So I hate to admit it but London is sorta growing on me. There was one time when I only liked it because of Liz and Adrian, but then I discovered new friends at Brixton Market and I wondered if I was just hanging out in the wrong neighbourhoods in London.
I needed to settle down and do some work in London so I got an apartment with Wimdu for the week in Camden.
I heart Camden.
The first day I met up with my friend Chuck, who you may remember from my pouty Machu Picchu days. I love meeting up with old travel friends and Chuck is one of my favourite. He runs a music radio show in England and has one of my favourite Instagram profiles. He has such an eclectic sense of knowledge that he is the perfect tour guide so we wandered the streets with our phones taking photos while he explained the history of Camden and its cultural significance.
Camden has historical importance during the industrial era because of its location on the canal network and railway connecting major trade routes. Later, Camden Town became popular with the counter culture and was the place to buy alternative clothing ahead of the trends in the 70s. You can see remnants of that but the market, a series of stalls, has lost most of its edge with the influx of tourism although the area maintains a bit of credibility as it was the home to Amy Winehouse.
Camden Market is a series of open air markets that were once horse stables, tunnels and warehouses all connected by cobblestone streets.
It is a bit kitschy and very touristy and while everyone raves about it I was content to wander for an afternoon, but it wouldn’t be high on my list.
I know I’m becoming such a snob but it’s the 4th most popular visitor attraction in London with over 500,000 people there every weekend.
That said, if you go there knowing what to expect it can be a fun afternoon exploring the series of tunnels with the odd stalls ranging from Che t-shirts to S&M like costumes. Some stall owners are nicer than others allowing you to try things on to take photos while others have signs that no photos are allowed.
And so much tweed! I often took photos of textiles in Latin America and this reminded me that the textile of London has to be tweed!
We didn’t buy anything but it was a great introduction to my new neighbourhood. It reminded me that not all history needs to be stuffy. Just because I don’t want to go look at old pottery and body armour at the British Museum doesn’t mean I have to avoid learning anything about England. For that I’m grateful to Chuck and I’m thinking that just maybe I could learn to like London.
I absolutely love Camden! But I kinda already love London anyway to be fair, AND I’m English so it’s almost a given. I’m so excited to visit home for a few months this year and get to go to London again 🙂
As you might imagine, for a Brit who’s been going to London for something like 60 years – Yikes! was a babe in arms first time, honestly! – I’ve had an on/off love affair with the city my whole life. Whilst I did prefer Camden the way it was a few years back, as you say, it does still, somehow, manage to hang on to some of its atmosphere (some places just refuse to give it up, don’t you think?!) I went to the market twice in November & perhaps because it was close to Christmas enjoyed it. Mostly what we bought was food, though, loved trying all the different food stalls at the back – like eating your way around the world!
i think London will grow on you! I actually fell in love with it the first time I visited, and I love it every time since.
Camden Market is a great fun place to wander about aimlessly.
Camden is such a great example of the spell London slowly weaves. Pass through in a hurry and it’s a few curious-looking shops and stalls providing a break in the ever-present London concrete. Stop and start poking around, and…stuff happens. It unpacks itself and becomes excitingly messy and human. I keep having this experience in London when I slow down enough and stop thinking about where I’m meant to be going at the expense of where I *am*….
And yep, it really does help to have someone there who knows what you’re looking at & can provide context and depth to it all. Chuck sounds ideal. 🙂
We’ll turn you into a Brit yet, lady.
Not that I’d wish that on anyone, of course.
Camden market has to be one of my favourite places in London. Quite apart from the clothes and other things you can get there, there’s an excellent selection of international food stalls.
I had no idea Camden had all of these hidden gems. I can’t wait to go back next time I’m in the UK.
I used to live a short bus ride away from Camden and would once a week to walk around, explore and sometimes clear my head. It is my favourite market in the city and I’m glad you gave it a try.
It is best if you can go in the week to avoid the weekend rush, but definitely still worth it.
I’ve never been to this neighborhood but it looks like a wonderful place to explore. That tweed and those brick walls are fantastic. 🙂
I love to explore the neighborhood places when I visit any place for more than 3 days .. and I see you have done much good way of exploring… Everything is seen from a local person point of view! That’s awesome!
I have been to London sooooo many times but some how all missed and didn’t even really know about the Camden Markets until my last trip there! I like London more than you and love markets and often milling about in crowds of people and people watching so this is definitely a place that I want to visit again the next time I’m in London.
I love discovering all the hidden neighborhoods in large cities! Thats one reason I never tire of returning. London is a wonderful city!
When we were in London this summer, Camden Market was one of our teen daughter’s favorite spots.
I lived in London for four months several years ago and while I could appreciate and really enjoyed certain aspects of it, I never feel in love with it. I did like Camden though (and Notting Hill/Portobello road) even though they were busy/touristy!
I really enjoyed exploring here…especially the vintage and antique/bric-a-brac stores in the stables part of Camden market…did not know that bit of history though!
I have such a bad view of London, even though I have never been there. It’s mostly due to the kids in my college that studied abroad their, including my ex. However, I do have a beautiful necklace that came from the Camden Market. It’s the only thing I didn’t give back/get rid of from my ex. Somehow, since he got it in London when was basically cheating on me, I felt like it was owed to me. I just wore it yesterday!
It seems I drove right by you on my way to Belfast! Glad to hear you’re on this side of the pond for a few weeks! 🙂
Why do all of London’s youth look like they either A) just stole a car, or B) are about to steal a car?
Hahahah. heheheh. Tis not true, I declare. Tis but the chavs in their lair 😉
I just love Camden Town. Is the most bizarre place in the world!!
I enjoyed London a lot more than I expected to! (Ditto, Paris, which I actually prefer to London.)
We never made it to Camden sadly, but Notting Hill was fun 🙂
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