Camden: show must go on!
If you believe that London is made up entirely of places like Chelsea and Mayfair, think again; you obviously have not been to Camden. Want a funky new tattoo with all the colours of the rainbow? Go to Camden. Dreaming of a piercing somewhere you won’t be able to see but will forever be pointing to? Visit Camden. Looking for the perfect Christmas present for your goth friend? Camden is the place for you.
But even if you are not planning to explore it at length, you won’t be bored by what you do see. Scary and overwhelming, perhaps. But it’ll soon pass; no one can resist the rebellious charms of Camden.
Crowded, noisy and fun, starting with a pint of beer in one of the local pubs is recommended to get you in the mood for Camden’s riches. The Edinboro Castle near Regent’s Park, Camden Hells (a stone’s throw from Chalk Farm) or the Dublin Castle on Parkway are all worthy places for an ice cold pint. The latter pub was a familiar haunt of Amy Winehouse, and her autographed picture is a valued gift from her to the owner. Being Camden, if you offer enough it may just be for sale!
Don’t like beer? Directly across the street from the Dublin Castle is a cozy little cafe called the Coffee Jar, which serves a plethora of delicious coffees and homemade cakes.
After your thirst is quenched, head for the markets. They are here in abundance: from traditional British food stalls to incredible independent designer boutiques, ranging the entire spectrum of unique wares of some of the fashion world’s most brilliant minds.
The most famous of them all is perhaps Camden Outdoor Market; here you’ll find all manner of souvenir vintage T-shirts and jackets, cool strap bags and designer jewellery and accessories to show off to your friends.
The endless mazes of the Horse Tunnel Markets are your best bet for said jewellery and accessories, and the nearby Stables Market contains an eclectic mix of used books and unique uniforms. Tutus, military outfits and the more… shall we say… ‘individual’ items of clothing are found here.
If you’re looking to relax and avoid the crowds, go to Camden Lock Market. Its courtyard houses a small market surrounded by terraces and with excellent views of the canals and its accompanying boats.
The surrounding area has many interesting shops, including the Black Gull Bookshop, Yumchaa tea and the famous ice cream bar Chin Chin Labs. Try the lemon sorbet!
Not five minutes away is a tiki bar (for you hipsters) and Proud Camden, a former stable which has converted into a gallery during the day and a bar at night, for when you want to marry the cultured with the crazy.
Camden Lock Market is located next to Regent’s Canal, built to connect two separate canals (one being the River Thames!). You can take a boat trip along here to Little Venice, which is a reproduction of Italy’s most gorgeous city. A number of cafes, pubs and restaurants line the riverside, and either a walk or said trip will let you fully explore the canals. Please allow two hours to finish a return journey, and note that it costs £11.50 per adult and £9.40 for the young and old amongst you.
After you’ve departed the boat and shaken off your sea sickness, head over to Primrose Hill for one of the very best scenic views in London. The horizon at the top is the perfect place to take some photos, do a little painting or just chill with the people you love.
Back down the hill, you’ll find a number of restaurants in the area, all of which attracts celebrities. Jamie Oliver, Jude Law and Kate Moss all live in the area, and may share some of their food with you if you catch them in a good mood!
Our recommended restaurants include the Greek restaurant Lemonia, the authentic Tuscan eatery Negozia Classica or the French brasserie L’absynth. Also in the area is Odette’s, owned by famous chef Bryn Williams and harbouring some of the finest food you’ll find inside and outside London.
A number of concert halls dot the area. The Camden Roundhouse is a converted locomotive garage that was constructed in 1847, used as a theatre, arts centre and music venue from 1966, and after closing and renovations, re-opened in 2006 and has held host to a number of huge names from the world of music and stage.
Also in the area is the Blues Kitchen, Koko and the Jazz Cafe, all of which truly come to life after sunset. If you haven’t yet fallen in love with this crazy place, then you haven’t drunk enough champagnes, or bought enough items, or seen enough mohawked and tattooed bikers. Camden is a unique place in London and we heartily recommend a visit.