Just to clarify, I don’t mean Camden, New Jersey.
[Side note: This is an insanely belated post – I visited Camden in early October (2015)…]
The minute you walk out of the Camden Town tube station, you feel like you’ve truly entered a whole new world. Forget all you know about the posh and glamorous lifestyle of Londoners, because now you are in the Borough of Camden.
Camden is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, for it is truly an alternative – almost steam punk – sort of scene, which actually is kind of a running theme (or a similar theme) for much of East London from what I am told. If you are into alternative/punk/hipster type stuff, you’ll definitely enjoy your time in Camden. The streets are filled with art, graffiti, busking set ups, and tattoo/piercing parlors. You’re probably kidding yourself if you aren’t taken aback at first. For me, I was quite interested in all of this, especially in knowing a tiny bit about the borough’s rich artistic culture. [Fun fact: some of the greats, such as Amy Winehouse, once called this town home.] I was surprised to see how many tourists and locals there were in Camden, especially at the early hour that my friends and I arrived there. I feel like the majority of tourists (as did I) only knew about the market that existed in Camden, and not really much about it’s history and culture – I’m sure most of them must have been really shocked and wouldn’t have been surprised if they had cut their visit to Camden short because of how starkly different the atmosphere was. But I digress…
I was really excited to be in Camden. It was the first place that I visited which was outside of central London. It was also awesome to go with some friends from back home (both new and old) to explore the market together (though we eventually got separated). As we meandered our way over to the market we saw the iconic sign signaling our entrance to the market. The market itself is a crazy mix of everything from world foods to Medieval/gothic clothing. The hustle and bustle occasionally gets troublesome to navigate through, but I suppose that is all part of the experience (and should be expected on weekends). And if you have eclectic tastes like me, then you’ll really enjoy roaming around Camden. (I also got my first proper fish ‘n’ chips at Poppies – which was brilliant, definitely would recommend it!) From the enormous amounts of food stalls to check out, crafts & clothing vendors, and even a tiny book store, you’ll definitely need a good 2 hours (or more if you have the time) to truly roam around the market itself. If you’ve got the spare time, definitely venture out into Camden Lock/Town to get more of the borough’s non-touristy feel. All in all, a great short day trip with friends and most definitely a place to come back and visit again!