If you’re looking for something special to do in London on your next visit, then you’ll want to make sure you visit the neighborhood of Camden. This northeastern neighborhood, sitting just along the Regents Canal, is a stone’s throw away from central King’s Cross Station – and historically one of the coolest areas of London. This is where grunge started, where Amy Winehouse lived, worked and sang, and now that it’s become more of a well-known area, it’s even a place where you can take the entire family.
There’s a lot to do in Camden; you’ll never run out of activities. But if you’re planning a visit, you’ll want to make sure you keep these on your list:
1 Walk along the Regents Canal
Whether you want to walk East and South, ending up in London’s very own posh Little Venice neighborhood, or West and South, ending up in the edge of the center of London, by King’s Cross Station and even closer to the Thames, walking along the Regents Canal is one of the city’s most pleasant experiences. With the trees reflected on the water, and a path that’s comfortable for walking in both pairs and groups, it’s a calming space that allows you to explore the city without too much hustle and bustle. Quite a relaxing idea, considering that there were 31.5 million people visiting the city in 2015 alone.
Starting in Camden, it’s easy – start at the Market (which we’ll cover in a second), then make your way in whichever direction you prefer. And you’re not just limited to walking, you can cycle, and even ride on one of the boats, too! For more information on the canal, and the endless possibilities of where you can go, check out this guide.
2 Spend an afternoon at the Camden Market
With over 1,000 shops, stalls, bars, and cafes, selling both food and fashion, you’re certain to find something you’re looking for at the Camden Market. And because it’s an edgy neighborhood, full of artists and musicians, it’s not going to be your usual market. Instead, you’re sure to find all the artisanal things you want, international fare, and stylish clothing.
It’s a good idea to make sure you reserve an entire afternoon for this activity. That way, you’ll be able to get some lunch, then sit by the canal, then explore your favorite shops with your friends or family. And if you’re a music lover, make sure you check out the Amy Winehouse tribute nearby.
3 Go out on the town in the evening
But we haven’t even gotten started with the best part of Camden: the nightlife. The moment you get off the underground at Camden Town station – twenty-somethings smoking their Juul e-cigarettes outside a hip bar, goths waiting in a line to get into a show at The Underworld, music playing at an open mic at the Camden Eye – you know that you’re in a bustling area. The average age for this area is 32 – so it’s the perfect nightlife haven for people from their mid-twenties to mid-thirties.
Camden’s a great place to go, especially for those who love music.. There’s the Jazz Cafe, one of the London’s best jazz venues, and there’s also The Blues Kitchen, just a few blocks down. If you’re looking for something festive or want to go dancing, check out The Dublin Castle, or Proud Camden if you really want to stay up all night dancing to today’s top hits.
4 Enjoy a fancy meal
And, of course, after you’ve spent all Saturday night dancing or listening to music, you might have a hangover that you want to “sort out”, as the English say, with a typical Sunday roast. Called “the best pub in Camden” by a reviewer in TripAdvisor, you’ll want to make sure you check out The Colonel Fawcett, where you can get your beef and potatoes and everything English and stewed you can dream of.
Additionally, Camden’s full of international fare. After all, less than half of Londoners are actually White British, which is what makes it one of the most international cities in the world. Make sure you check out this list of international restaurants in Camden to get inspired. And don’t forget, that just a little ways north in Kentish Town, there’s a little gem called The Pineapple, which is some of the best Thai you’ll get in London, served in an old typical English pub with a side of your choice of beer or wine.
Camden’s a special place, and if you’re lucky enough to have some time to spend in London, you’ll definitely want to add it to your list. Whether you’re visiting the city to take a look at the law school in UCL, or you’re an avid traveler who’s always got the best tactical flashlight and phone apps for travel, you’re bound to find something you love in northeastern Camden.
Have you been to Camden before? What was the best thing you did, and what places would you revisit?