A trip to Camden Market, London

In Cities, Days Out, London, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by Janis18 Comments

A vivacious labyrinth of vintage, vinyl and damn right stylish

Having worked in London for several years and visited as a tourist on so many occasions that I’ve now lost count. I can’t believe that I’ve only headed to Camden Market twice.

The Camden Market sign over the Chalk farm entrance in front of the old industrial brick buildings.

One entrance to Camden Market

Perhaps it’s that Camden portrays the hip, cool and trendy vibe, and I’m not too sure if I ever mastered that, or now, ever will.

Quick Links

A view of the Camden Lock sign painted on the railway bridge at the Camden Lock Place entrance to Camden Market.

Discovering Camden Market

However, we thought sod it, let’s go, surely no-one would mock my rara skirt and leg warmers (only joking).

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A little bit of history

Camden Lock Market first threw open its warehouse doors on 30th March 1974. The market started from a converted run-down timber yard, by the banks of Regent’s Canal.

The floodlit sign for the Horse Tunnel Market within Camden Market below which is a crest between two horse figures with the label '"The Stables since 1854" below.

Horse Tunnel Market

Initially trading with 16 stalls, today the market is a flourishing hive of eclectic activity. Camden Market is open 364 days a year and sees an incredible 28 million visitors annually. This is such a credit to the continually evolving market.

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There’s always smiles in Camden

A grey London day didn’t dampen our spirits. As we strolled nearer to the infamous “Camden Lock’ railway bridge, you could feel the vibe of the area, it was friendly, relaxed and welcoming.

A close up of the Camden Lock railway bridge which is at the Camden Lock Place entrance to Camden Market.

Camden Lock Railway Bridge

People from all age groups and different walks of life ambling around, just soaking up the atmosphere and going with the flow. As the markets seamlessly wind their way from one to another.

Camden Lock Place in Camden Market with it's mix of food stalls and fashion leading towards the Camden Lock railway bridge.

Camden Lock Place and railway bridge

Some of the stalls here are fascinating, there is so much imagination and creativity put into producing these unique gifts.

A neon sign for Camden Vintage mounted directly on the brickwork in  Camden Market.

Camden Vintage

Every so often, I would get distracted by something a little quirky and just wander off amongst the maze of passages. It was so immersive; you keep heading deeper and deeper inside.

Everything you need to know

For more information on Camden Market and its events check out the local Camden Market website.

Something for everyone

Majority of the stalls and boutiques are undercover, so there’s no fear of fending off the good old English weather. As you stroll further through the themed lanes, you get a true sense of a community amongst the locals.

Looking like a middle-eastern bazaar, a store in Camden Market selling colourful mosaic brass lanterns.

Colourful mosaic brass lanterns

Egyptomania in Camden Market, a series of stalls selling Egyptian themed jewellery.

Jewellery in Egyptomania

The faint smell of joss sticks floated through the air as we passed enchanting mosaic lanterns teetering above our heads. Fluttering handmade candles and crafted gothic gifts.
 
There was even an Egyptomania area if pharaohs are your thing.

Black signs, with a white font, on a brick wall in Camden Market pointing out the key areas, including Horse Tunnel Market, Camden Lock Place, West Yard, Italian Alley, Egyptomania & the Stables Basement.

Which way next?

Have you seen?

If you enjoy finding out a little more about London districts, take a look at the articles we created for Spitalfields, Smithfield, Clerkenwell, St James’s and Greenwich.

All under one roof

I loved it around by the Horse Tunnel Market. Full of vintage clothes, new clothes, antiques, street art, crazy hats, and even a wall of pre-loved gentlemen’s leather shoes all weaved in together.

A hat store in Camden Market selling the more extravagant designs in bold and vibrant colours.

You can never have too many hats

A store in Camden market selling movie-style posters and postcards of your favourite artists & films.

One legend to another

I just couldn’t get enough of the whole character of the market. You wander seamlessly from one cubicle to the next, hand-painted street art t-shirts, comic strip prints. Then artisan jewellery standing shoulder to shoulder amongst old LP’s and vintage cameras.

A print store in Camden Market selling an eclectic mix of posters in all sizes.

Prints and posters in Horse Tunnel Market

What’s not to love about Camden Market?

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A market like no other

To slightly mask the fact that part of Camden Market is set within old brick railway arches, a couple of the lanes were adorned in the skies with vibrant umbrellas and curved draped canvas sails.

A mixture of pink, yellow & red opened umbrellas provide a canopy between the stores in one lane in Camden Market.

Vibrant umbrellas through Camden Market

The Koo style store in one of the railway arches in Camden Market.  The focus on the street display is denim, in some cases, double denim.

Double denim anyone?

To be perfectly honest, I think to be within earshot of the trains bumping and jolting on tracks overhead, brings a unique earthy feel to your burlesque shopping experience, don’t you think?

A helpful guide

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You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.


