Camden Town, Lock and Market, London
A visit to Camden Town is a must if you want to see an alternative side of London and maybe buy an unusual bargain. I took the tube to Camden Town and walked up Camden High Street past its unique and crazy shop frontages to the market at Camden Lock.
Camden Lock Market is a great place to indulge in some street food and browse the arts, crafts and books. They have loads of food stalls here with diverse cuisines from all over the world. I bought a dish from the stall that sold Peruvian dishes (a spicy beef dish with rice and potatoes) and it was very filling, tasty and decent value at £6. I then made my way to the historic Stables Market which had many stalls set out like a bit like a souk, appearing to specialise in vintage clothing, fast food, crafts and assorted tourist tat. Stables Market is also home to a great shop called Cyberdog which is a shopping experience in itself with its neon lights, loud techno music, podium dancers and futuristic facade.
I will definitely be making a return visit to Camden Markets and will stay longer next time. The couple of hours I spent there this time was nowhere near enough.
When visiting the town of Camden in the North-West of London, you cannot miss the lock in the Regent's canal. The lock is the only twin-lock remaining on the canal and it was constructed between 1818 and 1820. The official name is "Hampstead Road Lock 1".
Camden's main street passes over the lock with an ever crowded bridge.
The Camden Roundhouse was built in 1847 as a turntable engine shed or roundhouse designed by architects were Robert Stephenson and Robert B. Dockray. The roundhouse main item was the turntable. That device was necessary as the early steam locomotives only could operate in forward motion.
Besides the turntable the roundhouse had a maintenance and repair part.
The roundhouse was only in use till 1855, because soon the locomotives became to long to fit on the turntable and reverse operation also was introduced.
In the 1960's the roundhouse was transformed into a theater with live music events and more.
First as an art centre, later as a main venue for punk and in the 2000's fully restaurated into a theater with workshop rooms.
The roundhouse even operates its own Internet radio station.
I visited Camden Lock and Market via the Regent's Canal Towpath from Regent's Park. I went on a Sunday and it was extremely busy at the market - too busy for my comfort so I've retreated in an artisan ice-cream shop for a coffee and to read my book before returning to Regent's Park. I'd love to return but will do during a quieter time, perhaps during the week.
Camden Lock Market is opened daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
If you come to Camden Town - youn will love it.
It's multicultural and there's a lot to see...
Especially the different markets...
I can just say it's worth a visit and it depends on what you prefer if you will visit all of them.
It's just a little list - what markets are situated in Camden Town...
It's of course no complete list - just the ones I enjoyed and could recommend.
There is a market in Islington, called the Camden Passage market. Despite the name it has nothing to do with the famous Camden Market. The market dates back to 1960.
It is an antique market, and by the way I love antique, so I seek out such markets in London and where ever I go. The Camden Passage market is one of London´s leading antique markets.
I love this area of London, Islington, I don´t know what it is, but it has always fascinated me, so I have visited this market several times. There are so many shops and cafés here in this passage and in this area, that it is so much fun visiting it. It has the Portobello Road market feel to it in a way, but on a much, much smaller scale and without the floods of tourists.
Opening hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays from 09:00-17:30.
Camden Market is one of London’s largest weekend tourist attractions, offering fashions, exotic foods and a rich diversity of people. The area of Camden has been described in the literature of Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Mary Shelley- highlighting its importance to the culture of London. We visited on a Sunday in December but even though it was busy.
The area surrounding the market has a diverse history. Regents Canal was built through Camden at the end of the 19th century. The canal was a vital supply of produce for London- warehouses and production lines soon appeared in Camden where goods were processed before being sent further down the canal to the City.
Camden enjoyed only a brief spell of prosperity, as rail and road soon became a less expensive way of transporting produce. Many of the warehouses and processing plants were closed down and the area was left to decay.
In 1970 an idea to use the Camden area as a market space was formulated. The British Waterways agreed to lease out some of the land and buildings in Camden and Camden Market was born. The success of the Market brought more and more stalls to the area.
