Best food: Camden market, London edition

By David Bolaños on Jul 28, 2022

Camden Market is a vibrant and busy experience that has transcended the ages. Since the 1970’s millions of people have come to visit this cultural London hotspot every single year, and its popularity has only grown through the decades.

Stalls range from flea market-style handmade goods, like jewelry and clothing items, to fresh street food: some of the best food Camden market (or all of North London) has to offer.

Now though, with the addition of Buck Street Market, Camden really has it all. Creating comfortable sit-down spaces with shelter from the cold of winter, Camden markets are more inclusive than ever.

Those visiting the area will likely include a visit to Camden markets as part of a wider itinerary on your trip to the UK’s capital city. London is a great destination for short-stay vacationers, who can make the most of the vast public transport network and get around all of their must-see locations.

London is also ideal for digital nomads, who like to move at a slow pace and work alongside their travels. In fact, England’s capital is at the forefront of the tech scene and leading the way with remote working culture. With plenty of coworking spaces, it could be the ideal place to settle for a month or two while you ‘practice your British’ and explore the sights of Camden, and beyond.

Selina Camden

Join a community of like-minded people who live, work, and explore on their terms at Selina Camden!

What is Camden market famous for?

When we talk about the market, it’s not exactly a Camden farmers market like you’d find in the US. Instead, Camden market is known for its gothic and punk vibes- which might be a shock to some.

Camden’s market originally began in 1973, formed as a few stalls in the back rooms of local pub Dingwalls, which is still bustling today. The original 16 stalls were only open on Sunday mornings, but the growing punk music scene in the area added to the attractions. With the roundhouse so close by, before long, Camden market became a 7-day per week affair.

Its fame began to attract young designers, and Camden has now evolved into the birthplace of new micro trends in the punk fashion world. Even today, tourists will find the Camden punks, a group of mohawk-wearing activists, protesting with peace signs painted on their jackets (or bare chests).

Now though, the entire Camden market area is more gentrified than ever. With big brands basing themselves here in order to capitalize on the tourist rush, local names are losing out. Still, many of the original market trader brands are around today and visitors will find a long list of things to do in Camden other than the market.

Where is Camden Market, London?

The markets can be found in London’s borough of Camden, which is one of 32 different London boroughs. It is located to the North of the city’s center, close to Hampstead Heath and Russel Square.

The city works in zones, which was originally introduced to help calculate transport fares on the London underground.

Now though, zones have become synonymous with how centrally located various destinations are, with Zone 1 being the most central, and zone 6 containing the London locations that are the furthest from the center. Camden is in fare zone 2 on the map.

Of course in London, Camden market is not the only attraction. Other nearby sights include:

  • Primrose hill
  • Regent’s park
  • Harry Potter’s platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station
  • O2 forum at Kentish town

For those looking to explore more of the UK on their trip, most will head north towards Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool to see something different.

How to get to Camden Market in London?

If you’re not staying in Camden itself, then most people will get catch a London underground, or tube train. The closest stations are Camden Town, to the east, Mornington Crescent to the South and Chalk Farm Road to the North.

The simplest way to reach Camden market from central London is to hop on the Northern line, northbound and get out at Camden Town station. From the station, turn right and simply walk the length of the street until you reach the Lock Bridge. Here, the markets are easily viewable.

Or, you could avoid all the hassle by simply opting to stay in Camden itself. The Selina Camden has been awarded a great guest experience and has all the amenities to make London feel like home. Plus, it’s only a 7-minute walk to the Camden market.

Where to find food in Camden market

There are a couple of sections to Camden market, including the Buck Street Market, the Camden food stalls behind Dingwalls and then the old flea market location to the right of the lock bridge. Since covid, however, the majority of the flea market is now gone.

So now, a large part of the market is filled with steaming hot, delicious foods to try. Market stall owners will wave skewers of samples to passersby and for those wanting to collect a freebie from the entire market, it’s not a hard task.

The street food stalls are found to the left of the Camden lock bridge, and weave between the alleyways. Here, tourists will find anything from fresh Chinese noodles to viral hot chocolate and vegan burgers.

Down the road from the main site is Buck Street market. It’s formed of many shipping containers that have been repurposed as food venues and has been created to resemble the Box Park Shoreditch, another beloved London food location.

Providing shelter on a cold day, Buck Street market meets the quality of the rest of the food in Camden market. Moreover, visitors will find guaranteed seating here that cannot be said for other parts of the market.