Italian Alley

What Gary and I didn’t expect while strolling through Camden Market was to hear the dulcet tones of Dean Martin.

A look Italian Alley in Camden Market lined with tables & stools on one side and Italian treats on the other.  The first store is Gelati Pepino serving fine coffee and amazing gelato.

Italian Alley in Camden Market

A selection of delicious-looking pizza slices with a variety of topping in Italian Alley in Camden Market.

Savoury Italian snacks

Ahh yes, as we sauntered into Italian Alley, we were greeted by the incredible aroma of freshly ground coffee beans. Followed by the sweet scent of Italian snacks, although the only item of cuisine I was eyeing up, was the gelato.

The top of an out-of-focus nibbled mint chocolate ice cream in front of the Gelati Pepino 1884 shop in Italian alley in Camden Market.

An ice-cream from Gelati Pepino 1884

I didn’t care that it was January, ice-cream time is anytime.

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Around North Yard and Stables Yard

Camden Market has grown so much over the years, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. Strolling out into open air of the North Yard, the shops are slightly larger; however, no less quirky.

The cobbled courtyard of the North Yard of Camden Market, home to artisan food stores with parasol covered benches outside.

Shops in the North Yard at Camden Market

Along here are even more food stalls, there is such an incredible selection of freshly prepared dishes, you are truly spoilt for choice. For those of you with a sweet tooth, you’ll surely get a sugar rush at Hans & Gretel.

Playful statues of the titular characters frame the outside of the Hans & Gretel sweet store in the North Yard of Camden Market.

Hans & Gretel

A trip to Camden Market wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the iconic statue of Amy Winehouse. Ohh, and of course, Cyberdog, who could forget that?

A statue to the late music artist Amy Winehouse, complete with beehive hairstyle, in Camden Market.

Amy Winehouse statue in Camden Market

Two 6 metre tall metallic android figures flanking the entrance to Cyberdog fashion store, in one of the old industrial buildings in Camden Market.

Cyberdog in Camden Market

It’s good to talk!

Please share with us the markets you’ve enjoyed in London and drop us a comment below. We always love to visit more.

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Inspired to visit Camden Market?

Visit the captivating lanes of Camden Market, grab your overnight bag and enjoy a day rummaging around for that unique special buy.

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Comments

    1. Author

      It had been years since I’d last visited Camden Market, so I was pretty surprised too. It now seems so much bigger and great that a lot of it is undercover.

    1. Author

      Ahh thanks, there’s certainly nothing in bumbling around, it’s quite often the best way to see a market. It certainly does have an eclectic mix of visitors.

  1. Great photos! Camden is a firm family favourite with my kids, especially the neon subterranean rave shop, flanked by enormous silver robot men. I am a fan of the outdoor flower festooned bar area.

    1. Author

      Thank you. Camden is a great place for all ages, there always seems to be so much going on. I must admit I wish we would have stayed longer.

  2. It’s been fun to look at your pictures. I grew up in North London in the (ahem 80s and 90s!!) and spent my teenage years buying dyed Levi 501s, DMs and rings from Camden Market. It’s changed so much, but pleased to see from your pics that some of the random, quirky stalls still exist. #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      It was probably in the 90s that I was last there, so I was a bit surprised with the changes too. Some of the quirky stalls were great, a true essence of what Camden Market is about.
      The DM’s comment made me smile.

  3. I haven’t taken my children to Camden Market yet – I think they are just the right age now to enjoy this, I remember going there as a kid myself and taking my nieces when they were teens. I’m glad its retained its eclectic and eccentric mix! One to do next time we are in London. Love your Quick Links at the start as well, v handy. #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      Camden has such a friendly vibe and there’s so much going on, your children will certainly be kept entertained. Have fun when you do go, and thanks for the comment regarding the Quick Links, it’s great to have feedback.

  4. Well, you’ve certainly inspired me! ! can’t remember the last time I visited Camden Market and will certainly be going back based on this post. Looks so bustling, creative, delicious and fun. #farawayfiles

    1. Author

      Oh thanks, it has definitely seen some changes over the years, some may say good and bad. However, I think it’s a great place to visit and it had a really friendly atmosphere about it. Enjoy your visit.

    1. Author

      Oh that sounds like a fantastic excuse to return. There are some great stalls, I particularly like the ones that had spray painted t-shirts.

  5. I haven’t been to Camden Market for quite a few years – but my boys go from time to time. Looks like there have been a few changes but perhaps it hasn’t completely lost that old anarchic vibe!

    1. Author

      There have certainly been a few changes; however, I still felt that some there was a lot of character there, particularly around the Horse Tunnel Market.

  6. I haven’t been to Camden Market in absolutely ages. I used to go quite regularly to pick up fun bits of clothing and records. I think the kids would love a visit. Definitely adding to my London list for this year. Thanks for inspiring us on #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      I was pleased to see the record stalls, always fun flicking through the nostalgia LP’s.

      I think your kids would enjoy it too, there is so much to keep them occupied.

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