Today Camden Market consists of four separate markets, hundreds of stalls and many permanent shops. The Market becomes a hive of activity every weekend and attracts shoppers from right across the Capital.
Camden is in northwest London and can be easily reached by tube or bus. Coming out of the tube station we found ourselves immediately in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the market. Next to the station is the Buck Street Market. Stalls here are so tightly packed together that it is a relief to come out the other side. Teenage merchandise abounds accompanied by masses of tourist merchandise.
Over the road from the Buck Street Market is the Inverness Street Market specialising in fruit and vegetables and thankfully spaced out better. Stalls even here though have popped up selling tourist tat.
Camden Lock Market was really what I was most interested in. For one thing it had a more historical setting being clustered around the canal lock area. On the canal many colourful barges still sit although the surroundings are very different from their heyday. Orphanage kids were once transported up this canal to work in the ‘ dark satanic mills’ of Lancashire. Warf buildings once full of merchandise for transportation are now full of market stalls.
Camden Lock consists of a number of small shops and stalls with both inside and outside sections to it - you can buy clothing, cards, small gifts, furniture, toys, shoes and books. It is a much more arts and crafts-style market than the others. There are lots of Jewellery stalls inside, which sell some unusual and vintage pieces.
Unfortunately, many of the markets in Camden do seem to be selling a lot of the same items. My wife was looking for a handbag and even I could see that the same bags were appearing on numerous stalls and shops. The shops and the Buck Street and Inverness Street Markets are the biggest culprits here, with the other markets retaining a little more of their individual identities.
If you visit Camden have a good look around. Don’t just stay around the station. It’s quite a big area and there’s lots of shops and stalls, some quite hidden away.
Overall Camden is a superb place. Its fun and won’t cost you loads of money. It’s a really interesting place.
If you are looking for something different, Camden Town is the place. From a very basic street market with the usual clothes, bags and shoes to the more exotic and classic covered market. From Goth clothes to fluorescent disco gloves.
Camden Town is a very interesting place in London. It is completly different to other streets like the Oxford Street with his "normal" shopping-shops. In Camden Town are a lot of small shops where you can buy souvenirs and clothes. The shops offer many different printing t-shirts, pullovers and there are also shoe-stores.
It is worth a visit, because the streets are so busy and there are so many interesting things to see.
You'll get a lot of new impressions if you visit Camden Town!
Camden High Street should not confuse those who visit the area. While it may be a high street, there is not much High Street about this particular thoroughfare. True, this is a major shopping area, but it lacks many of the so-called High-Street chains, and it preserves the funky and alternative sub-culture feel of the Camden Markets. Rather than Marks and Spencer or Top Shop, Camden High Street is lined with record shops, tattoo parlours, sub-culture clothing stores and, yes, shops that cater to drug cultures. The popularity of the area, combined with the gentrification of some sub-cultures, mean that it is not hard to find chic restaurants serving Brazilian fusion or sushi on side-streets, but the main drag continues to be brashly and unabashedly low-brow British.
While the Lock Market may be the more picturesque of the Camden Markets, the Camden Stables Market is the largest and more historic of the two. Named after the Stables and Horse Hospital that was on this site until the Canal became mechanized, this area specializes more in clothing and housewares than the Lock Market. Still, there are no brand stores here, and the merchants are a healthy mix of itinerant sellers and permanent shops. An enclosed area was constructed in the late 2000s, and now the area has a more permanent feel to it, but that does not diminish its appeal to counterculture. While disputes continue to rage about the redevelopment of the area, it is fairly certain that the popularity of Camden Stables Market, and the entire Camden Markets area, as an alternative to the sanitized commercial culture of other high streets will ensure that at least part of its original character will continue to be maintained for the foreseeable future.
