Few places in the capital ooze cool like Camden does. 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.
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 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.
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. 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. Madness first started gigging in The Dublin Castle pub. And thousands of others have got rowdy crowds going, from Pink Floyd to Coldplay.
Gigs aside, 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 acres of ancient woodland to wander on nearby Hampstead Heath. This is also 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…
“There are many shops available. You can find many groceries stores, barbers, restaurants here, and the transportation links are very good.”
“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.”
“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.”