Camden Town is a district of London.
For half a century, Camden has been the centre of alternative culture in London, be that punk, goth, hippie or emo. The area is home to large markets selling an extremely wide range of products from glowing t-shirts to digeridoos, mosty from independent stalls. With some of the capital's most varied cuisine, great live music and an 'anything goes' attitude, Camden is one of the most rewarding of London's areas.
- Camden Town tube station on the Northern Line of the London Underground. It becomes an exit only station on Sundays between 1pm and 5:30pm. This means you can arrive by Camden Town, but will have to walk to Mornington Crescent tube station or Chalk Farm tube station if you want to leave by Tube on Sunday afternoon. Both stations are just a short walk from Camden High Street.
- Mornington Crescent tube station on the Northern Line (Charing Cross branch) of the London Underground.
- Chalk Farm tube stations on the Northern Line (Edgeware branch)
- Camden Road National Rail station.
There are several nice walks along the canal, but the main focus of Camden are the shops, restaurants and night-life.
- Camden Town Audio Tour, . Download the audio tour and take to the streets with Camdenite celebrity Robert Elms and explore Camden Town, an area famous for being different.
Regents Canal was once a lifeline for trade and industry in London with narrowboats and barges ferrying goods to and from North London. The canal winds its way from the Grand Union Canal near Paddington in West London, past Regents Park, Camden, Islington and Mile End to Limehouse, where it meets the Thames.
From Camden Lock you can walk upstream along the canal to The Regents Park and on to London Zoo. It's a great way to approach the Zoo and a good way to avoid the traffic.
Downstream of Camden is less pretty but still an interesting walk, taking you through the Islington Tunnel (one of the longest tunnels in the British canal system) and out in to East London.
Whichever way you go along the path, watch out for cyclists!
Regent's Park itself is a lovely place to investigate. Go boating on the lake, wander around the ornate flower gardens or take in a show. The Open Air Theatre company do regular productions of Shakespeare and other classic English theatre . The Regents Park hosts other events throughout the summer months. See the Royal Parks website for more information.
At Camden Town you will find several great markets, one for clothes, one for food, and one for all manner of things, from throws to second hand books, food from a hundred different cultures and a lot more.
For a detailed map of the Camden Markets and surrounding highlights, see - urWurld.
- The Lock Market. Sa-Su 9am-6pm. Situated on the east side of Chalk Farm Road, by Camden Lock, this market has many stores mainly focused around music and clothing.
- The Stables Market. Some shops open all week round, but most stalls only operate Sa-Su 9am-6pm. This is the largest of Camden's market areas, featuring hundreds of stalls selling everything from African art to beds to fetish clothing to antiques. This is probably the best place in London for interesting clothes, including vintage, goth, cyber and general club-wear. Don't miss The Black Rose and Cyberdog - two institutions in the alternative scene in London. The main entrance to the Stables is next to the railway bridge across Chalk Farm Road, just past the canal. Go early to avoid the crowds.
- The Canal Market. Sa-Su 9am-6pm. Can be found in the large building beside the entrance to the Stables. Three floors of arts and crafts, including jewellery, paintings, candles, figurines and much more. A great place for gifts and souvenirs.
- Inverness Street Market. Inverness Street is across Chalk Farm Road from Camden Tube. This is a small market selling a range of common goods such as fruit & veg, cheap clothes and other bits and bobs.
- The Camden / Buck Street Market. A great spot for cheap knock-offs of expensive goods such as Doc Martens. Don't be fooled by the low price - these boots aren't worth even that. Great for t-shirts and women's clothes, not so hot for men. Also lots of fake designer handbags.
Chalk Farm Road
In addition to the markets, there are a large number of interesting shops dotted all around the area. Take a long slow wander down Chalk Farm Road (it'll need to be slow - the sheer number of people makes walking quickly impossible!), checking out the amazing collection of boots and leather that dominate it. Of special note are:
- Resurrection Records, . The home of alternative music in North London.