Camden Markets are a collection of various commercial areas around the Regent’s Canal and Camden High Street area that are best known for their embracing counter-culture and their offering of various items and services that appeal to subcultures such as rockers, goths, punks and other groups that are usually identifiable by both their music and their modes of dress. The Camden Lock Market is perhaps the most famous of the grouping, as it is located along the water’s edge and includes both tchotchke/miscellany sellers and a rather large food court. The markets have proven to be accommodating and flexible, and rather than Camden Lock Market beginning to feel like a commercialized replica of whatever the initial market was, it has allowed for all manner of handicraft sellers and local artisans to set up shop and offer their wares. Certainly, there is no shortage of crap, but the Lock Market still has a feel of a flea market, rather than a carefully managed craft bazaar. The food court has also embraced the city’s diversity, and you will easily find stalls that sell Brazilian, Indian, Japanese, Arab and other cuisines beside stolid English fare. Don’t miss the chance to eat on the back of a fake motorcycle!
North of Euston station is an area called Camden Town, where a canal passes through the area, and under the High Street. Camden Town is a bohemian area, where many cultures and nationalities live in harmony. There are several ways of reaching Camden, by bus (No 24 runs from Paddington station), underground (Camden Town station on the Northern Line), or by walking from the North London Train terminals Euston, Kings Cross or St Pancras.
The best way to explore the area is by walking, the High Street has an interesting collection of Shop fronts, several markets, a walk by the canal, and interesting pubs and international restaurants.
My son and I had an oriental buffet in a cafe called Qine, we enjoyed beer in a courtyard pub called the Worlds End, and had coffee in a coffee bar in the Stables Market.
I think everyone must visit this lovely part of London.
The many markets are spread out & can cater to practically every need. Lots of eateries, cafes, restaurants, clothes & garment stores, reputed bars, tattoo artists, funky shoes, souvenir stores, health foods, music stores, specialist dress shops, etc.
The Lock also adds to the look, feel, and vibe of the place. If you wish take the Canal ride of the most scenic & beautiful stretch of the Grand Union Canal: from Camden Lock to Little Venice (Warwick Avenue) due west, via Regent's Park. This is a 45 minute ride, with an adult return costing 7 GBP. On the way you'll pass some gorgeous mansions with their gardens extending down to the canal-side.
There are various locks in Camden, so it offers the chance to see these in operation! Observe how a barge approaches, then it enters the lock (enclosure) and the gates are closed behind the barge. Next the water level rises... in no time it reaches the level of the body of water that was originally at a higher altitude. Next the front gates are swung open for the barge to continue it's upstream journey. The same process is applied for a journey in the opposite direction, where a barge enters the lock with water at a higher level which is subsequently emptied till the level matches the downstream section. Great fun to watch & learn ;-)
There are market stalls with lots of fast-food joints, and many have really quirky seating arrangements - on top of a line of scooters cut in half and stuck to a wall or railings overlooking the Canal.
Also there are nice cafes overlooking the canal, including ones with a high open terrace, to sit and just relax with a drink while you watch the world pass by ;-)
*** This place is so popular that Camden Town tube station only serves as 'alight only' on Sundays till 1730 hours. So for your return simply walk either north to Chalk Farm, or south to Mornington Crescent, each being a mere 5 minute walk away, and both served by the Northern Line.
Camden is a funky neighbourhood in north London. It's eclectic, colourful and crowded. Camden suffered a bad fire a few years ago but has most definitely bounced back. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest times, Mondays are pretty quiet. Many of the market stalls and shops are open through the week but the weekend is the real experience.
The high street has lots of colourful shops and shop fronts to see as well but the markets themselves are the attraction. There are actually a number of markets in the area, from two on the streets, the high street and Inverness Street, the huge Camden Lock market overlooking Regent Canal and the older and just as interesting Camden Stables market a little further up where Camden High Street turns into Chalk Farm Road.
All the markets have a wide assortment of booths and stalls where you can buy new and old, vintage and up and coming designer. The weekends will be crowded, mind you, so if crowds make you feel claustrophobic, it might not be the place for you but if you brave the throngs, you could be well rewarded. There are lots of treasures to be found and plenty of food stalls for a cheap meal. You can try many types of ethnic cuisine at affordable prices.