Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand at any point in the last fifty years, you’ll be aware of Camden Town. Previously a quiet residential area in London, it soon shot to fame in the 1970s thanks to its affiliation with rock and punk music. Ever since, its grungy appeal has been home to hundreds of musicians, from Madness to Amy Winehouse. It’s not just associated with music, however. There’s also some great dining, drinking and browsing to enjoy in Camden. I recently took a trip to Camden, so thought I’d show you all around one of London’s most popular areas.
Camden High Street
Your first port of call into Camden will likely be Camden High Street. It can be a sensory overload sometimes. It’s typically full of tourists at the weekend, and the streets are lined with market stalls. One of the coolest things to spot is the colourful murals of the shops. It’s something pretty unique to Camden and represents its alternative background.
Along the street you’ll find shops selling grungy and gothic or punk clothing, and shoes like Doc Martins. There are dozens of places to get a tattoo or a piercing too.
Of course, it’s also a fantastic place for people watching. You’ll still see plenty of punks as you walk around Camden. Just check out this guy’s hair.
Continuing down Camden High Street, you’ll soon come across the town’s star attraction – Camden Market. Attracting over a whopping 100,000 visitors each weekend, it’s one of the most popular places to visit in London. Here, you’ll find quirky, exotic, vintage and ethnic goods and fashion. Follow Camden High Street under the railway bridge and you’ll soon find Camden Market.
These days, Camden Market has actually grown into four slightly different markets, each with its own unique vibe:
- Camden Lock Market – where the market officially began in the 1970s. You’ll find dozens of stalls all along the Regent’s Canal, as well as craft stalls selling clothes and jewellery. Don’t miss the incredible food stalls, particularly those halloumi fries from Oli Baba’s!
- Camden Stables Market – this boasts over 450 stalls, and specialises in vintage clothing. The food stalls are impressive, serving anything from freshly squeezed orange juice to barbecued brisket. There’s also a bronze statue of Camden girl, Amy Winehouse.
- Camden Lock Village – here, you’ll find all things quirky jewellery and accessories.
- Buck Street Market – this is closest to Camden Town tube station. It was once most famous for selling vintage 1950s and 1960s clothing, but now it’s a little more tacky.
One of my favourite parts of the markets is the Lock Market that sells all sorts of food, naturally. Make sure you wonder around first to assess all your options! You’ll also find there are plenty of freebies to try too. There are all kinds of cuisines, and even an Italian Alley and an Asian food section. We opted for a chicken roti, halloumi fries, a beef burrito, and a focaccia pizza. All were wonderful.
Your food is even better enjoyed along the Regent’s Canal, so grab a chair if you can find one. There, you can simply relax and watch the world roll by.
There are a number of bars around the Regent’s Canal that are fun to hang out at. It’s also a short walk from Primrose Hill, which is another glorious place to go and see in London.
One site that simply cannot be missed while in Camden is Cyberdog. Nestled in the Stables Market, it’s a trance and cyber clothing store, selling fluorescent rave clothes. Many of them are UV or neon too. It’s quite the picture.
Enter the store and you’ll find bumping techno tracks and dancers up on podiums. Around you, you’ll walk past racks of UV and fluorescent clothing.
The Stables Market itself takes its name from its history steeped in stable blocks. It still has the remnants of horse tunnels, tack rooms, and a horse hospital where it once housed horses that pulled cargo and trains along the canal. Within this particular market, you can find plenty of vintage clothes and accessories within the Horse Tunnels Market.
If you enjoy a bowl of cereal no matter what time of day, pay a visit to the Cereal Killer Cafe. It’s a colourful eatery dishing up over 120 types of cereal as well as various toppings and flavours of milk.
Outside of the market, Camden has a rich culture that’s begging to be explored. Check out the many alternative bars including the Hawley Arms that has seen the launch of various musical artists over time.
I also love seeing the colourful houses of the streets near the market, and grabbing food from one of the many tasty stalls. You can then walk along the canal to Primrose Hill, and enjoy your food with a view over London.
After a few drinks, perhaps you’ll take the partying into the night and frequent one of Camden’s iconic clubs, KOKO or the Jazz Cafe. All in all, Camden’s a colourful place that makes for a great day and evening out.
What are your favourite things to do in Camden? Let me know in the comments below.