LivingTravelCamden Markets - The Complete Guide

Camden Markets – The Complete Guide

If it’s alternative, handmade, vintage, cool, retro, vintage, classic, funky, ethnic (we could go on), you can find it at Camden Market. Over 100,000 visitors head to Camden Town each weekend for a full-immersion retail sale on the wild side.

It is the most concentrated place in London to search for original and unusual products from hundreds of independent vendors, designers and shops. Camden High Street is lined with shoe stores, leather shops and vintage clothing and vintage vinyl.

Many people, both visitors and Londoners alike, think it is a cool place to hang out, busy all the time and hectic all weekend. Most of the main stores are open every day, so there is always plenty to see and buy. But if you really want to see booth vendors in action, Sunday is the best and busiest day.

And if you have the stamina after a day of bargain battles, there is a good nightlife with legendary clubs, bars and music venues throughout the area.

How it all began

The development of this area into a lively community and shopping destination had several false starts before today’s markets were born in the 1970s.

The first attempt at development was by Charles Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden, near the end of his long career. Active in Parliament and the Lords, he served as Lord Chancellor in the late 18th century. His parliamentary speeches against taxes on the American colonies and for acknowledging their inevitable independence (some written with the help of Benjamin Franklin) earned him a legacy of respect in early America with cities named after him in Maine, North Carolina. , South Carolina and New Jersey. . In 1788 he was granted permission to design a development of 1,400 houses on land he owned in North London.

He divided up the land and rented it out for development, but very little happened for another 100 years. Still, the name Camden Town was born.

The second false start occurred after the Regent’s Canal was built through the Camden estate. The Canal was completed around 1820 and the area began to populate with modest workshops and light industry. Once the railroads were built, the canals lost business as commercial conduits. Regent’s Canal was sold to a railway company and plans were made to convert the route into a railway. Warehouses and workshops clustered around the canal locks in anticipation of a major new trade route through London.

But this boom did not last long. By the 1870s, plans to build this railway had been abandoned. It was never built. For most of the early 20th century, warehouses stood empty, the area rotted and lay in ruins.

It was another hundred years before various entrepreneurs saw potential in the abandoned buildings. In 1972, a couple of childhood friends bought a dilapidated wooden patio from TE Dingwalls and created the Camden Lock Market, one of London’s first arts and crafts markets and the magnet that attracted other retailers and shop owners. posts to the area. A year later, in 1973, another pair of entrepreneurs converted a former warehouse into Dingwalls Dance Hall, a place that practically gave birth to Punk Rock.

The markets today

Since its beginnings as 16 market merchants, Camden Market has grown to more than 1,000 stalls and stores in four major markets, and small clusters of branch stalls on patios and side streets. The markets are located along Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road (the same street, it only changes its name after the railroad bridge) between Camden Town and Chalk Farm Tube Stations on the Northern Line. Camden High Street is lined with shops, pubs, markets, and restaurants. After the railroad bridge, you will find more of the same along Chalk Farm Road.


The market is divided into smaller markets and technically each one is supposed to have its own special style. But in reality, unless you are a purist or a fan of a distinctive style tribe, all markets tend to flow into each other so you can spend all day wandering from one to another. These are the main ones:

  • Camden Lock Market This is where the markets began in the 1970s, in stalls clustered around the canal and the locks, by the way, are not the ‘Camden Locks’, there aren’t any. The locks that give the market its name are the Hampstead Road Twin Locks on the Regent’s Canal. Formerly a craft market, it now features plenty of market stalls and shops selling unusual clothing, jewelry, and gifts. There are indoor and outdoor areas and excellent food stalls next to the canal. The market is open every day from 10 a.m. M. To “afternoon.”
  • Camden Stables Market has over 450 stores and stalls, including a good range of vintage clothing stores. Expect to find lots of clothes and accessories. There are also many food stalls offering cooked food to go from around the world. The market gets its name from the network of stable blocks, horse tunnels, and tack rooms, along with a horse hospital, which once served the population of fine horses carrying cargo and wagons along the canal. The last shunting horse was retired in 1967, but the stables remained in operation until 1980. Some of the commercial spaces are unique. Look for vintage at the Horse Tunnels Market, a series of Victorian brick tunnels that are part of this market. This market has a bronze statue of Amy Winehouse, who first achieved fame playing in clubs in the area.
  • Camden Lock Village This area, just after crossing north over the canal bridge on the right, was known as the Canal Market until it was virtually destroyed by a devastating fire in 2008. As part of a major remodeling project residential and retail, this market was given an improved design and a new name. Reopened as Camden Lock Village, it specializes in accessories, fashion, and gifts.
  • Buck Street Market This is the first market you come to when heading north from Camden Town tube station. It’s not actually part of Camden Market and it’s one that you can probably miss. It used to be a place to shop for vintage clothes from the 50s and 60s. Now this is where you can find cheap sunglasses and slogan patterned tees. Plans are underway to relocate some of the merchants to major markets while a new container park is created, similar to Pop Brixton and Boxpark Shoreditch, we will keep you posted if that happens.

The bottom line

It’s a lot of fun poking around these markets, people watching, and enjoying the atmosphere. This is London street style in its purest form. But don’t expect to discover the latest unrecognized fashion designer hiding in one of the stalls or shops. You can, but again, probably not. There is one type of market style that hasn’t changed much in 50 years: silver skull jewelry, tie-dye (yes, actually), leather goods, bovver boots, scented candles and the smell of incense, and most what you ‘We will find here lives in that timeless bubble.

Tips for staying safe in London markets

  • You will need cash to make purchases at most market stalls, but don’t carry more than you plan to spend that day.
  • Keep your wallet out of sight and keep purses close to your body. Beware of pickpockets.
  • Don’t give money to beggars. Beggars hang around Camden Town tube station. Don’t give them money no matter how sad their story is. They are there every day.
  • In Britain, you are not legally required to carry any identification, so leave your passport in the hotel safe when you don’t need it.

What else to do nearby?

  • Visit the ZSL London Zoo in Regents Park. It’s a 15-minute walk to the canal.
  • Take a leisurely stroll or go celebrity spotting on Primrose Hill . The hill, in the northern section of Regents Park, is one of London’s highest vantage points with nearly 360-degree views of the city. It is a charming, quiet slope covered with grass and trees, flanked by the homes of the rich and famous. The residential area is also called Primrose Hill. If you haven’t tired of shopping, this area is dotted with stylish boutiques. It’s especially good for designer children’s clothing that is supplied to the delightful mummies that live around here.
  • Hop aboard a canal boat for a 200-year-old Regents Canal cruise. London Waterbus Company has hourly departures from Camden Locks to Little Venice, traveling through the Maida Vale Tunnel and Regents Park and the London Zoo. You can disembark at the zoo with the entrance fee included in your boat ticket. Check the schedule on their website, then go up 10 minutes ahead of time and buy your ticket, by credit or debit card, no cash is taken. And do not bring your bicycle, scooter, skateboard or pet.
  • Go to a concert . End the evening at the Jazz Café, one of London’s most famous live music venues. If you book for music, you can also dine on the balcony above, a more relaxing place to enjoy music, perhaps, than the mosh pit below. Also visit Underworld for live rock concerts and the Dingwalls, the granddaddy of them all with live music and comedy since 1973. Many of the pubs in the area have live music and you can never tell which local or touring musicians may turn up. . You can usually pick up flyers near Camden Town station to see what’s going on or check out the Time Out waiting list concert pages.

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