Camden Town – Where Every Day Is Pancake Day

Just a few steps from the Underground station it becomes apparent Camden Market is different.

Just a few steps from the Underground station it becomes apparent Camden Market is different.

LONDON’S MARKET HOTSPOT | Sharon Henry

When in London, do what the hipsters do and head to Camden Market. Actually it’s not just hipsters, the word has spread and now around 500,000 people visit each week making it London’s fourth most popular attraction. It’s a one-stop shop for quirky fashion, curios and international street food.

Even on our mid-week, Tuesday visit the place was still fairly busy. Spilling out of the cramped Underground station onto the high street you instantly see, hear and feel why. Camden, teeming with all walks of life, is lined with an array of shops and building facades so whimsically adorned they’re a feature in their own right.

Bold art on the walls above the streets.

Bold art on the walls above the streets.

More street art.

Loud and bold, these funky facades are a great feature.

Above our heads were giant sized shoes sticking out the wall, skin-tight leather trousers and belly-button rings. Art comes in all forms and these shop fronts are certainly creative, giving the street a ‘cool’ image.

Every Day is Shrove Tuesday

Having skipped breakfast we stopped at a pancake shop to warm and fill our bellies. I was introduced to street food crepes at Portobello Market (London) many years ago and have had a weakness for them since.

We watched as the ‘chef’ spooned and spread the batter on a flat skillet. Next he expertly flipped it, then slathered on Nutella, sprinkled almonds and sliced banana. All cooked within four minutes. What’s better than the smell of warm chocolate sauce? Eating it! Yum!

Our pancakes being prepared while we wait.

Our pancakes being prepared while we wait.

Darrin trying to not get his lips burnt with the cheese filling.

Darrin trying to not get his lips burnt with the cheese filling.

There’s a choice of sweet or savoury crepes; strawberry, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, ham, cheese and spinach.

Buck The Trend

If you’re thinking of adopting the never-out-of-fashion gothic or punk look, this is the place to go. There’s an eclectic range of shops and stalls selling army surplus goods, vintage, alternative, young designer creations, and even high street brands; actually, it’s fashion for everyone.

There are a number of tattoo and piercing parlours to finish off the look.

Leaflets are handed out on the street to tempt visitors into getting some ink.

Leaflets are handed out on the street to tempt visitors into getting some ink.

A unique style for shoes and handbags makes window shopping very exciting.

A unique style for shoes and handbags makes window shopping very exciting.

Here I am doing the difficult research work for the blog!

Here I am doing the difficult research work for the blog!

Canal boats moving through the Camden sunshine lends to the romantic setting.

Canal boats moving through the Camden sunshine lends to a romantic setting.

The determined punters!

The determined punters!

We moseyed toward the lock and river, still munching our generously sized pancakes, and peered down on romantics being serenaded onboard a punt boat. The boatman seemed to be having trouble building up momentum and the singer sounded slightly off-key, but hey, the ‘punters’ looked happy.

International Street Food

Unfortunately still full and belching from our pancakes, we wandered around the West Yard breathing in the delicious smells. Camden Lock’s Global Kitchen is famed for producing foodie delights from Malaysia, Brazil, the Deep South, Italy, Ethiopia and a host of other faraway countries. The market is also known for being good value, ie cheap, but we thought the prices a little steep at an average of £7 for take-a-way street food. Perhaps we were still in South East Asia pricing mode. But, perhaps not, as we overheard a guy quietly singing to his girlfriend, ‘money-money-money’, in reference to the prices.

Very tempting food is on display everywhere.

Very tempting food is on display everywhere.

Another customer waiting for their order to be completed.

Customer waiting for their order to be completed.

Turkish kebab sellers.

Turkish kebab sellers at the Ala Turko Kebabs stall. (Ali on the left)

Too much to take in.

Ala Turko Kebabs food, freshly made and ready for hungry customers.

Ali Dande a Turkish man born and raised in London and working at his brother’s stall, Ala Turko Kebabs, told us, “Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically slow days. Saturdays you can hardly move for people.”

No Photography Allowed

Nothing beats a spot of retail therapy even if just browsing. Strolling around clothing, accessories, leather goods, handicrafts and antiques stalls is especially enjoyable, as they are filled with quirky, unique and original items.

No photography! Vintage cameras on sale in Camden.

No photography! Vintage cameras on sale in Camden.

A collection of British mugs.

A collection of Cool Britannia mugs.

Street signs in Camden.

Queues weren’t so long at this stall…

Camden Lock bridge.

Camden Lock bridge.

The stalls spill out onto the pavements in Camden.

Essential tourist items sold here, including ever-popular selfie sticks.

Despite Camden Market being one of London’s hottest tourist attractions many stall holders are not keen on tourists taking photographs. We could understand when copyright of an artist’s painting or similar may be compromised, but when the vendors selling cheap sunglasses got a little ‘snappy’ at selfie taking tourists it all seemed a bit excessive.

Acapella Style

Overcoming noisy traffic, the sweet voice of an acapella singer floated across the street and grabbed our attention. She had a simple set up; a speaker and what we guessed to be a multi-track recorder. One by one she laid down different beats using her voice as an instrument, then synchronised them so it sounded like she had a five-man band. Beats down, she struck up with Ben E King’s, ‘Stand By Me,’ and sounded so good people crossed the street to fill up her purple hat with donations. Very clever, very powerful, very talented.

A talented singer entertaining visitors to Camden.

A talented singer entertaining visitors to Camden.

Winds of Change

Camden Market began life as a small crafts market in 1974 and originally opened only on Sundays. Forty years later it has become a tourism magnet and real-estate hotspot. The seven markets that collectively make up ‘Camden Market’ have been snapped up by an Israeli billionaire for regeneration and development. There are mixed concerns the market’s unique character and culture may be lost. Either way, I’m glad we’ve experienced the ‘old’ version of this funky hipster joint.

Camden Town.

Camden Market is set for future re-development.

3 thoughts on “Camden Town – Where Every Day Is Pancake Day

  1. Pingback: Being a Police Woman In London – Amazing and Terrifying | What The Saints Did Next

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    Liked by 1 person

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