Skip to Content

The Insider’s Guide to Visiting Camden Market

The Insider’s Guide to Visiting Camden Market

Love This? Save and Share!

Camden is one of London’s best, if not the finest, market spots, where amazing grub, quirky fashion and cute knick-knacks co-exist in one blissfully harmonious area.  

Laying claim to the title of London’s most famous market – what’s come to be known as Camden Market is, in fact, a series of markets strung along Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road. 

An eclectic collision of counter-culture (much like Camden itself), street food eats and indie sellers touting artisan products, there’s nowhere quite like Camden Market, an easy explanation for why over 100,000 people descend on the markets each weekend. 

Prior to 1972, Camden Market as we know it today didn’t actually exist – there were a few stalls on Inverness Street but… that was pretty much it.

It was only in 1972 that two friends bought the derelict timber yard of T.E Dingwalls and set up Camden Lock Market – inviting a selection of craftspeople and antiques dealers to set up shop and sell from their stalls. 

Word spread and more and more sellers flocked to the market – by now one of the highlights of an area becoming known for counterculture and Punk Rock, in no small thanks to Dingwalls Dance Hall, which opened in 1973. 

So, if you’re planning your trip to Camden’s markets? Here’s what you need to know. 

The Camden Market Guide

Camden Lock Market 

Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market

Camden Lock Market

If you only have time to visit one of Camden’s markets, make it Camden Lock Market – one of London’s best-known weekend markets and the very spot where it all kicked off in 1972.

Independent artisanal makers are the big thing here. This market is blissfully free of the tat and generic stuff you’ll find in other markets around town, opting for a diverse range that encompasses handmade jewellery, accessories and cutting-edge fashions instead. 

That’s not where it ends though: you can – not to sound too generous – find pretty much anything in the maze of stalls that pop up throughout the day, whether that’s vintage vinyl records, second-hand books at Boom Cat Books or recycled furniture. 

You can also get your hair cut at Chop Chop Salon where you pay based on how long you’re in the chair rather than by your gender or service, while you can light up your life with a visit to Blaze On, where you can cover all of your fairy light needs. They stock more than 100 types in a range of cool shapes, from angels to hearts, butterflies to cartoon characters.

And, of course, being British, we can’t resist the various loose-leafed-tea charms of the Camden Tea Shop, which has two a couple of spots in Camden. Our fave is the Tea Bar, which comes with seating. Stocking more than 100 varieties of infusions and loose leaf, as well as cute mugs and caps, whatever your brew, Camden Tea has the one for you.

Kerb Camden
Kerb Camden

If you’re hungry, head to the Kerb food stalls down by the water. We highly recommend The Mac Factory which offers killer mac n cheese turbocharged with some of the best toppings you’ll find in town.

If that’s not your vibe, no problem. Why not grab a New York-style hot dog at Oh My Dog, where the Chilli-Steak Dog is the top dog on the menu. Best of all, you’ll come away with plenty of change from a tenner.

However, our absolute fave is Stakehaus where you can grab incredible steak frites that almost defy description. Trust us, whether you choose to top your steak and rosemary fries with an egg or not, you’ll head away 100% satisfied.

The Stables Market 

Stables Market
Stables Market

Another biggie in Camden’s lineup of markets, the Camden Stables Markets traditionally had more of a vintage focus than the lock market. That’s still loosely true today, though there’s plenty of new shiny stuff too. 

If you hadn’t guessed from the name, this used to be an area filled with stables and horse tunnels (there was even a horse hospital) to service the dutiful steeds that made their living on the canal. 

It’s a bit more boho than the other markets in Camden, and is a big destination for gothic/alternative clothing. Nowhere sums up the diverse nature of Stables Markets better than the long-established Camden institution that is Cyberdog

Across multiple floors, with pumping techno beats that’ll either have you body popping through the endless racks of rave apparel, festival accessories, and leisurewear. If you’re looking to liven up your love life head down to the adult section on the bottom two floors for a cheeky little browse.

We also love Mina’s Gems and its range of cool jewellery, and the Bandai Namco Cross store where you can take a huge step back in time with their range of tamagotchis. The other gem we can’t get enough of in Stables is The Moomin Shop where everything is fully devoted to Tove Jansson’s curious characters from Finland.

And if you’ve ever wondered where Elton gets his specs from, wonder no more. General Eyewear is an absolute treasure trove of fashionable eyewear dating right back to the dawn of the 19th century. Don’t expect to pick up a bargain here, most specs are custom-designed and will set you back a cool £500 or so, but it’s still a fantastic place to check out. `

You’ll find fewer food stalls at Stables, but one we can’t recommend highly enough is the Argentinian steak bar Meat Point where their meat is cooked for 12 hours before being stuffed into a sandwich, or placed atop a succulent salad. Their smoked paprika chip sides will have you chef kissing your way through this trendy area.

Camden Lock Village 

This market is currently closed at the time of writing for redevelopment, but when it reopens, it will be home to more than 500 individual retail units that will house a vast range of independent stores, stalls, and eateries.

Situated on the site of what used to be the Canal Market until it was destroyed by a fire in 2008, Camden Lock Village was first redeveloped to sit alongside residential apartments and office units. While there’s no particular focus on Camden Lock Village like there is in other markets in and around Camden, we’re enormously excited to take a stroll through once again as soon as it reopens and discover all the new treats on offer. 

Inverness Street Market

Although it’s not as well-known as some of its larger counterparts further along Camden High Street, Inverness Street Market is actually Camden’s original market, being the only one dating back to before the 1970s. 

