London’s Famous Camden Market

What we call Camden Market is in fact a number of different markets, but together they’re one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, especially at the weekend.

The area saw its first heyday with the completion of the Regent’s canal, which brought trade to the area. The Lock was an important crossing point, and commerce around it thrived. But, prosperity was short-lived. As cheaper and faster modes of transport became available, the canals became almost obsolete, and the area around Camden Lock fell into disrepair. We can only be grateful that the canal itself and the great warehouses were not lost forever. Nonetheless, they survived, and a regeneration of the area began in the 1970s.

Since then, Camden’s markets have gone from strength to strength. There are no less than four distinct markets, each with their own unique flavour, and a number of indoor venues which supplement the shopping space. Added to this, there are numerous shops, bars and restaurants. Camden is a utopia for shopping.

The most popular way to get to Camden is by Underground. Camden Town and Chalk Farm Road stations on the Northern Line are the nearest. The Tube can get quite claustrophobic at busy times, and there are bus and over ground services which might be a more comfortable option. In any case, Camden Market isn’t a good place to go if you’re put off by crowds. As its popularity has grown, its opening times have become longer and longer. It’s now open every day from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm, every day that is except Christmas Day.

As for the markets themselves, Camden Lock Market is the original, and perhaps the most famous. In its early days, back in the 1970s, it was almost exclusively an arts and crafts market. The range of goods on offer has diversified somewhat, but it still retains its arts focus. The conversion of nearby warehouse buildings, and the construction of new spaces built in a sympathetic style, has allowed this part of Camden to grow. For many, Camden Lock Market is the first place to head to.

The Stables Market is the largest individual market in Camden. It uses the old Pickford’s stable yards and distribution centre.

The main focus here is on home furnishings, especially hand-made, ethnic and second-hand house wares. In common with all other parts of Camden Market, the Stables Market also has a broad range of clothing stalls, including those catering for subcultures like Goths and Cybergoths. The traders of Camden are fiercely defensive of the unique and independent character of the market, and nowhere is this more true that at the Stables Market.

In the recent past, plans by major high stores to base themselves here have met with staunch resistance.

Elsewhere, Camden Lock Village is a smaller section of the market along the sides of the canal. Buck Street Market, the Electric Ballroom and Inverness Street Market can also be found nearby.

Slightly away from Camden, London’s scenic primrose hill, with its iconic views across the city, is only a short walk away. It’s a perfect place to unwind after a busy day of shopping, and a pretty good place to fly a kite as well.
Written by Mike who writes for and likes to blog about family holidays at you can follow him on twitter @payt

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