Camden Town is one of London’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment neighbourhoods, complete with its own famous market – a hub of fashion and curiosities located by the Regent’s Canal. With its alternative vibe, the north London borough has a reputation for counterculture, and the area is popular with locals and visitors alike. Camden’s musical heritage is as varied as the shops which line its streets, have welcomed some of the biggest names from the music world. If you’re looking to discover the area’s more tranquil spots, you can explore ZSL London Zoo and the lush greenery of Regent’s Park, or wander amid the Regency architecture of Primrose Hill. If you’re dreaming of a holiday in the British capital, it won’t take long to find that Camden has a wealth of gems to discover…
Actually a series of adjoining markets, Camden Market is situated alongside the Regent’s Canal, where you’ll find a maze of stalls and some of the most unusual shops in London, with punk clothing aplenty. Full of atmosphere, the original Camden Lock Market houses everything from home décor to boho fashion, crafts and trinkets, jewellery, books and vintage finds. The adjoining Stables Market, a former horse hospital, has 700 stalls selling wares ranging from antiques to alternative fashion. Clothing clubbers for over 20 years, Cyberdog is a Camden institution. This neon-lit, three-floor wonderland specialises in dancewear and fluorescent futuristic fashion, with two giant robot statues flanking its large doorway.
Camden’s music scene is legendary, and there’s no lack of options to look forward to enjoying. If you’re into metal, rock, indie and punk, The Underworld Camden has a fascinating history, with previous gigs including Placebo, Radiohead and the Smashing Pumpkins. A part of the Camden music scene for 80 years, the Electric Ballroom has also played host to top musical talent such as Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, U2, The Clash, Prince, Joy Division, The Smiths and Public Enemy.
A life-size bronze Amy Winehouse Statue is located in the Stables Market in Camden Town as a tribute to the late singer and Camden girl. Sculpted by Scott Eaton, it features the singer’s signature beehive hair style, and is a popular spot for fans to leave floral tributes and take selfies. When it was unveiled in 2014, three years after her death, her mother, Janis, said: “Camden is Amy’s place, it’s where she belongs.”
Feeling a little hungry? Cheese lovers should visit The Cheese Bar in Camden, where you can try the UK’s best artisan creations on carefully curated cheeseboards featuring everything from the crumbly Dorset Blue Vinny to the deliciously strong Lincolnshire Poacher. Fancy some fish and chips? Poppies recently re-opened in line with government guidelines and features sustainably caught fish and chips in a nostalgic setting with quirky 1940s memorabilia on the walls. For more traditional fare, The World’s End Camden – which recently re-opened with the We’re Good To Go Industry Standard Mark – has a mezzanine and fireplace that draws shoppers from nearby Camden Market, while the Camden Eye attracts regulars for its large selection of classic food.
Advance booking is necessary at all of the above restaurants. Please see the venues’ individual websites for further details.
Situated in a former piano factory in Camden Town, the Jewish Museum of London preserves the history of Britain’s Jewish communities. Combining the collections of two former museums, it preserves the disappearing heritage of London’s East End – the heartland of Jewish settlement in Britain, along with the social history of Jewish people across London, including the experiences of refugees from Nazism. It also has an acclaimed programme of Holocaust and anti-racist education. The Jewish Museum of London is yet to reopen its doors, but several virtual tours can be booked to explore the history of its diverse collection.
Primrose Hill is a village-like area of grand Victorian terraces and pastel-coloured Regency townhouses. Its namesake hilltop park has panoramic views over Regent’s Park and the city beyond – the vistas overlooking the grandeur of St Paul’s Cathedral and towards the Houses of Parliament are both protected, making it a great spot to see the sights. Look out for the York Stone at the summit, which carries an inscription from renowned poet William Blake.
Although not situated exactly in Camden, the ZSL London Zoo’s location on Prince Albert Road, just across from Primrose Hill, makes it a must-visit for those in the Camden area. As the world’s oldest scientific zoo, set up in 1828, animals from the Tower of London were transferred to the zoo’s collection before it was opened to the public in 1847. There are now thousands of animals in residence, from camels and giraffes to tigers, penguins, crocodiles and a komodo dragon. Can’t visit in person? Check them out virtually on webcams and live streams.
Based on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman show of the same name, Fleabag first hit screens and won hearts in 2016. Since its premiere and the subsequent second and final series in 2019, the show has gained cult comedy status. Featuring writer Waller-Bridge as the main character, as well as Olivia Colman and Andrew Scott, filming was done almost entirely in the borough of Camden, with a cluster of other recognisable locations nestled in the Dartmouth Park area. This includes the guinea pig-themed café, a key filming location on York Rise in Camden that is now a Turkish restaurant.
Camden is no stranger to the big screen either, with scenes from The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Sherlock, Jekyll & Hyde and Call the Midwife all shot within the borough in recent times.
Via London Underground: Camden Town station is situated on the Northern Line. The shops and stalls of the market are spread out along two streets, Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road. By Train: the nearest station is St. Pancras (a 25-minute walk). By Bus: Via routes 24, 29 and 134 from London’s West End.
Accommodation options abound in London. If you want to stay right in the action in Camden, you can plan to book the Holiday Inn London Camden Lock, a modern and stylish London hotel just a three-minute walk from the market. St Christopher’s Inn Camden hostel, has reopened in line with government guidance, while those looking for a five-star stay close to Camden’s vibrant buzz can enjoy the opulent surroundings of the historic St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a relaxing 25-minute stroll or 10-minute tube ride away.