Best street food stalls Camden

Are you ready for a bold claim?

Camden market food is the most diverse collection of global dishes that you can find all in one place. From Nutella and donut stalls to Indian street food, Camden market seriously has it all.

For a taste of Asia, head to Korean street food, a hybrid restaurant fusing Korean flavors with classic American dishes. Here, visitors will find Gimbap, which is a popular seaweed rice roll, alongside Korean fried chicken tenders, which are coated in juicy sweet sauce. The neighboring Kim’s Vietnamese hut offers a more traditional take on their cuisine, with an explosion of flavor in every mouthful of Pho for approximately £8.50.

Flying over to the Americas, Mexican grill Camden offers a taste of Latin America with loaded meat tacos dripping in awesome savory extracts. Those looking for a good cheese pull will have a fair shot here. Meat point presents delicate Argentinian steaks that are cooked for 12 hours. A meal here will set visitors back approximately £12.00.

On a hot summer’s day, there are ample cold food options to counteract the sweltering heat. Island Poke bar is a savory option with fresh sushi-grade tuna, salmon and other delicious fish. And if that still doesn’t cut it, many like to finish off their meals with a bowlful of gelato and a sip from the Camden magic juice bar. Either of these should set the hungry punters back about £5.00.

Best Camden market restaurants

Alongside street food stalls, Camden market is home to hundreds of restaurants with indoor seating and table service.

At the same location as the market stalls, Shakazulu can be found, London’s largest South African restaurant. Known as the ‘theatre of food”, this is a high-end luxury restaurant where the chefs perform a full showcase. The A La Carte menu features Wild Boar, Buffalo and Crocodile steaks for those looking to try something different. With sides and drinks included, a meal for one here would likely cost around £50 (service charge not included).

Camden’s restaurant guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Buck street market or the Chinese buffet on the main road. Here, tourists can sit down for up to 2-hours and eat an unlimited amount of food for just £9.99.

Powerplant is another notable restaurant in Camden, not least because everything on the menu is vegan and plant-based. For healthier choices, try the mixed Quinoa bowl or Cauliflower Katsu Curry.

Finally, Camden is also home to many of the chain restaurants that the people know and love. US visitors can find a taste of home at Taco Bell, while other well-known British stores like Wagamamas and Pret a Manger are also located on the main street between Camden Town station and the markets.

Best Camden pubs

As well as the Camden food market, there is another huge British tradition found in Camden: the public houses. Also known as pubs, there are four pubs on the main road:

  1. The Bucks Head
  2. The Elephants Head
  3. The Oxford Arms
  4. Dingwalls (Powerhaus)

Serving craft beers, the Bucks Head is the place to go for fans of the ale. Many of their selections include work with plant-powered breweries or local hophouses to ensure that the Bucks Head is as environmentally friendly as possible. With a live music area, attending this pub on a Friday or Saturday night will likely end in a sing-a-long with the performer of choice.

Established in the 19th Century, The Elephants Head is a truly old Victorian slice of Britain. The food menu contains pub classics such as jacket potatoes and pies, and the drinks menu contains a number of wines as well as beers. Attendance on a Wednesday evening is encouraged for those brave enough to take to the stage and perform on open mic night.

The Oxford Arms is a family-run pub, boasting homemade food and screens for days. Those wanting to enjoy the English soccer, rugby or cricket matches will find a comfortable seat and a great atmosphere at the Oxford Arms. The British classic, Fish and Chips, will set visitors back approximately £13. Don’t forget to wash it down with a pint!

Finally, Dingwalls is THE pub associated with Camden market. Now known as Powerhaus, this spot takes tourists back to where it all began in the 1970s with just 16 market stalls. Having been developed into an indie music venue, Powerhouse now offers classic pub foods, alongside gig-friendly snacks and aperitifs. Here, the entertainment is just as important as the food and drinks.

Most unique Camden market foods

While Camden is the perfect place to find the British classics like fish & chips, pie & mash or chicken tikka masala, there are some more obscure foods to be found here too. A quick search on Camden market London TripAdvisor will reveal some of the weird and wonderful bites at this location.

Starting off strong, most people will have seen the video of Chin Chin Labs that went viral in 2020. While the brand’s most innovative product is its nitro ice creams, it’s the hot chocolate that racked up views online over lockdown. Their signature 70% hot chocolate is super rich and topped with a mountain of fluffy marshmallow, then toasted to a warm golden brown color.

