An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

Walking Isle of Dogs

Billingsgate Fish Market is the UK’s largest inland fish market that sits across five hectares of buildings in the shadow of the Canary Wharf skyscrapers, just north of the Isle of Dogs. An early morning foray here is a must-do for fish lovers who are visiting the island. The action starts at 4 am, when the traders buy fish by the boxful, and trading continues until 8 am. Around 150 different species of fish and crustacean, live, fresh, frozen and salted, from all over the world is sold here. There are live lobsters and crabs, salmon, plaice, scallops, clams, mussels, squid, octopus, oysters, prawns, mackerel, sardines, halibut, swordfish, turbot and herring to name but a few. Exotic fish like mahi mahi, barramundi and blue shark are often sold alongside local cockles and jellied eels. There are over 100 stalls and 30 shops for visitors to see the very freshest of fish and shellfish and experience the lifestyle of the East End trader, and hear their banter and salty language across the market floor. A visit wouldn’t be complete without breakfast in one of the cafes for a mug of tea and one of the famous scallop and bacon baps.

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