Turns out I’ve been doing markets wrong

I love London markets, they are one of my favourite parts of living here. But today I discovered that I have been doing them entirely 100% wrong. I was asked by Camden Market to do an Instagram takeover which was really flattering. I am the girl who refused to join Instagram for so long because I thought it was going to be a flash in the pan trend (yeah, slightly wrong on that count), so to be asked to do a takeover was awesome. I made the rather radical choice to take a day off work and even went to the extent of deleting work emails off my phone (I will wait for you to get over your shock and pick yourself off the floor before I continue) so I could have an uninterrupted day in Camden.

I had been to Camden market in 2008 (on the ten year anniversary of the Spice World movie coming out on VHS in New Zealand, not relevant to this post but I thought it was worth a mention) on a Saturday at lunchtime. I made a half ditch attempt to crowd dodge before getting fed up and declaring it a lost cause (not before going to CyberDog because Mary-Kate and Ashley went there in one of their classic movies). The sea of humanity was just too much. But some very credible sources (Talonted Lex and Pack your Passport) have raved about Camden over the last few years so something in the back of my mind said maybe I ought to give it a second chance.

I was going to do something I had never done before, I planned to spend the entire day at a market. The plan was to start with breakfast at Cafe Loren (amazing menu full of shakshuka), wander round the market, work from the Interchange co working space and then visit Half Hitch gin distillery (because gin and also because gin distilled with tea). It was in the middle of this day that I realised exactly what I have been doing wrong when it comes to markets.

On a Friday morning Camden Market is super chilled out, most of the stalls have opened but by morning tea time the crowds are already starting to file in, mostly on the hunt for food. Somehow though, the crowds weren’t bothering me this time.

It really puzzled me for a while, but in between my third coffee for the day and a family sized helping of churros I realised why it this market experience was different. Normally I am on a time crunch, I have a target and I go from A to B to get to it. I am so busy trying to get to that stall that sells waffles, or that coffee van where the guy gives me a free flat white and a hug (connections are important), that any mere hint of humanity in my way sends me into a rage. I want to be in and out in a hour and eat all the samples possible.

But this time I was going to be here all day. I meandered. There was no rush to get somewhere and so people being in my way didn’t impact me in the slightest. I had the time to look at the stalls, investigate the food options (while managing to drop churro sugar all over my camera) and hang back and people watch for a bit.

Turns out when you treat a London market as an experience rather than a goal you actually have more fun [insert quote about smelling roses here].

It had never occurred to me to spend an entire day at a market, but I am really glad that I did.

5 Comments

  1. July 19, 2017 / 8:48 am

    Ha, I visited Camden Market on a Sunay morning when the rain was coming down horrendously. I pretty much decided to leave after 25 minutes, as it was no fun (and the crowds indeed). Must come again really, on a Tuesday morning or something 😉

  2. July 19, 2017 / 12:09 pm

    How on earth did you manage to avoid Camden for almost ten years?! How?! That is madness.

  3. July 27, 2017 / 8:14 pm

    I love Camden Market. I used to go as a teenager, feeling very cool because people offered to sell me weed, and that there were magic mushrooms being sold everywhere. It’s all very different now, of course, with the alternative people being replaced by Spanish teenagers. Still an amazing place to be – sad I missed your takeover!

  4. July 31, 2017 / 9:17 am

    Because I work in Camden I weirdly rarely go to the market! Or if I do it’s in a fleeting lunch break. I used to love it as a teenager though… in my Panic At the Disco days where I’d get excited in the Punkyfish shop HA

  5. August 6, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Yeah markets and time-crunches rarely go together but it looks like myself and that food might. Sounds like a delicious day! xx