Another of the more unique pitches at Camden markets is Half Hitch, a gin distillery aiming to make the process totally transparent for its customers. Those who walk into the shop will be greeted by the smell of florals and botanicals, with the chance to sample a sip of one of the traditionally-made taster bottles. On some occasions, the staff will even provide a tour of the facilities, giving visitors a peek into the entire distilling process.

Finally, it’s important to mention that almost all of the food at Camden markets is certified halal. Anybody with dietary restrictions will know the struggle of asking for an ingredients list or allergens before they can get excited about some street food. This certification is a great way to give peace of mind to any Muslim visitors at the markets.

Card Payments only

A quick note to say that cash is pretty much redundant in the UK these days. While tourists might like to withdraw shiny notes at the nearest ATM, many of the stalls will accept cards only. In fact, a quick walk around the food Camden market stalls will reveal quite a few signs saying “card payments only”.

For US visitors, it’s also important to know that many vendors in the UK do not accept American Express. This might not be something that international visitors are prepared for before they arrive, so ensure you bring multiple debit and credit cards.

If your cards have a contactless function, this will be the easiest way to pay for food at Camden markets.

Prices at Camden market

We’ve discussed a few of the expected prices throughout this blog post, so hopefully, readers already have an accurate picture of what to expect. However, it is important to mention that prices at Camden market are more than average, compared to less touristic locations in the UK. Budget at least £5 for a drink, and between £8 and £15 for a meal.

Those lucky enough to visit on an evening when Camden night market (London’s best-kept secret) is running, will find similar prices but far less range in the available stalls. It’s a totally different experience and only happens once or twice per month.

Where to stay in Camden

For first-time visitors to London, we suggest staying in the heart of Camden itself at Selina, which conveniently holds a coworking space making London the perfect destination for digital nomads, as well as vacationers.

Not only does this put guests within walking distance to the market, but also the nearby attractions of the Roundhouse, Camden Comedy club, and the jazz club. Onsite features include the option between luxury private suites or social dorms, communal areas such as a stunning loft with balcony, and a kitchen.

Having said that, the London Camden market opening hours make it easy for tourists to commute into the borough too. A quick train ride on the Northern line makes Camden easily reachable from central London districts. Just watch the prices here, as inner-city London can be expensive.

Best food Camden market style

While it’s a shame that Camden flea market was a victim of 2020, many visitors are rejoicing and thanking the Gods over the packed setup of food stalls lining the street.

There is truly something for everyone at Camden. From self-proclaimed ‘Asian alley’ to Latin American fusion and British classics, Camden market food has something to suit all the tastebuds.

So book in with us at Selina Camden to explore London, your way.

Selina Camden

Join a community of like-minded people who live, work, and explore on their terms at Selina Camden!

Camden market, London FAQs

  • What time does Camden market open?

    Camden market opening hours in London are 10 am every morning. Fortunately, it’s open literally every single day of the year apart from Christmas, on the 25th of December. Camden lock market closes at 6 pm every day. On rare occasions every month, the sellers will remain open throughout the evening to provide a ‘night market’

  • How many days to spend in Camden?

    Honestly, tourists don’t need to allocate more than two days to explore Camden. As one of London’s smallest boroughs, most of the attractions here are within walking distance of each other. 

    After visiting Camden Market, London and the United Kingdom’s offerings continue to extend. We recommend at least another 4-5 days to see London, and then one week to see some other cities in the UK. Why not try Manchester, Liverpool, or Brighton?

  •  What day is Camden market best?

    Honestly, any day at Camden Market is great. It’s popular with domestic tourists as well as international travelers.  

    Just be careful if you visit Camden market (London) Saturdays or Sundays since the kids are out of school and most of the workforce also has their days off. Inevitably, the school holidays of July and August, as well as ‘half terms’ in the UK will also be busier times to visit Camden market.

  • Must-see UK destinations?

    After London, we recommend a visit to the North. Liverpool and Manchester are two Northern powerhouses with eclectic cultural hotspots. In Liverpool, check out all the Beatles memorabilia on Matthew Street, especially in Cavern Club where the band once performed. Alternatively, Manchester’s Northern Quarter is home to a great nightlife scene, with Albert Schloss and Escape to Frieght Island nearby. 

    To stay relatively close to London, both Brighton and Birmingham are only a short train ride away. In summertime, Brighton’s beaches are the place to be, whereas a trip during another season might be best-suited to Birminghams city life.

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