As part of our crazy London trip to meet Han’s French Pen-Pal, on the Sunday we all decided it was be a pretty great idea to go and explore the famous Camden Market. It had been recommended by a friend of mine as something to put fairly high up the to-do list, and so after taking a couple of trips on the underground we arrived.

The place is a jungle. Stalls of various sizes and shapes cover the streets, with bunting and lighting hanging between the larger buildings like vines between trees – I’m fairly sure I saw a guy who looked like Tarzan too, which does seem to help out with this rainforest metaphor I have going on…

Jungles and Tarzan aside, the atmosphere of the Camden Lock Market is very much one of a festival. Music fills the air, as does the smell of varying food stalls, with people everywhere chatting the day away. Something I’ve always found quite unique to festivals has been the feeling that anywhere you go, you always feel safe to just start up a conversation with the people around you – this felt very much the same.

As far as what you can actually buy, there’s far too much to be able to talk about in one post… Vintage clothing? Sure. Film Cameras? You got it. Fruit and veg for tonight’s dinner? You bet. From handmade jewellery stalls, to music shops, to independent artists, it’s crazy. Prices jump up and down all over the place, there’s bargains all over the place, but there’s also quite a few sellers trying to jump on the atmosphere of the place to sell you an overpriced watch or two. So long as you go in knowing what you’d like, or what you’re prepared to spend, you’ll be fine. There’s plenty to look at.

Once you’re done getting lost looking at things you probably don’t need, but are certainly going to buy anyway, there’s the food. There is SO much food, and surprisingly, a lot of it is gluten free too. There’s a lot of burger stalls, the best of which being the Honest Burger Company. Though we didn’t eat there, just from their set up alone you could tell they were different, and I’ve read a lot of reviews since coming away that they’re a place you should definitely check out, especially if you’re dying for a gluten free burger.

A place we did actually eat at, was ‘Cookies & Scream’. A gluten free, vegan friendly doughnut and cookie shop. The theatre of the place is quite cool, all of the staff quite clearly love what they do. That said, my Mum’s been telling me for a very long time that on this blog we should do bad reviews just as much as posts where we praise a place, and though I might not agree with her, sadly this place does fall under that bracket.

Now, I don’t know how a vegan cookie/doughnut compares to a ‘normal’ one, so I can’t fully comment, but as far as gluten free ones go, these were pretty ew. The only way I could describe the doughnut, and Han will testify, was a ‘blob of ready-brek’ – which for those of you who don’t know, was a pretty gross cereal from most of our childhoods. Very oaty, not tasty, all together a bit gross.  But the place looked cool so, I’ll give it that.

Food that didn’t disappoint however, was a little stall named Crêpes à la Carte. Run within a program to aid french citizens in travelling and living within the UK for six months, the Camden-based Crêpery freshly makes a multitude of sweet and savoury crêpes, including gluten-free options.

Han devoured one filled with Nutella, and heard nothing but good sounds. Han and I’s not-great-french kinda left us with some pretty blank faces whilst Eleonore had a great laugh with the staff, who were also from Brittany, it’s definitely given her some ideas for a possible longer trip to the UK.

Altogether it was a pretty great day out. So much to do, and more importantly, so much to eat. You could very easily spend a couple of days looking around, soaking in the atmosphere, making friends and buying old cameras that are most likely going to live on a shelf for the rest of their lives, getting dusty, but looking damn good… Something else we didn’t have time to explore was what the night life might of been in the market, I imagine yet again the place would change and have a completely new vibe. Just another reason to go back some day.

– Tom