Camden Town is neat little borough in London. The market there is unique in that it is open every single day of the week, where others are open only specific days. The market is made up of a lot of little shops selling everything from loose leaf tea, to clothing, to incense, to old books. Some of the shops are outside under tents, while others are inside various buildings along the way. The market is very big. It seems to go on and on in every direction. I found myself getting wonderfully caught up in all of the noise and color and activity.
I visited Camden Market once on a Saturday and once on a weekday. I would recommend shopping during a weekday, as it's much less crowded and chaotic, and as a result much more charming! At Camden town I bought a couple of patterned headbands, a sort of Indian quilt, and the best tea I've ever tasted- called Chilly Chilly Bang Bang. I wish I had gotten the chance to eat a proper meal at Camden Town. There is a truly large number of options as far as regional food in Camden. There's middle eastern falafel, chinese dumplings, tai noodles, french crepes, turkish delight... you get the idea.
Portabello Road Market is a Saturday morning experience. It is very similar to Camden Town, except in a few ways. Unlike Camden, Portabello Market offers a lot of fresh produce, much like a farmer's market in the States.. It is only up-and-running on Saturdays, it is completely outside, and Portabello is somewhat smaller than Camden. The rest of the merchandise is essentially the same.
In my humble opinion, the best part of the market at Portabello Road is the custard-filled, chocolate covered donuts, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and sold 3 for 3 pounds. YUM!
The infamous Harrods- quite a different shopping experience than an outdoor market.
Harrods is several stories high, and several square feet across on each and every story. If you can write it on a shopping list, you can find it at Harrods, granted you may have to use a map to locate it in the gigantic building. It seems as though every children's toy, every diamond ring, every exotic fruit, every designer handbag there ever was is inside of Harrods. I can't imagine the place around Christmas. I shopped there on a Saturday and it was nearly impossible to move for the crowds.
London must be the best place on earth for shopping! One thing I know...the white-walled, tile-floored malls of Arkansas with their adolescent loiters and over-priced food courts will never measure up to the enchanting legacy of Harrods department store, or the quaint allure of a morning market in a little London borough.