Your guide to... Camden
Camden Town holds an unusual charm. Perhaps it's the variety of eccentric characters you find walking the streets, the array of colourful, vintage shops or the fact that the town permanently smells of burning incense and cooking… combined?! Maybe it's the cultural significance? Camden has been home to several famous writers (Charles Dickens, George Orwell, Mary Shelley) as well as legendary musicians like Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse – the latter now an iconic poster girl for the town. Whatever it is, Camden oozes with a distinctive personality, making it one of the more quirky and spirited parts of London – one that locals are fiercely protective of!
Despite its bohemian vibes, the town attracts all kinds of individuals from all over the world, with over 100,000 people passing through the famous market every weekend. It’s also a great place to make home thanks to its fantastic travel connections, nightlife, greenery and all the things to see, eat and do. No wonder SpareRoom currently has 453 rooms being advertised there. So if you’re thinking of visiting or moving to Camden, check out our guide to this unique, north west London town…
How do I get there?
Camden Town tube station sits comfortably on the mighty Northern line where you can get to Bank in 14 minutes and King’s Cross St. Pancras in an impressive 5. You can also easily head south to Waterloo in 12 minutes and Earls Court in under half an hour.
PLUS Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports are all within an hour journey. See, we weren’t lying when we said Camden had great travel connections!
What is there to do?
It goes without saying that the number one thing to do in Camden is visit the market! If you haven’t already had the pleasure of pilgrimaging here, you’re in for a treat. With over 1000 shops and stalls, Camden Market is the fourth most popular visitor attraction in London. When we say it sells everything, we really do mean everything. We’re talking vintage clothes, jewellery, street food, vinyl, even pianos – and all for impressive prices!
Camden High Street is also a hot spot for shopping. If you look past the tourist tat, you’ll find a variety of quirky independent shops as well as high-street chains like Office and Urban Outfitters. The fronts of these shops have become iconic attractions in themselves thanks to their giant, colourful 3D signs, which make for a nifty Instagram post.
The area is also a bit of a playground for London street artists. Wherever you go colourful street art adorns buildings and brick walls – check out Castlehaven Road, Jamestown Road and Hawley Street. No doubt you’ll notice a few street art tributes to Camden’s ‘fallen angel’ - soul superstar, Amy Winehouse.
If the busy town gets a bit much you can easily escape to nearby Regents Canal with its weeping willows and passing narrowboats. Hop aboard a London waterbus, enjoy a peaceful walk along the river or soak up the serenity with a drink in an overlooking bar.
Regents Park and Primrose Hill also provide another city oasis. Just a short 15 minute walk away, Primrose Hill offers some of the best panoramic views of London’s skyline, while Regents Park is home to exotic animals in the world-famous ZLS London Zoo.
Where do I eat?
Start your day off at the The Coffee Jar on Parkway. The wooden counter is always stacked with tasty pastries and cakes, and the chalkboard menus offer a variety of freshly made sandwiches.
The market itself is a great spot for street food – brimming with cuisines from Chinese to Moroccan, as well as plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
Round the corner in Camden’s Stables Market sits The Cheese Bar; a restaurant which, unsurprisingly, serves up all things cheese – from grilled cheese sandwiches to classic cheese boards and fondue. Despite the slightly gimmicky USP, the restaurant is actually pretty chic with its exposed brick walls, long marble tables and large hanging lamps.
Trufflesecco has the same idea as The Cheese Bar, except two ingredients take centre stage on this menu – you guessed it, truffles and prosecco. You can have truffles on their own, in pasta, with cheese, hell... you can even get truffle flavoured popcorn, if you fancy it. And all of this is topped off with a refreshing glass (or two) of fizz. Now that’s worth cheersing to! There is one hitch – you'll probably smell of truffles for daaays...
For something a bit different there’s Made In Brasil where you can tuck into traditional Brazilian dishes such as fried plantain and cassava balls. The funky interior complete with neon lighting, disco balls and graffitied walls will leave you questioning whether you’re really still in Camden or on Copacabana beach!
Camden Town is clearly a hub for foodies, but even locals will admit that fine dining is not its speciality. Good thing celebrity village, Primrose Hill, is just around the corner where you’ll find Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub restaurant, York & Albany. If you’re looking for a slap up meal of classic British cuisine, this place has you covered.
And the drinks?
If there’s one thing that Camden is really renowned for… it’s the town’s iconic drinking and music scene.
You’ll never be at a loss when it comes to finding a pub. For a real street-corner boozer, check out the newly refurbished The World's End – with an impressive glass roof, mezzanine balcony and huge island bar, serving up Staropramen Lager from its specialist, copper tank.
There’s also the The Colonel Fawcett – a gastropub which boasts an eclectic cask beer menu AND hosts SpareRoom’s very own Speed Flatmating event every Tuesday evening. So if you’re looking for a cold one and a flatmate you know where to go!
Then, in the summer Edinboro Castle is always a hit thanks to its beer garden which comes complete with wooden huts, bunting and a sizzling BBQ. Plus, pooches are welcome…
In 2018 the title of 'Best Bar in Camden' went to BYOC Camden – where, as the acronym suggests, you Bring Your Own Cocktail! At the 1920s casino-themed basement bar mixologists will take your spirits and use them to conjure up delicious concoctions with a variety of their own ingredients. Its £30 on the door, but that includes drinks all... night… long...
For a jazzy, drinking experience head to the Jazz Cafe, which brings live jazz music to the town. You can get involved on the ground floor (where there the stage and bar are located) or enjoy the action from above in the mezzanine restaurant.
But if you were to ask a local for the ultimate Camden night out, they’d point you in the direction of the famous Electric Ballroom or The Roundhouse. These two iconic entertainment venues are massively rich in music history. Legendary bands Madness, The Clash and Led Zeppelin all regularly graced the Ballroom and Roundhouse throughout the 70s and 80s, and the venues continues to host huge artists and events. Honestly, it would be an insult to be in Camden and not go!
Are you crazy about Camden? Let us know your hot spots...