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Billingsgate fish market — sometimes known as Canary Wharf fish market — is not only London’s largest fish market, it’s the largest inland fish market in the UK!
Located on the northern edge of the Canary Wharf financial centre, this fish market opened in 1982. It was relocated from the original Billingsgate fish market, located significantly further inland along the Thames, where traders had been selling fish since the 16th century!
The current Canary Wharf iteration of the fish market spans over 50,000 square metres of purpose-built warehouses.
With interrupted trading throughout Covid-19, and news of the fish market closing, tourist footfall has reduced considerably. It turns out it’s the perfect time for a visit before the market moves permanently!
Canary Wharf’s fish-market is still currently open, so here’s our up-to-date experience of visiting Billingsgate market in 2022.
Visiting Billingsgate Market as a general member of the public is an interesting morning out, and well worth getting up early for. And by early, we mean early!
The estimated date for the Canary Wharf fish markets closure is around 2025.
Three of London’s working markets — the Billingsgate fish market near Canary Wharf, New Spitalfields flower market, and Farringdon’s historic Smithfield meat market — will all eventually be combined at Dagenham docks.
This ambitious project was approved in 2021, and once open, will be the largest wholesale market in Britain. Set to be complete is 2027, it will once again involve Billingsgate fish market moving further away from the centre of London.
While Canary Wharf’s fish-market is not a designated tourist attraction — it’s a proper, working market — it’s a great way to spend a morning and definitely worth doing.
The market offers a behind the scenes look into the UK’s fish trade. If, like me, you’re guilty of buying most of your produce from the supermarket, you will be well-rewarded for your effort of getting up early sourcing something exceptionally fresh for dinner!
Around 10-minutes walk from the centre of Canary Wharf, Billingsgate is also easy to get to. If you don’t fancy a fish sandwich, there are plenty of places for breakfast in Canary Wharf afterwards!
With plans for a combined market in 2025 now-approved, the fish market’s Canary Wharf location will be soon consigned to the history books. The new location will undoubtedly offer a modern, purpose-built space. But, like the closure of Japans Tsukiji fish market — now moved to a new out-of-town centre — a bit of the original magic will no-doubt be lost in the transition.
Visit before it dissapears!