Grouped around two locks on the Regent's Canal, Camden Lock Market proper began in the early 1970s, when weekend stalls sold the output of nearby craft workshops. It later expanded to four markets: Camden, Camden Lock, The Stables, and Camden Lock Village. For many years, the markets have hosted more than 1,000 stalls offering a spectacular array of merchandise: vintage and new clothes, antiques and junk, rare vinyl, ceramics, Indian bedspreads, fetishwear, obscure band memorabilia, and toys.
The outdoor Camden Market on Camden High Street mainly sells cheap jeans, secondhand clothes, and tacky pop-culture paraphernalia; it's best to head to Camden Lock Market for crafts and the Stables Market for furniture. The Stables Market has expanded into the so-called Catacombs, which are Victorian brick arches, and now has more than 700 shops and stalls. Camden Lock Village is currently closed, while being turned into a mixed-use retail and residential development. Though much of the merchandise
is targeted at young, aging hippies, street-fashion aficionados, and anyone with a taste for alternative culture—Goths are particularly well catered to—will also find plenty that appeals. This shopping experience is best suited to those who don't mind large crowds and a boisterous atmosphere, especially on weekends. Camden Market, Camden Lock Market, and Stables Market are open daily (10–6). All four markets are earmarked for redevelopment, so their focus is likely to change—enjoy the scrappy, bohemian atmosphere while you can.