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Clerkenwell is a fascinating area of central London based in the London Borough of Islington. Its name derives from the Clerks’ Well in Farringdon Lane with clerken meaning literate person or clergyman. The Monastic Order of the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem had its English headquarters at the Priory of Clerkenwell, while Clerkenwell Green was the backdrop for the scene in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist where the Artful Dodger and Fagin encourage Oliver to pickpocket.

During the industrial revolution, the area became known for its breweries, printers and watches makers, while the Smithfield Market has been the site of a livestock market for over 800 years and continues to be the largest wholesale meat market in the UK. Opening Monday to Friday from 2:00am, the market is housed in three listed buildings and is served by pubs that are allowed to open at 5:30am to serve the workers.

If fruit and veg is more your thing, head down to the Bloomsbury Farmers’ Market open every Thursday in Torrington Square.  As well as farm produce, many stalls offer hot food and a “lunch club” whereby a loyalty card scheme allows you to buy five lunches and get your sixth free.