Ah, Camden Market. Where do I even begin? Oh, I know…this is one of my favorite things to do in London (I make sure to stop by every time I’m there) and honestly I’d go as far as saying it’s the best market I’ve ever been to.
A maze of food, souvenirs, vintage, trinkets….my actual happy place. There’s something for everyone here, and you could all day wandering around the web of vendor stalls and shops.
Technically, Camden Market is actually more than just one market. It’s a series of adjoining markets in Camden, a hip area of London easily accessible by the underground. The markets are open every day and are really busy every day but especially weekends, attracting over 100,000 people each weekend.
Even though this place is really popular with tourists (it’s actually the 4th most popular tourist attraction in London), I still find it diverse in terms of the crowd. You’ll see everyone from stereotypical tourists with cameras around their necks and fanny packs around their waist looking around in awe, to the hipster local with gages and Dr. Martens searching for the latest vintage find.
“Camden Market” is comprised of 5 markets:
- Camden Stables Market: My favorite of all the markets! With over 700 stalls built into a historical industrial building, there’s something for everyone here. Shop for antiques, crafts, footwear, alternative fashion, and vintage clothes, get a piercing or tattoo, or just grab some food from the variety of stalls offering cuisine from around the world and find a place to sit down, eat, and watch people passing by. Make sure to check out the catacombs, an underground web of stalls housed in Victorian brick arches that were once part of a railway station.
- Camden Lock Market: The original Camden Market, this place has everything from old films, home decor, crafts, jewelry, books, and all things vintage. Although there’s stalls open every day, this market is jam-packed on weekends and has tons of options for food too!
- Camden Lock Village: This general outdoor market has over 500 independent shop-units not only with the usual market finds, but more unusual products as well!
- Buck Street Market: This market is situated right next to the Camden Town tube station. So, many tourists see it and think that this is the famous Camden Market when really, this is just a small one out of many! This houses 200 stalls in a web of narrow alleyways. To me, it seemed like many vendors were selling the same t-shirts and clothes, and the salespeople were very aggressive. I would pass this market and continue on Camden High Street towards the Stables and Lock Markets.
- Inverness Street Market: Although primarily a fruit and vegetable market, more recently bargain clothes and souvenirs have started replacing produce here. The street also boasts lots of good restaurants!
Although the weekends are the peak period for the markets, and when you’ll find it absolutely sprawling, you can still find lots of vendors open there on weekdays (more so at the Stables and Lock Markets), and you’ll avoid the heavier crowds if that isn’t your cup of tea.
Another plus about Camden Market is that it’s super easy to get there by public transport! Although taking the Northern Line to Camden Town is the most popular way (just take a right out of the tube station and you’ll follow the crowds on Camden High Street to the various markets), there are alternate, less crowded ways as well. Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent tube stations, also on the Northern Line, are both a short walk to Camden Market, are less crowded, and don’t face Sunday afternoon restrictions to avoid overcrowding like the Camden Town station does.
I would definitely suggest visiting the Camden Market, specifically the Camden Stables Market, during your trip to London! You’re guaranteed to walk away with some unique and totally awesome items!