- Amsterdam of London - probably the finest purveyor of curious things in London.
Kentish Town Road
On Kentish Town Road, just next to Camden Town tube, you will find the official Doc Martens boot co., selling Doc Martens since the 60s. The proprieter is always happy to talk and has some fun tales about the strange requests he's had from famous people.
On the High Street, you will find Rokit, a proud upshoot that took it's roots from Camden market and now has four high street stores across London.
Camden has some of the most varied cuisine in all of London.
A key part of Camden's food scene are the many stalls offering quick and tasty food from every country possible. Quality varies, but generally it is good and cheap. Stalls tend to be located in and around the Lock and Stables markets, but they appear everywhere.
A perennial favourite has been the donut and cake stall located next to the bridge, as have the many Chinese and Thai stalls nearby.
Camden also contains a large number of sit-down restaurants, many of which are relatively inexpensive, and open after the stalls have closed.
Camden has a great night life, with lots of cool bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants.
- Jazz Café. Food, drink, and music (jazz, soul, blues).
- Electric Ballroom, . The Ballroom hosts a number of different club nights. It's a big place with three separate dancefloors and a large bar area, though despite the large size tends to get very hot in the summer months. See website for more info on what's on. Friday 10:30PM-3AM. Features a rock floor and an industrial/goth/rock/techno floor.
- Devonshire Arms, . The dress code is strictly alternative and the pub has got a late night license for Fridays and Saturdays. DJs every night and some gigs. The artwork on the walls was produced by Robin, the barman.
- The Good Mixer, Inverness Street, off Camden Road. Mo-Sa til midnight. Su til 11pm. A nice pub where the likes of Blur and Pulp and a load of other Britpop bands from the nineties used to drink. Prices are reasonable, there are two pool tables, and the general atmosphere is laid back and friendly.
- The World's End. Opposite Camden Road tube, this is a local landmark and a good meeting point. It's large, with two separate bars and a lot of seating. Food is served at the weekend, though isn't of the best quality.
- The Underworld, . Located beneath the World's End. It's a great spot to go and catch alternative bands: goth, metal, electronica, rock, punk and many others are found here on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night is also a regular club night, attracting large numbers from the young alternative crowd and more studenty than the Saturday.
- The Barfly, 49 Chalk Farm Rd, . One of the best gig venues in North London, the Barfly plays host to a wide range of music, concentrating on rock and pop. Listings available on their website.
- The Misty Moon A fairly average pub just a slight bit closer to Chalk Farm Tube than the Barfly.
- The Dublin Castle. A bit rowdy and often quite packed, this pub and music venue has played a pivotal role in British music. It's well known for producing Madness and helping a great many other groups along their path to glory. Worth a stop, just for the atmosphere. The Dublin Castle can be found on Parkway.
- The Edinboro Castle, just off the end of Parkway to the left. A more refined side of Camden, this pub is part of a chain in North London attempting to apply a little class. It has a fine selection of beer and cider, including a selection of Belgian beers both bottled and draught. The food is always good and the staff always friendly. There's a large, semi-covered outdoor seating area with heaters.
On the whole, Camden is safe.
Camden has long had strong associations with drugs, in particular cannabis and magic mushrooms. Even during daylight, you are likely to be offered weed or hashish. These dealers will usually accept no for an answer. Remember that these drugs are still illegal, but if you are the kind of person to take drugs, these streetside dealers are not to be trusted, and often just steal your money if you look interested. Also, there are many undercover police around to catch you. Until 2007, it was possible to freely obtain magic mushrooms due a loophole that permitted the sale of fresh goods. This loophole has now closed, and possesion is taken seriously by the police.
Walking around Camden at night is generally fine, but gangs of youths can seem threatening, and best avoided if alone. Take a taxi if you are feeling insecure.
Fake goods are found in abundance in Camden. Most of the time its fairly obvious (Bolex watches etc.), but be careful when purchasing - refunds are not common. Fake DVDs are mostly terrible quality.