Smithfield Market’s Christmas meat auction is back for 2023

Vegetarians, you might want to sit this one out: Smithfield Market’s famous Christmas meat auction is back for 2023. 

These days, the words ‘meat market’ might make you think of online dating, but it’s actually something a little more traditional than that – the chance for Londoners to get high-quality cuts of meat at bargain prices. It could be one of the last ones in central London too, as the market is being relocated.

This year’s auction will take place on Saturday December 23 at 10am, but eager shoppers will be getting down there from 9am to grab a decent spot. The vendors will be flogging turkeys, pigs in blankets and all the meaty Christmas trimmings including a whole host of other cuts. It’s cash only, so make sure to come with a sizeable stash.

Be warned: this meat won’t look like the pre-packaged kind you find in the supermarket. Coming straight from the butchers, these will be hefty hunks of animal flesh. 

As well as a fun spectacle, for a long time the auction has been an opportunity for Londoners to cop their Christmas dinner at a slashed price. What was once a necessity in the days before refrigeration, to sell meat as close to consumption to ensure it doesn’t go off, is now a tradition maintained by one Smithfield butcher, G Lawrence Wholesale Meats.

This is the first time the meat auction has been on since the beginning of the pandemic. Don’t miss out, it could be the perfect opportunity for a meat-cute. 

Want to know more about Smithfield’s famous market? These photographs capture the fading world of Smithfield’s midnight meat market.

ICYMI: this London borough has been named the UK’s happiest place to live.

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