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Looking for the best things to do in Camden? This is everything you need to know…
Camden Town has been one of my favourite London neighbourhoods for as long as I remember.
As a teen, my friends and I would spend our weekends at Camden Market on the hunt for cheap clothes and quirky knickknacks to show off in school the following week, and our evenings heading to under-18 gigs at the areas many alternative music venues.
Still to this day, you’ll regularly find me enjoying Camden’s eclectic array of shops and stalls and the neighborhood’s unbeatable foodie offering.
If you’re completely new to Camden, the area can be a little overwhelming at first, with its busy markets, eccentrically decorated shop facades and diverse mix of subcultures.
It’s not unusual in Camden Town to pass by a punk with a rainbow mohawk or a shop selling a variety of bongs and cannabis paraphernalia.
But that’s all part of the neighborhood’s alternative charm.
So if you’re new to the area or simply on the lookout for new and fun things to do in Camden, here is a London local’s ultimate Camden guide…
The best things to do in Camden, London
Check out the storefronts on Camden High Street
Camden High Street is a short stretch of road leading through the center of Camden Town. You’ll need to follow the High Street from Camden Town Underground Station up to Camden Lock and Camden Market.
Camden High Street is known for its exciting array of shops, pubs and restaurants, with some of the most colourful and elaborate facades you’ll find in all of London. Don’t miss the dragon winding its way up the front of a Chinese buffet or the giant shoes adorning the wall of 4 Feet shoe shop.
With everything from big chain clothing brands to cheap designer knock-offs, tourist souvenirs to independent tattoo parlours, you can shop for almost anything on Camden High Street.
Explore bustling Camden Market
Attracting around a quarter of a million visitors every week, Camden Market is not only one of the most popular markets in London but also the fourth most popular tourist attraction in the city. A wander around the market is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Camden Town.
While often talked about as one single entity, Camden Market actually refers to several different close-by markets that consume the majority of Camden Town.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the main sections of Camden Market…
Buck Street Market
The newly renovated Buck Street Market is the most recent addition to Camden Town and the first place you’ll come across when walking down the High Street from the underground station.
What was previously a small collection of clothing stalls known as ‘The Camden Market’, is now a colourful 3-story structure made from recycled shipping containers. Buck Street Market is the UK’s first dedicated market for the conscious consumer, with a great variety of ethical fashion brands and sustainable food traders.
Camden Lock Market
Camden Lock Market is the section of Camden Market located close to Regents Canal, set inside a number of historic warehouses and the surrounding areas.
Camden Lock was one of London’s first crafts and antiques markets and still to this day retains its original focus as the principal market in Camden for crafts. Here you’ll find stalls selling handmade clothes and jewellery, music memorabilia, vintage clothing, custom items, artwork and gifts.
Fun fact: Amy Winehouse worked on a stall in Camden Lock Market when she was young.
Camden Stables Market
Camden’s Stables Market occupies the site of a historic former horse hospital and stables.
The majority of stalls and shops can be found inside large arches in old railway viaducts, with one walkway now being covered by a collection of brightly coloured floating umbrellas – a particular hit with the Instagrammer crowd.
This particular market is also popular with the area’s many alternative subcultures, with clothing and household stalls and shops catering for punks, goths and cybergoths.
Join the rave in Cyber Dog
Talking of cybergoths, don’t miss a trip to Cyberdog in the Stables Market.
Perhaps Camden’s most famous shop, Cyberdog is a unique underground store selling cyber-style neon PVC and rubber clothing. It’s guarded at the door by two giant robots so you won’t miss it!
While Cyberdog’s unusual clothing range might not necessarily suit everyone’s style, most people visit the store just to experience the exciting all-day rave, with live DJs, neon lights and even dancers livening up the atmosphere.
Grab a bite to eat at Camden Market West Yard
Previously KERB Camden, Camden Market West Yard is a foodie hub close to Camden Lock.
The Camden food market is home to a number of London’s top street food traders, including Oli Babas and their famous halloumi fries, freshly rolled pasta from The Cheese Wheel, and delicious burgers from Burger & Beyond, plus many, many more.
While there are loads of amazing foodie offerings all across the markets, West Yard is definitely my favourite spot to grab a tasty bite on a day out in Camden.
Treat yourself to delicious dessert at Chin Chin Labs
Chin Chin Labs is one of my favourite ice-cream parlours in London. It’s also Europe’s very first liquid nitrogen ice-cream parlour so be sure to watch how they make the ice cream behind the counter – it’s pretty cool!
