There are some places that you’re very unlikely to find me. Tourist traps are close to the top of that list (after shopping centres on school holidays and anywhere but bed after 10pm). Despite being a semi-tourist in London, I can’t justify battling swarms of loud, obnoxious, slow-walking, path-obstructing tourists just to take a photo with a landmark before running to the nearest tube station to escape.
Despite this aversion, we decided to spend a few hours at the Camden markets last weekend. The weather has been amazing over the past few weeks so it seemed crazy not to exploit this and spend Sunday outside. Honestly, the markets were not super touristy but are popular so bound to attract crowds.
The Camden markets are close to Camden Town station, which is on the Northern line. Apparently, at some times in the afternoon, this station is exit-only so when we returned home we had to walk to an overground station instead. Plan your journey!
Be sure to get cash out before you travel to Camden. For some reason, despite the area being renowned for cash-only markets, there were very few cash machines (this is what ATMs are called over here) in the area. I can sense a business opportunity. The first one we found wasn’t working (presumably it had run out of cash due to high demand) so after a walk we found one, which charged a few pounds (this is rare in London), across the road from the Morrisons petrol station on Chalk Farm Road.
The market was surrounded by walls, yet mainly outdoors, with multiple levels crossing over each other forming some underground areas. The whole area resembled a maze. Stalls were extremely varied and contained food, clothing, hats, jewellery, alternative/hippy decorations, leather, and so much more.
We were mainly interested in the food so beelined for the area that looked like it contained the most lunch options. This was on the top level. After doing a loop, we bought some pizza (a huge slice!) and a falafel pita. The wait for the falafel was a little bit longer than expected, but the care and love that went into assembling my pita made it worth waiting. The staff were so lovely and were handing out free falafel balls to the waiting crowd. There was also a bowl of free pita crisps for those waiting. A range of fillings were on offer – I chose lettuce, tomato, red onion, red cabbage, pickles, hummus (a nice pink colour) and “magic sauce” as well as falafel which they were making by hand and frying in the store. They also offered a few different chilli and chutney sauces, which looked delicious, but I didn’t want to risk watery eyes and a burning mouth without ample water on hand. It was the most amazing and fresh falafel I’ve ever had!
After lunch we looked around at the stores but nothing took our fancy. We ended up downstairs in a section smelling strongly of incense so decided to make our way back up for dessert. There were so many dessert options that it took a while to decide what to buy. Churros, Dutch pancakes, crepes and a few other delicious-looking treats all smelled and looked amazing. We ended up choosing a coffee shop because it was heated and we had again worn shorts on this deceptively sunny day. The store served great coffee and a range of sweet treats.
Definitely check out the markets (and try the falafel, it was seriously the best I’ve had) but prepare yourself for the crowds. It’s not extreme but if you’re like me even a few too many people walking too slowly can ruin my day.
I’m renowned for being a technology and social media late-adopter. Seriously, I just got Instagram a few months ago and my phone doesn’t even support Snapchat. Gradsabroad has just joined Facebook so if you want a more day-to-day snapshot of life in London and travels around Europe, give the page a follow. Thanks!