Forget about the brand boutiques, the overpriced and pompous “Harrods” and the squalid flea markets. In many people’s eyes, shopping in London begins and ends with Camden.
You may want to prepare, because Camden is like nothing else in the city, and may bore its way into your consciousness quicker than you’d think: it has everything.
You’ll know where to go as soon as you step off the Tube at Camden. Hundreds of bodies, adorned in paint and glitter, with crazy hair and even crazier clothes. Goths crawling up the stairs hunting for bargains on vintage clothing or the latest piercing to add to their collection. There aren’t many places in London that attract such diverse crowds.
The markets themselves are fascinating, but before you start shopping you should visit one of the nearby pubs; we recommend the Elephant’s Head or the Monarch, where wannabe rockers and local celebrities will mingle. Good beer and good company will calm any nerves you have of visiting the markets themselves (and perhaps staying around for the nightlife!).
The first stop is the clothes market, the Electric Ballroom; nearly sixty stalls with fashionable clothes, second hand items and exclusive wears sewn by hand. But keep in mind this particular part is only open on Sundays, and the entrance is rather hidden away among the buildings on the right hand side of Camden High Street.
The huge open air market of Camden Lock is more accessible, and is a perfect place to pick up souvenirs and T-shirts to present to friends and family back home. There may be one or two suspicious characters muttering something unintelligible under their breaths, but this is hardly exclusive to Camden; they’ll just look a bit weirder than the usual people that do!
Finally, you’ll come to Stables Markets. The road to this magical place is across a charming bridge and a dozen amazing shops where everything from bags to shoes and scarves to hats will be available. You’ll soon find yourself in a world of extraordinary goods: military uniforms, tutus, first editions of literary bestsellers, and a wonderful little shop called Cyber Dog. This one will be very popular with the anime fans among you.
After a day of running around the markets, feel free to go back and relax at the tea shops or pubs. Experiencing the grand odyssey that is Camden and being able to stand at the end of it is definitely something to be proud of.