Camden Town has been a residential area since the 1790s. But it was only the development of the Grand Union Canal and the improved railway transport that turned it into a bustling part of London. Today, visitors and locals gather here to hunt for treasures in Camden's markets, stroll by Regent's Canal, sample cuisine from around the world and listen to live music. Many famous people, including Dylan Thomas, Walter Sickert and Amy Winehouse, have made Camden their home.
Things to do in Camden: Shopping
Camden has a labyrinth of open-air markets and other stores that will keep even the keenest shoppers busy, such as:
- Camden Lock Market – selling crafts, books, clothing, jewellery and fast food.
- Camden Lock Village – clothing and accessories, as well as a range of unusual items.
- Camden Market – originally named Buck Street, this market sells fashion for all tastes.
- Inverness Street Market – a few of the original fruit stands remain but most have been taken over by footwear and souvenir stalls.
- Stables Market – a mix of permanent shops and stalls selling household items, antiques, alternative clothing and food.
There is also an indoor fashion market at the Electric Ballroom, which is only open on Sundays.
Things to do in Camden: Food and drink
You'll find food from around the globe at Camden's many eateries and street vendors. If you’re planning to catch a performance, the Roundhouse has a great pre-theatre menu. Check out Italian treats at Trufflesecco, Masala Zone’s delicious Indian dishes or pan-Asian cuisine at Gilgamesh, where you can stay on to enjoy the trendy bar and club.
Camden restaurant, bar and nightspot Shaka Zulu serves South African cuisine and entertains guests throughout the evening with live music and dance.
You're never far from a bar in Camden. Try Scottish import BrewDog, the legendary Dublin Castle on Parkway or The World's End opposite Camden Town Tube station (Northern line). Look for local beers from Camden Town brewery in nearby pubs.
Things to do in Camden: Live music
Camden has always been a hub for London's live music scene, with legendary venues that have launched many big names. Check out Koko, the Underworld and Electric Ballroom to catch the latest bands. You can also see top jazz and blues performances at the Jazz Café or Blues Kitchen.
Watch theatrical performances from top UK companies such as the RSC as well as films, art installations and gigs at The Roundhouse. You can also catch comedy at the Camden Highlight or see an eclectic mix of fringe performances at the Etcetera theatre.
More things to do in and around Camden
Check out edgy art exhibitions at The Cob Gallery, contemporary photography at Proud Camden or a huge range of modern visual arts at the highly-acclaimed Camden Arts Centre. You can also explore Jewish life and heritage at the Jewish Museum.
If you’re looking for something a little more active, take the kids down to the Pirate Castle, where the whole family can enjoy a range of water-based activities. And there's always ZSL London Zoo in Regent's Park, which is great fun for kids and adults alike. From here, explore the area along the picturesque Regent's Canal. Trendy Primrose Hill is also well worth a visit for the spectacular city views from its top.
Accommodation in Camden
There is plenty of accommodation in and around Camden. The Smart Camden Inn is good budget options, while the Melia White House, the Pullman London St Pancras and the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel are also nearby.
Travel to Camden
If you're going to be in London for more than a day, it's worth buying a Visitor Oyster Card in advance. The Visitor Oyster Card is delivered to your home before you arrive in London and is one of the easiest ways to get around London.
If you do not have a Visitor Oyster Card but still plan to travel around London for more than a day, you can still buy an Oyster card at the Tube station.
Explore more London neighbourhoods
Where to next? Check out other top London areas.