Eat and Run (or walk!)

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Eat and Run (or walk!)

Louisa Walters rounds up a few crocks of foodie gold at the end of her daily 10k steps

Louisa Walters is a features writer

I’m starting to feel the benefits of my daily 10k (steps not distance!).

Never having been an outdoorsy type, I’ve only ever previously clocked up this many steps in a shopping centre.

I need to walk with a purpose in mind and the best possible purpose is food.

Here, I’ve rounded up a few crocks of gold at the end of the footpath.


Farmers’ markets are a great antidote to lockdown boredom and the perfect way to separate the weekdays  from weekends as most are on Saturdays and Sundays.

Every Sunday, from 10am until 2pm, a quiet enclave just off Marylebone High Street is transformed into a gastronomic paradise with stalls selling cheeses, spices, and bread plus mushroom sarnies from The Mushroom Table. Listen out for former opera singer Kerry, who sometimes serenades customers buying her north London-made ice cream. 

Ally Pally’s famous market has relocated to nearby Campsbourne School for the time being and can be found there on Sundays with stalls selling fresh juices, Drum & Kernel popcorn, smoked fish, cookies and cakes. Check out superb pastry goodies from Life of Pie by former Ivy/Caprice pastry chef Emma. 

Drum and Kernel popcorn

Parliament Hill Farmer’s market is at the edge of Hampstead Heath every Saturday and Sunday with organic veg, asparagus, soft fruit, Levain Bakery’s brilliant sourdough, specialist spuds from The Potato Shop, plus hot food from Mumbai Mix, Pasta E Basta and much more.

Grab a skinny cappuccino at Melrose and Morgan in Primrose Hill and then it’s a 40-minute walk along the Grand Union Canal to Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross, by which time you’ll have worked (walked) up enough of an appetite to pick up a brisket sandwich, hummus with aubergine and pita or a flavoursome Yemenite soup at Coal Office or a cheese, mushroom and truffle toastie at Morty and Bob’s.

Parliament Hill Farmer’s Market

If you’ve still got room when you land back in Primrose Hill, the bright yellow door of the Primrose Bakery is always open.  

The Pergola is one of the hidden delights of Hampstead Heath. In 1904, wealthy philanthropist William H Lever, later Lord Leverhulme, bought a large townhouse called The Hill and on the surrounding land built a structure where his friends and family could spend summer evenings and he could host extravagant parties.

The Pergola, Hampstead Heath

After his death, The Pergola was not maintained but this decaying, gothic structure retains a mystic beauty and affords wonderful views across the Hill Garden.

From here, you can walk to Whitestone Pond and then turn left down East Heath Road all the way to Karma Bread for the best (and I do mean the best) cinnamon buns and the famous three-cheese tuna melt.

Cinnamon buns from Karma Bread

Don your wellies for a walk around Aldenham Country Park and then stop off at Rustic Rhubarb to pick up cheese-topped toasties (yes cheese inside and outside!), jacket potatoes, mint hot chocolate, Bakewell tarts and lotus biscoff cake.

Launched during the pandemic (crazy but true), this café fast built up a loyal following.

The menu reflects a love of good rustic home -cooked food, not to mention owner Emma’s scrummy cakes (including some vegan and gluten-free ones). Closed on Mondays. 

Rustic Rhubarb

From Whetstone High Road, head towards North Finchley passing El Vaquero on your right (open for takeaway) and then turn right through the gate into Swan Lane open space, a charming place for a walk. At the heart of this is The Redwood Café where Leo, well known to the locals, serves up delicious soups, sandwiches, breakfast items, coffee and cake. 

At Oak Hill Park in East Barnet, Ewa and Jack run the café, which serves Polish delicacies alongside regular fare. There’s a range of pierogi (dumplings), borscht, beef goulash soup, golobki (cabbage rolls) and potato pancakes with smoked salmon and soured cream.


Read the food supplement here!
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