Indeed, its origins date back to long before the turn of the 20th century when it began life as a fresh produce market but the focus has shifted significantly in the past decade. 

Not many of the original food sellers are still here, with the final fruit and veg seller moving out shortly after 2010. While you can still grab some decent grub to take home with you, the focus of the market has shifted significantly with the pop-up temporary stalls much more devoted to clothes, shoes, bags, and the odd stall stacked with generic London souvenirs.

We love visiting this old-style market which is full of traditional market stalls and traders, even if the original fruit and veg is long gone, and feels much more like something out of Eastenders than the permanent sheds, crates, or outlets that make up the rest of Camden’s markets.

Quick trivia fact: George Francis, who went on to coach a huge number of successful world champion boxers including Frank Bruno cut his teeth as a porter at Inverness Street market in the 1940s.

Buck Street Market / Container Park 

Buck Street Market
Buck Street Market

In days gone by, Buck Street Market was the spot to buy vintage clothing – but after becoming tired and unloved, the cool retro vibes were largely replaced by mass-produced tat.

That was all before it opened in its current guise in mid-2020 – as a container park in the style of Boxpark, yet with a friendlier attitude. The 88 recycled shipping containers have signed up to a sustainability ethos that includes a zero plastic policy. 

Focusing on sustainability and small businesses, Buck Street market remains true to the Camden ethos of counter-culture and alternative lifestyles, but in a thoroughly modern way. 

Check out the awesome and family-friendly Freddie’s Magic store, we absolutely guarantee you won’t be disappointed and might even see a trick or two while you’re there.

If sustainability is your thing, and why wouldn’t it be, some of the magical treats in Buck Street Market include eco-conscious and sustainable Mexican groceries and ingredients at La Marketa, awesome upcycled vintage outfits at Reworked Camden, American streetwear at Ameri-Camden, and Turkish jewellery at Janti Jewel.

So, while you might visit for ethical shops and eco-friendly products, you’ll definitely want to stay for the tasty eats and drinks.

Curry Up Camden serves some incredible Indian-style street food dishes that ooze flavour and stunning aromas, while Keto Street produces some of the best low-carb Pizza anywhere in London. 

We love Pho Kae for their Vietnamese-style noodles, and their sweet crepe and bakery counter, while Clean Kitchen is one of our fave vegan spots in town. Once you’re done eating, wash it all down with a bubble tea that’s to die for from Temple of Boba!

Hawley Wharf 

In recent years Camden’s markets have begun to sprawl further along the canal towards Kentish Town Road. The buildings around this stretch have been tarted up and turned into office and ground-floor retail units.

Hawley Wharf has a less edgy and grassroots feel than other Camden markets, but it’s still well- worth checking out. 

Food-wise, it’s a great spot for a sit-down meal rather than the street food found at Camden Lock and The Stables. We love The Cactus Noodle Bar for their awesome noodle dishes. While China strongly influences the food, the Taiwanese beef noodle soup is stunning. 

While you’re there, you have to try T’s Deep Fried Scoop – yep that’s fried ice cream, and it’s not as weird as it sounds. Think something baked Alaska with batter instead of meringue. You might not like it, but it’s got to be sampled.

As for shopping, the advantage of sleek brick-and-mortar stores means that the shops in Hawley Wharf tend to lean more in the boutique direction. You’ll find designer sunglasses, and handbags among souvenir shops and kooky places like Koko Art – a shop selling custom, hand-painted shoes.

Meanwhile, if you’re into your Anime, then Camden Anime has merch and every collectible you could possibly want.

Yet, it’s the fashion that keeps us coming back time and time again, with Tees & Hood offering exactly what the name suggests, Out of Time ticking the retro and vintage apparel box, Moda Camden offering enchanting prints and patterns, while Nadia Nasro’s eye-catching handmade jewellery is ethereal, other-worldly, and enormously distinctive.

Practical Information and Map for Visiting Camden’s Markets 

Camden Market Opening Times 

Generally, the markets are open daily from 10 am until dusk. However, some traders only trade Friday to Sunday. 

Practical Tips

  • Most of the shops along Camden High Street are open every day, but if you want to catch the market in full swing, visit from Friday to Sunday when most of the stalls are trading. 
  • It does get incredibly busy – try visiting early to mid-morning on the weekend or on Friday for the full market experience without having to negotiate overwhelming crowds. Don’t hold your breath though. 
  • If an item has a marked price, you can try your hand at some gentle haggling but don’t be surprised if you don’t get very far (unless you’re buying more than one item when sellers are inclined to be more flexible). 
  • The area around Camden’s markets is a bit of a hotspot for pickpockets – don’t carry around more cash than you need and keep your valuables secure and out of sight.. 
  • You can walk between all the markets on this guide easily, so don’t expect to spend all day in just one spot. In fact we encourage you to see what each different market has to offer. You can easily see everything in a single day or long afternoon.

Getting There 

  • The nearest tube stations are Camden Town and Chalk Farm – Start at Camden Town and visit all the markets en route to Chalk Farm. Kentish Town and Mornington Crescent are also close by. Beware that access to the platforms in Camden Town station is via 96 stairs during busy periods – there’s no escalator access for those going into the station.
  • You can also hop on the overground at Camden Road which takes you towards Highbury & Islington or Hampstead. 

Map of Camden’s Markets

Christmas trees
Where to Buy Christmas Trees in London: Brilliant Pick Your Own Spots
Dalloway Terrace
10 Cosy Winter Terraces in London