Take part in Smithfield’s very special birthday party this August while a resident at Best western hotel London. Celebrations are being held in honour of Smithfield’s 150th year of trading within these Victorian market buildings.
Yet this represents only a fraction of the area’s long history of meat trading on this spot. A market has been held here for over 800 years with animals being brought and sold on the spot. Herds of cattle, sheep and poultry were driven through the streets of London to Smithfield. As the years went on, it becomes more and more congested and eventually the existing market building was created. Nowadays, fleets of refrigerated lorries can be found heading to and from Smithfield in the early hours of the morning, bringing fresh meat for sale to restaurants throughout the city.
You can book walking tours of Smithfield Market with City Guides, but you will need to get up early as they start at 7am. The tours take you around the market, showing how it operates as well as talking about the history of the area. The Museum of London also provides some very good historical tours which include stories of the executions, bodysnatching and burning to death of many miscreants over the centuries. There are also tales to hear about Sherlock Holmes and Henry VIII.
During the birthday celebrations, there will be a section of the market devoted to its history. Book any of the hotels near Wembley Stadium London UK and try out the Horrible Histories area as well as the Kino Van, which tells the story of women’s suffrage through lots of archive film.
Throughout the August Bank Holiday weekend, there will be a vast array of activities. Saturday is especially devoted to children with lots of child friendly events. Whatever the day, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone. So, if you are travelling with kids we would recommend booking any of the London hotels with parking in advance.
A roller disco will be present throughout the weekend, offering the opportunity to don some roller skates and try out your skills on the rink. Laugh along with the comedians in the comedy club, enjoy the music of choirs and multicultural bands or you can try out henna art in the Henna House, which offers all kinds of designs from intricate florals to bold tribal art.
Naturally there is birthday cake to try, and a massive eye catching parade! The Bartholomew’s Carnival of Delights is guaranteed to amuse, likewise the teams of majorettes and giant puppets. Then there is the sheep procession and Electropop. There are street games and fairground rides, guided tours of the area and numerous pop up markets offering all kinds of local food and crafts.
It is set to be a weekend to remember and all are welcome to this free event.