Although I’ve been working in London for a few months, it’s not often I get to go out and see much of it. So my girlfriend and I decided to have a tourist day. So, like any decent tourists, we decided to visit markets, drink coffee and prattle about on the underground.
We started off the day at a coffee shop near my girlfriend’s place. After a coffee and a bite to eat, we walked towards Portobello Road. With little intent of buying anything in particular, we were quite happy to walk aimlessly up and down Portobello Market’s eclectic array of stalls and shops. There was a variety of products on offer, ranging from antiques to mulled wine. It’s an easy place to love, there’s so much to look at and buskers playing great music at regular intervals. I soon found out that Portobello Market is essentially one very long road dedicated to independent sellers. This is something that should be championed as its becoming harder and harder to find these traders around London as supermarkets and chains continue to monopolise the high streets.
Once we’d finished our jaunt through Portobello Market and my girlfriend had bought her share of ‘silver’ jewellery, we headed to Notting Hill Gate tube station and took the train towards Cambden Town for our next taste of London’s markets. We followed the crowd from the station, letting them lead us towards the market as we took in the awesome variety of artwork on the shopfronts. This ranges from colourful murals tis gigantic shoes stuck to the walls. Somewhere along the way we stumbled across a street food market right by the river. The vast array of food there was enough to make everyone happy and my girlfriend even had a plethora of vegetarian options to choose from.
After stuffing our faces, we headed towards the market itself. One of the first things we came to was the very bizarre shop ‘Cyberdog’ which had intense techno music, an array of flashing lights and a large collection of funky clothes I personally would never wear! Whilst Portobello Market is mostly down one street, Camden is a complete maze of stalls with various different sections, levels and paths. Reflecting on the two markets, it’s clear that Camden has a completely different atmosphere to Portobello. Much of Camden is under cover and many of the markets and shops there had more of an upmarket feel to them, some shops even boasting a newly decorated interior. I preferred the rough and readiness of Portobello’s quirky market. If I had to choose one over the other, it would be Portobello.
After finishing our a walk around Camden, we hopped on the tube to meet some friends for food and drink in Westminster. If you enjoy the bartering and busy streets of a market, then head to Portobello and Camden. If you’re after a more traditional market, then head to Portobello. If you’re after good food, then head to Camden. Whatever you do, they’re both great and offer different experiences!