Camden Town has been a residential area since the 1790s. But it was only the development of the Grand Union Canal and the improved railway transport that turned it into a bustling part of London.
Today, visitors and locals gather here to hunt for treasures in Camden's markets, stroll by Regent's Canal, sample cuisine from around the world and listen to live music. Many famous people, including Dylan Thomas, Walter Sickert and Amy Winehouse, have called Camden home.
Things to do in Camden: shopping
Camden has a labyrinth of open-air markets and other stores that will keep even the keenest shoppers busy, including:
- Camden Lock Market – selling crafts, books, clothing, jewellery and fast food.
- Camden Lock Village – clothing and accessories, as well as a range of unusual items.
- Camden Market – originally named Buck Street, this market sells fashion for all tastes.
- Inverness Street Market – a few of the original fruit stands remain but most have been taken over by footwear and souvenir stalls.
- Stables Market – a mix of permanent shops and stalls selling household items, antiques, alternative clothing and food.
- Camden High Street – home to big fashion brands and vintage clothing stores.
Things to do in Camden: food and drink
You'll find food from around the globe at Camden's many eateries and street vendors, in particular at Camden Lock Market, which has a range of cheap and tasty eats. Try The Cheese Wheel for pasta swirled around a wheel of cheese, or Young Vegans for plant-based pie and mash.
Camden restaurant, bar and nightspot Shaka Zulu serves South African cuisine and entertains guests throughout the evening with live music and dance. Or enjoy classic British fare with fish and chips in retro surrounds at Poppies.
For dessert, stock up on delicious cupcakes in a variety of flavours and colours at famous Primrose Bakery, or grab an ice cream with a difference (frozen with liquid nitrogen, no less) at Chin Chin Labs.
You're never far from a bar in Camden. Try Scottish import BrewDog, the legendary Dublin Castle on Parkway or The World's End opposite Camden Town Tube station (Northern line). Look for local beers from Camden Town brewery in nearby pubs.
Things to do in Camden: live music and theatre
Camden has always been a hub for London's live music scene, with legendary venues that have launched many big names. Check out Koko, the Underworld and Electric Ballroom to catch the latest bands. You can also see top jazz and blues performances at the Jazz Café or Blues Kitchen.
Cecil Sharp House is the home of English folk music, holding an astonishing archive of sheet music, recordings and manuscripts documenting the history of traditional English folk dance and song. Keep an eye out for regular gigs from emerging and established singers.
Cultural things to do in Camden
Things to do near Camden
If you’re looking for something a little more active, take the kids down to the Pirate Castle, where the whole family can enjoy a range of water-based activities.
Explore the area along the picturesque Regent's Canal, which runs through Camden. From Camden Lock, you can take a return boat tour to Little Venice. Or head to nearby ZSL London Zoo in Regent's Park, which is great fun for kids and adults alike. In summer, watch a show at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, hire a rowing boat or play a game of tennis, cricket or football.
Trendy Primrose Hill is also well worth a visit for the spectacular city views.
Accommodation in Camden
There is plenty of accommodation in and around Camden. The Smart Camden Inn is a good budget option, while the Melia White House, the Pullman London St Pancras and the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel are also nearby.
Travel to Camden
Use Camden Town or Chalk Farm Tube stations to visit the Camden area. There are also many nearby bus routes.
Explore more London neighbourhoods
Where to next? Check out other top London areas.