A Brief Overview of Camden Lock; A Shoppers Haven at the Heart of Camden Town

Although the London Borough of Camden is awash with superb street shopping destinations, none beat the Camden Lock Market. The market is so popular it earned the title of London’s most famous street market. And looking at all it has to offer, its rise to fame is no surprise. Check out how it came to be, things to do, and what you need to know when you stop by after a tattoo in Shoreditch.

Camden Lock Market History Overview

Camden Market, popularly known as Camden Lock, is a collection of six adjacent street markets, each with something unique to offer. Long before it came to be, the area was just a stop off route for traders and travellers en route to Hampstead.

The establishment of the Regent’s Canal in the 1870s and its direct access to main trade routes turned the area into a famous commerce centre fueling the establishment of warehouses, production lines, and world-class gin distilleries.

Unfortunately, the arrival of the Northern Urban Motorway disrupted further growth, and the area remained largely undeveloped until 1974 when three entrepreneurs, with approval from the British Waterways, set up a pop market and began leasing stalls in the area.

Camden Markets began with Camden Lock, a cluster of 16 temporary arts, crafts, and antique workshops set by the Regent’s Canal that would only open on Sundays. As news of Camden Lock spread, other retail stalls, led by the Stables Market, began to crop up, transforming the area around Hampstead Road Lock in the Regent’s Canal into one huge street retail destination with everything avid shoppers might desire.

Things to Do at Camden Lock Market

If you’re only in East London for a day and can only afford the time to visit one street market in the area, head to Camden Lock in Camden Town. It’s one of the six Camden markets and why they all exist. Camden Lock market is a shopper’s haven. It has everything you might think of, from handmade jewellery, new and second-hand clothes, books, and music memorabilia to antique gifts and souvenirs.

The market also features many food stalls selling a variety of cuisines. If you prefer to munch on something familiar, the Old Lockkeeper’s cottage, one of the first 16 arts and crafts shops at Camden Lock, now houses a Starbucks. If you’re looking to enjoy a purely authentic street food experience and not shop, check out Inverness Street Market. It has the most food stalls in the area serving a range of vegan and non-vegan dishes and snacks. When time allows, check out other Camden Markets for more retail therapy. Places worth exploring around Camden Markets include:

  • Camden Town Library
  • Camden Comedy Club
  • Regent’s Park
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum

Know Before You Go

Camden Markets attract over 28 million visitors annually. That means you’ll have to elbow your way through a bunch of people, especially on weekends. Consider scheduling your visit during weekdays to skip the large crowds and enjoy a smooth-sailing shopping experience. Ensure you keep an eye on your belongings as a market this large is set to attract some pickpockets.