Camden

A Guide to Living in Camden

Few places in the capital ooze cool like the Borough of Camden does. The Borough covers a large area but is more recognised for Camden Town. Its gritty, bohemian vibe has long-drawn a mesmerising mix of characters, from free spirits to punks, goths to rockers. And there lies its charm. Read on to find out the best places to live in Camden and also, what it is like to buy or rent in Camden.

Street art and Regent’s Canal 

An explosion of colour, Camden sits in stark contrast to its more reserved Central and North-West London neighbours. This is a borough of rainbow street graffiti and pastel-painted townhouses, and also intricately decorated boats that glide up and down Regent’s Canal. One of Camden’s most popular attractions is a boat trip along the 200-year-old waterway. You can hop on at Camden Lock and journey all the way to Little Venice, right by Paddington Station. However, if you prefer to walk there is a canal-side path that will lead you straight there too.

Camden’s musical connections

The area is most famous for its legendary live music scene, and its hundreds of venues span underground dive bars, authentic boozers and rooftop cocktail terraces. A Mecca for musical icons, Camden’s acoustic credentials have attracted the stars in their hordes over the years. It is also, the official stomping ground of the late Amy Winehouse – dubbed ‘The Queen of Camden’. Its stages were regularly headlined by the artist, who had a home in its heart at 30 Camden Square. Madonna played her first London show at local institution, KOKO. As well as this, Madness first started gigging in The Dublin Castle pub. And thousands of others have got rowdy crowds going, from Pink Floyd to Coldplay.

Camden Market 

Aside from this, the borough’s best-known for its namesake market, sprawled between the Camden Town and Chalk Farm tubes. In truth, it’s less market and more open-air theatre, split across three quarters – Camden Lock, Buck Street and the Stables. Always busy, but packed to the brim Fridays to Sundays, this is a 1,000 stall-strong mini metropolis, with vendors touting everything from cinnamon incense to Indonesian street food. Lots head for the Stables to pay tribute to Amy. It’s where sculptor Scott Eaten erected a life-size bronze statue of the singer.

Exploring further afield 

Elsewhere, there are antique book shops to browse in Kentish Town. And also, acres of ancient woodland to wander on nearby Hampstead Heath. Camden is a proper haven for foodies. Aside from the authentic market eats, there are cosy Italian pizzerias, atmospheric Pan-Asian spots and top-notch burger joints. Most of which serve their dishes with a side-order of quirky décor.

HomeViews reviewers verdicts on what it is like to buy or rent in Camden…

“There are many shops available. You can find many groceries stores, barbers, restaurants here, and the transportation links are very good.” – Verified tenant on Agar Grove Estate, NW1

“Expect plenty of choice for eating and drinking, from cutesy coffee shops to elegant gastropubs, and easy access to some of London’s most legendary pubs and live music venues. A large French population (courtesy of the Collège Français Bilingue de Londres) means there’s a generous helping of upscale bistros and wine bars in the area, too.” – Property Professional on Hampstead Gates, NW5

“Kentish Town (is) often overshadowed by its eclectic neighbour, Camden Town, but this place offers just as much in the way of quirky restaurants, authentic pubs and legendary live music venues (the 02 Forum being case in point). When you do want to wander along Camden Lock and sample the street food, though, it’s an easy amble (or tube stop) away.” – Property Professional on The Maple Building, NW5

You can find out more about living in Camden. Click on the developments below to find out about residents’ experiences on what it’s like to rent in Camden. Also, if there’s a Camden property that you can’t see on HomeViews,  you can add a new listing and leave your review here.
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Top Rated Developments in Camden

Reviews in Camden

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Absolutely love my home

Pros
Brilliant transport links
Lovely community
Cons
Poverty and antisocial behaviour
Gentrification

Please review your development:

I’m a private tenant and was lucky enough to be offered a Camden Living apartment. Prior to this I was in accommodation that was more than double the monthly rent and didn’t meet my needs as a disabled person. My XY flat is built with wheelchair accessibility in mind and is massive by London standards with loads of storage, underfloor heating and a balcony.

The flats were built onto the Eastern side of Maiden Lane estate, which is a large low rise council estate . Obviously my carer and I came to have a look at the area before we accepted the tenancy (I’m amazed that some purchasers of these properties claim to know nothing about it’s existence – it’s a thousand dwellings that have been here since the sixties – hard to miss). Obviously there is some antisocial behaviour which comes with such high density occupation – I haven’t witnessed any crime, but it is noisy, especially since there’s a nightclub on York Way. This can be a real problem during the summer, as the flats get very hot. Contrary to what another reviewer states, there is ventilation – an air-exchange system – but in the temperatures of 35 degrees plus this isn’t enough to cool the flats.

However, the flats are triple glazed, which means that when you shut the door, you can hear a pin drop which is amazing considering we’re slap bang in central London. This extra insulation means we barely need to use the heating even in mid winter, so our heating bills are very low.

We have a very helpful aftercare team who have helped us with any problems.

Despite the few cons listed above, I LOVE my apartment. Without it I would have the choice of a private rented bedsit with my carer sleeping on the sofa, or to have to move out of London away from my community. Camden Living have provided a precious lifeline to Londoners on a low income.

Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:

A quick Google streetview will tell you almost everything you need to know about the area. I wish we had a loading area on my street (Broadfield Lane) as it’s hard to receive deliveries. There hasn’t been the promised maintenance of the communal areas which is a real shame.

