Aged 16, I stood in London with my friend, and gazed around at the people going by and at the crazy coloured shop fronts. We were stood at the station by Camden Market. As we walked towards the stalls, someone offered my friend some magic mushrooms. We bought a tray of Chinese food and sat on a wall to eat it. Minutes later, a big black car pulled up with Sharon Osbourne in it. We were sat outside MTV studios. The sights, the smells, the cheap food, the feeling that we were rebels… from that moment on Camden Market has been my favourite place in the world and no trip to London is complete without a visit.
Camden is no longer the lawless place it once was – in fact it’s pretty mainstream these days. But even so, it’s a great place to shop – if you know what you’re doing! Here’s my Camden guide, to help you through the maze!
As you step out of Camden Town station, turn right and head down the road. There is one big market on your right. Use this market as a good preview of what’s coming up – but don’t buy from here until the end. The reason being is that the stuff here is more expensive and you’ll see the same items down the road for a lot cheaper. A novice will buy a t-shirt from here for 15 pounds then find it for 7 or 8 down the road!
If you do want to buy something from here, haggle. Never accept the first offer as it’s always overpriced.
Along the side of the road there are lots of pretty cool shops. Punky Fish has always been popular here. I was just sad to see they’ve taken their super cool “manga” style mannequins away and replaced them with boring ones. The shops along here are a good place to find cheap shoes.
Cross over the road and the markets continue inside a small building by the canal. This is the place to buy handmade jewellery.
And outside the back of this, there is some awesome food and nice places by the canal to sit and eat. The tea shop up the top of the building is a recommendation of mine!
The last stage of the journey I can’t help you much with – you go into the biggest market at the back of the canal building and just walk until you get lots. There are lots of different areas (like “designers’s row”) but the best thing is to just keep walking and discover amazing stalls. The food isn’t as good round this part (the stuff by the lock is better) but for home made clothes, Korean imports and just general awesomeness, this is THE place to be.
I feel as though Camden has grown up with me. When I was a rebellious (hahahaha…) kid, it was the place that made me feel like I was breaking rules. With the fire that happened a few years ago, Camden has grown and become more mainstream – added Asian fashion, and added to its culinary areas. It’s really the spirit of London, with such unique people and amazing views.
If you are visiting London and like walking and shopping, you need to go to Camden! You can get to it on the Northern Line.