At their Camden Lock store, you’ll find Chin Chin’s exciting range of ice cream flavours – burnt butter caramel is my favourite – as well as a variety of indulgent desserts including griddled vegan cookie dough, brownie cookie sandwiches and a sticky toffee pudding sundae.
Check out more of the best desserts in London.
Or indulge your sweet tooth at Hans & Gretel
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll also want to head to Hans and Gretel in Camden Market.
Based on the Brothers Grimm’s tale of Hansel & Gretel, the fairly-tale-inspired dessert cafe is one of the best places to visit in Camden with kids – or without kids, absolutely no judgment here.
The walls and ceilings of the cafe are entirely covered in candy canes, lollipops and colourful sweets, all hanging from the large tree in the center. There’s also a candy house that you can sit inside for photos.
Once you recover from the visual treat this store is on the eyes, you can then treat your belly to delicious treats including Hungarian funnel cakes, ice-creams in waffle cones, freakshakes and more. And not to worry, the elaborate desserts are just as Instagrammable as the rest of the store.
Wander past Camden Lock
Technically named Hamstead Lock 1, the dual locks known as Camden Lock provide a little area of tranquility right next to the busy High Street and Camden Lock Market.
You can grab some street food at Camden Market West Yard or a coffee at the Starbucks located in the former Lock Keeper’s Cottage and sit by the peaceful canal for a while, watching for houseboats to come by on their journey down the Regents Canal.
Take a pub crawl around Camden’s many famous pubs
Camden Town is well known for its wide variety of historic, charming and quirky pubs, many of which have been frequented by the area’s famous residents over the years.
You can stop for a drink where Amy Winehouse once poured pints at the Hawley Arms, embrace the rock and heavy metal crowd at The Black Heart, listen to old-school tunes from the jukebox at colourful Joes, or join the eclectic mix of people at the North London landmark that is The World’s End.
There’s really nowhere like Camden to head out on a London pub crawl!
Enjoy a night of live music
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Once you’re done hitting the pubs, continue your night out in Camden by heading to one of its many music venues. Camden has been the center of London’s live music scene for decades and has played host to countless famous names over the years.
You’ll find major artists playing at The Roundhouse, Electric Ballroom and Koko (where Madonna did her first UK gig). While The Jazz Cafe is the place to go for jazz, funk, hip-hop and electronic music.
Dingwalls is a little smaller but has hosted live performances by many iconic musicians and was once even the hangout point for members of The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Other more intimate live music venues in Camden include the Lock Tavern and the Green Note.
Best things to do near Camden Town
Hit the water on the Regents Canal
From Camden Lock, you can jump on a waterbus for a peaceful ride along the Regents Canal, past London Zoo and up to the charming neighbourhood of Little Venice.
Or if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you could opt for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding along the Regents Canal instead.
Wander around Regents Park
You could also take a short walk down the Regents Canal to nearby Regents Park.
One of London’s Royal Parks, Regents Park has plenty of great things to see and do, including beautifully manicured gardens, historic landmarks, a boating lake and a large open-air theatre.
Visit the animals at London Zoo
The northern edge of Regents Park, close to Camden, is where you’ll find ZSL London Zoo.
London Zoo is the oldest scientific zoo in the world. It also has one of the largest collections of animals in the UK, with nearly 20,000 individuals spanning over 700 species, including lions, tigers, giraffes, Galápagos giant tortoises, wallabies, numerous primate species, a colony of Humboldt penguins and plenty more.
Enjoy the views from Primrose Hill
Just a short walk from Camden Town, to the north of Regents Park, you’ll find one of London’s best free viewpoints; Primrose Hill.
Sitting almost 63 meters above sea level, this London hidden gem is a popular spot amongst locals for a summer picnic or evening drinks with friends while watching the sunset over the London skyline.
Camden Town Q&As
What is Camden famous for?
Camden Town is most famous for its exciting mix of markets, shops and live music venues. The neighbourhood is a meeting point of many of London’s alternative subcultures. Camden has also had a number of famous residents over the years, including John Keats, Charles Dickens and Amy Winehouse.
Is Camden safe?
Camden is just as safe as any other popular area of London. Being a busy tourist destination, you’ll want to keep an eye out for pickpockets or scammers. With so many pubs and late-night music venues, Camden can also get a little rowdy late at night, but as long as you’re sensible you’ll be completely fine.
What days are Camden Market open?
Camden Market is open 7 days a week.
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