to its allure, creating a delightful blend of commerce, culture, and architectural splendor.

Leadenhall Market a long viewStroll Leadenhall Market’s cobbled streets. Photo: WikiCommons

Vibrant and intriguing, Leadenhall Market beckons visitors with its ornate wrought iron and glass structure. Strolling through its cobbled streets, you’ll encounter an array of boutiques, shops, restaurants, and bars.

This model of Londoninium resides in the London Museum. The tall building in
the back is the Basilica. The remains of this building and the city’s market
are located under Leadenhall Market. Photo: Museum of London

The rich history of Leadenhall unfolds as you explore its nooks and crannies. Before its marketplace incarnation, it was the capital of Roman Britain, built around 50 AD. Under the present-day market lie the ruins of Londinium. All that remains visible today is a portion of a well-made brick wall—a part of a support for the Basilica, the building housing the Roman town hall and courts. In its day, it was the largest building of its kind north of the Alps. It and the remains of the Forum (market) lie under Leadenhall. Bishopsgate, Cheapside, and Leadenhall Street all follow the route of the old Roman roads.

Roman ruins under LeadenhallA portion of a well-made brick wall–part of the Basilica support
Photo: Look Up London

Moving forward 1,200 years, Leadenhall was established as a meat market in the 1300s, primarily trading in poultry and game. Over the centuries, Leadenhall expanded its offerings to include cereals, eggs, butter, cheese, spices, wool, and leather. It became a hub where goods changed hands and stories unfolded.

Leadenhall MarketThe beautiful detail and cobbled streets add to the splendor of Leadenhall Market. Photo: WikiCommons

Part of the market was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was rebuilt as a covered market, which was then divided into three sections: a beef market, a green yard, and an herb market. In 1881, architect Sir Horace Jones redesigned it. The existing stone façade was replaced with glass and iron, becoming a proper Victorian market. This is the market structure today. It is considered a cultural heritage building.

Leadenhall Market dragonThe Leadenhall Market dragon, also known as The Spandrel of Terror. Photo: WikiCommons

Harry Potter enthusiasts will recognize Leadenhall Market as the filming location for Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron in the first movie. The enchanting architecture, with its arched entrances and intricate details, lends an otherworldly charm, and it is easy to imagine yourself in a completely magical place.

The beauty of Leadenhall MarketStunning architecture with breathtaking detail abounds in Leadenhall Market. Photo: WikiCommons

A visit to this iconic market promises an unforgettable experience. While you’re there, don’t forget to look for Old Tom!

If you’d like to explore Leadenhall Market with us, we are heading there as part of our Antique Adventures Tour of London and Wales from August 29 through September 5, 2024. Learn more about the tour and register here.


Antique Adventures



A London Antiquing Adventure Awaits You 

Uncovering the Charms of Grays Antique Market 

Exploring the Eclectic Collections of the Sir John Soane’s Museum 

Kensington Palace Unveiled: Where Royalty Roamed 


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