5
Facilities
4
Design
5
Location
5
Value
3
Management
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WILL be GREAT (4-5 stars), but spoiled right now by slow resolution of teething problems

Verified Resident

Being next to Kings X Central is great and the homes are comfortable and represent good value.

There is also a good sense of community because we have had to get together to deal with many too many teething problems. Camden is responding but, in my opinion they hadn’t really understood what it takes to run a premium development. This means, while they say the processes and structures are now in place, still haven’t sorted out some fundamental issues with this development. Others have listed them, but here are the main ones:
– many of the units get much too hot (in the Tower especially), including at night. We think this may be due to the unvented hot water header tank in the same room as the ventilation unit, as well as a lack of lagging to the water pipes in the main services, which makes upper floor landings really warm. The benefit of this is some people NEVER have to put their heating on.
– there isn’t yet in place a process to clean the exterior pillars of the buildings. We are working on this.
– rubbish collection is unreliable because of uncontrolled parking on the estate behind (blocks the trucks)
– there have been multiple failures to hot water and lifts – though Camden claim these are fully resolved, we are yet to see concrete evidence of these (the lifts in 9c did fail recently)
– there aren’t yet abseiling points to the Tower roof which means the balcony glass to floors 5+ isn’t cleaned – again we are working with Camden on this
– transparency around the service charge is poor
– there are some people who have had significant numbers of snagging issues that remain unresolved. To be fair Camden have just instituted a new programme to try to get these finally fixed, but again, we are yet to see if this happens

More positively:
– we are able to deal with Camden CIP team at the highest levels, and they appear to have a positive attitude and a desire to change things. They say they have put processes in place that should improve all service to CIP residents (not just XY), but we are yet to see ANY REAL IMPROVEMENT to services. They are a council and they are SLOW.
– Savills and Camden’s direct management team reports has improved dramatically in terms of communications responsiveness, but problem resolution remains poor
– the concierge team are now really great, and the service they give has improved because of residents’ feedback
– there’s a good sense of community here and an informal residents’ group (ask at concierge, they can put you in touch)
– the buildings are secure and generally we have few security issues considering it’s an urban development, although there are one or two issues with specific people in a specific block that still need sorting out
– York Way is up and coming, but represents great value vs N1C, which is obscenely expensive!: the old Fayers site will eventually be replaced with new buildings, there are new plush offices opening in April 2020, Egg will be moving backward from York Way and further down Vale Royal (once Fayers is demolished), Tileyard (look it up) encourages young creative people to work in the area, Two Tribes and Little Creatures breweries are nearby and are great, the lower section of York Way (Kings X triangle extension) will soon develop and will have shops etc., and Facebook, Google, Adidas are all building offices in N1C…

In short, if you are looking to rent or buy, I would pause a few months, but do come back to these reviews once things have improved. We are keen that XY realises its true potential and many of us are working hard to ensure it does. We will be sure to shout about the improvements when they do, eventually, happen!

If you do intend to buy, these flats really do represent good value (that was one positive finding from the survey we conducted), so you WILL be comfortable and happy here. We just want you to be aware of these bumps in the road, so do get in touch with the residents’ group. I would negotiate very hard with Camden, and I would ask to be shown the units they are not listing – there are plenty that are unsold right now (Brexit I suspect), but I bet they aren’t listing all the available units right now.

3
Facilities
4
Design
5
Location
5
Value
2
Management
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Good layout but cheaply made

Verified Resident

Like – Don’t like living around here, especially in London.
Dislike – Quite a few drug addicts and I got chased down the street once which was scary!

Please review your development:

The flat is lovely with a great layout, the kitchen and living room is upstairs and the bedrooms are downstairs which I really like. It was built with some cheap material, for example the paint comes off the walls when you wipe it and the carpet was made of bad quality so I had to replace it. The bills are cost effective, which is great. I never find myself having to turn on the heating, it always warm in here and I even called maintenance because I thought the heating was constantly on but it wasn’t, the insulations is just great. We do pay a £300 service is charge which is a lot considering there aren’t many services to offer, a staff member just waters plants upstairs which are dead anyway. The maintenance team are great but there one concierge that doesn’t do much which is annoying.

Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:

I didn’t research the area much and didn’t realise it was unsafe on the road I live on.

What is the best feature of your home:

The best feature is the layout, it been done smartly.

3
Facilities
4
Design
4
Location
4
Value
5
Management
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Amazing flat

Verified Resident

I like the area its very conviniet in terms of supemarkets, restaurants and bars around. It is a quite clean area with mew developments. The only negative point of this location is that the area behinf of this building until camden town is technicaly a dead area. There is not something to see or choises for going out. Moreover, there are not schools around, playgrounds or other choises for children so its not a family friendly area.

Please review your development:

I do not like so much the layout of my flat, its not so smart there are a lot of big and long corridors, the bedrooms are very small, the living room are not spacious. The air condition system is very good and its a very sustainable building. I love my huge balcony and the view from it. The view its amazing i can see the regent park, camden housing and the north London area. I like so much the big windows from the bottom until roof this is one of the reason that I chose this development in comparison to others. I would like to comment an important information from neighbours. All are very international but most of them are students and unprofessionals. They change a lot maybe every year. The concierge is really nice and kind. I live here almost 6 years the building management was perfect but last year they changed and I am not satisfy.

Please share one thing (or more) which you wish you had known before you moved in:

The last two years doctors around close and I wish had known that the area its very professional an there are not families. Most of people around work in this area but they dont live here and its difficult for socializing.

4
Facilities
3
Design
5
Location
5
Value
2
Management
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