Shop fronts in Camden London
Ian Packham

Things to do in Camden London

Linked with London’s various counter culture movements, Camden is much loved by those who believe they don’t fit in elsewhere, which, let’s face it, is all of us. It generally draws a younger crowd to its markets, live music venues, museums and green spaces. But if you’re wondering if it’s worth you visiting Camden, you’ll first want to know about the things to do in Camden London and what the area is all about.

Camden, usually used to mean the Camden Town neighborhood, is an area of north London adjacent to Regent’s Park. Its quirky character – seeing young professionals rubbing shoulders with hipsters and dreadlocked wannabe revolutionaries – has attracted everyone from American poet Sylvia Plath to Grammy award winning singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. Why? That’s exactly what we’re here to demonstrate!

Go wild

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Camden contains over 160 blue plaques – denoting places where significant personalities have lived. However, it’s the neighborhood's non-human residents that capture the hearts of many visitors to north London.

ZSL London Zoo is one of the world’s oldest and continues to be one of its most important conservation centers too. Visitors are able to get closer than ever before to Asiatic lions – of which only 400 exist in the wild, alongside gorillas and the creatures of London’s only rainforest.

The zoo occupies the northernmost parts of Regent’s Park, one of London’s eight royal parks. Here visitors can take in the 12,000 individual roses that color Queen Mary’s Gardens each spring and summer, take a turn on the boating lake or wander across to Primrose Hill for views of the London skyline.

Another spot to take in the quieter side of life in Camden is along the towpath of Regent’s Canal. Almost 14 km in length, the canal encircles much of north London, with some of its most picturesque areas being that within Regent’s Park and leading towards the market stalls of Camden Lock.

Go shopping

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Forget the flagship stores of Oxford Street, Camden is all about its market stalls. Now primarily geared towards the tourist industry, you’re not going to be able to stock up on fruit and veg as easily as you once might have. However, you will have plenty of choice when it comes to books, clothing and street food.

That’s because Camden actually has five markets within walking distance of one another. The most famous is Camden Lock Market, whose stalls are located around Regent’s Canal.

For fashion, head to Buck Street Market, whilst antiques aficionados might prefer Stables Market. If you start to miss the big store names, you’ll find them – and a good number of independent boutiques – on Camden High Street.

Go cultural

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Founded in 1932, Camden’s Jewish Museum recounts details of the life of London’s Jewish populations over the years. Its treasures include the Lindo Lamp – the first Hanukkah menorah known to have been made in Britain. Covering three stories of a row of buildings in Albert Street, it also has an important collection of artefacts from Auschwitz concentration camp and several significant works of art.

A taste for modern and contemporary art is catered for at Cob Gallery, whose white walls are used to primarily represent emerging female artists based in the London area. The paintings and drawings hanging in the gallery offer perhaps the first chance to examine the work of artists sure to hit the mainstream sometime soon.

An even greater range of artists can be discovered at the annual Frieze Art Fair, taking place each October in Regent’s Park. One of the highlights of London’s cultural calendar, the fair hosts over 150 galleries from around the world, dotting the park with large scale sculpture as paintings find a home in the temporary structure built purposely each year.

Go for a bite to eat

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The constant stream of visitors to Camden means you only have to walk a few meters before catching the scent of food and drink from around the world. From traditional British fish and chips to Neapolitan pizza, Jamaican jerk chicken and Middle Eastern wraps, there’s something to tempt everyone’s taste buds.

On the drinks front, Camden has its very own brewery, the Camden Town Brewery, whose core range includes the award-winning German style Hells Lager and Gentleman's Wit, a Belgian white beer with a hint of Earl Grey tea. What could be more Camden than that?

For a trustworthy authentic pub to sample the brewery’s latest batches try the Hawley Arms, a pub Amy Winehouse liked so much she would serve behind the bar. A statue of her stands not too far away in Stables Market.

Go for a night out like no other

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Based in a converted railroad shed where engines were turned and stored, the Roundhouse is a theater and auditorium hosting everything from performances of Shakespeare to the Britten Sinfonia and Bob Dylan.

Meanwhile the Electric Ballroom is a stalwart of the indie music scene – with occasional performances by the likes of Ed Sheeran too. The Jazz Café provides a space for blues fans, and anyone with an interest in traditional English folk need only head to Cecil Sharp House to get their fill of the vibes.

For nightlife in Camden combining cocktails and live DJs, check out Belushis, who has a laid-back afterwork ambience during the week, turning to a full-on dance-till-dawn ethos come the weekend. For ease of access alone – right opposite Camden Town Underground station – The Underworld is also worth mentioning. It welcomes an eclectic crowd ready to fill the dance floor when the top indie and rock tunes hit the speakers.

Uncover the myriad things to do in Camden London

By day and by night, there are a huge number of things to do in Camden London. But if you’re still looking for more to fill your days in the UK capital, the British Museum is just a short distance away, alongside the Curzon Bloomsbury Cinema and Freud Museum.

Visit these attractions with Go City and you’ll make incredible savings on admission costs, meaning there’s even more reason to take in the sites of this small part of north London!

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