Camden is one of London’s quirkiest neighbourhoods and is packed with brilliant places to see. Not sure where to start? Here are 15 cool things to do in Camden that you shouldn’t miss.
You won’t be able to quite put your finger on what makes Camden buzz.
Is it the brilliant market bursting with indie and alternative finds? Is it the cool street art? The lively bars? Let me guess – the old-school pubs? Who knows. As a lifelong Londoner, I still can’t say what it is that makes Camden tick.
What I do know is that Camden’s reputation as one of London’s most iconic areas lives on. Planning your visit? I’ve chosen my favourite things to do and places to go in Camden.
Things to do in Camden During the Day
Go Shopping in Camden’s Famous Markets
You can’t come to Camden and not visit the market. Fact.
I love Camden Market, as it’s like a little microcosm of everything there is to love about London. Think quirky clothing and cool accessories that are the perfect antidote to bland high street fashion – you’ll see why it’s one of my favourite things to do in Camden Town.
Camden Market is actually a series of markets. Camden Lock Village, Camden Lock Market, The Stables Market and Buck Street Village. They’re all slightly different – but within a short walk of each other – perfect for hunting out your next purchase.
You could easily spend an entire day or more just exploring the markets and all their hidden gems. In particular, if you’re looking to recreate that effortless London style, you’ll love the selection of boutiques at the market.
I particularly love “Everything 5 Pounds”, a stylish stall where everything is (you guessed it) 5 pounds, as well as Time Tunnel Vintage, for more luxe retro pieces.
Street Art Hunting around Camden
Camden is known as an artsy and creative hub, so it should come as no surprise that its walls are home to plenty of ultra-cool street art.
In particular, the Camden North area has many striking pieces, including some from well-known street artists. While some of the identities behind the works are revealed, others are totally anonymous while some artists are known only by nicknames like Bambi.
All we know is that she’s female, and the artist behind well-known works such as Amy Winehouse’s portrait on Camden Road.
Other street art hotspots include Hawley Street, Castlehaven Road and Kentish Town Road, which all have some amazing works.
Read More: Street Art Hunting in Camden
Hang Out on Regent’s Canal
Want a break from the hustle and bustle of central London? Head for Regent’s Canal towards the gorgeous area known as Little Venice.
It’s quite the hidden gem and one of my favourite things to do near Camden, thanks to the sight of the river and the peaceful and quiet atmosphere.
Although it is on the quiet side, there’s still enough liveliness to remind you that you’re in the midst of London town. You can expect to see plenty of walkers, joggers and people out aboard row boats – why not join them?
For more than 200 years, Regent’s Canal has been a peaceful little oasis that has a totally different feel and pace than the rest of Camden. It’s free to visit and you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch, making it one of the cheapest things to do in Camden!
Soak Up the Sun on Camden Beach
A beach? In London? Are you kidding?
Yes, you read that right – you don’t need to head off to Spain or Cornwall to enjoy the beach life, because London has its own. Well, at least in summer.
To be fair, it is, of course, a man-made beach – over 150 tonnes of sand are trucked in for the occasion – but it’s still lots of fun. Throughout summer, both Londoners and visitors come to enjoy the sun and sand.
Throughout summer the beach also has a lineup of concerts and other events to enjoy, so take a look and the calendar before your beach day.
PS – if you want to know where to find this slice of paradise… it’s located at The Roundhouse.
Find Out about Folk Music at the Cecil Sharp House
Before Camden Town was all about jazz and indie music, there was folk. For centuries, UK artists have produced traditional folk songs and music.
However, the genre is certainly not relegated only to the pages of the history books. Folk has been reinvigorated in recent times, with the rise in popularity of bands like Mumford & Sons incorporating the style.
If you want to learn more about folk music and catch a gig, then I highly recommend the Cecil Sharp House. It’s been a premier folk venue since the 1930s.
Nowadays, it holds a huge collection of memorabilia relating to folk music and dancing. There’s also frequent shows of everything from traditional folk dancing to modern pop/folk that you might have heard on the radio. There are also workshops, classes and courses if you fancy learning more.
It’s also been named as one of the best live music venues in London. Just saying.
Read Next: Unusual and Weird Things to do in London
Spend Time at the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum shares the stories and history of Jewish people in Britain, with exhibitions devoted to both modern life and days gone by.
Some of the themes of the museum include faith, migration and culture. There are four permanent exhibitions as well as an ever-rotating selection of temporary exhibits.
The permanent collections feature various objects relating to the themes. Some of the objects have spiritual significance, such as the 13th-century mikvah bath that is used for ritual cleansing. Another highlight is a beautiful 17th Century Ark, taken from a synagogue in Italy.
Other exhibits aim to tell the stories of everyday life for Jewish people over the decades. There is currently a tailoring workshop, reflecting the fact that many Jewish migrants worked in the textile industry in the early 20th century.
They also do guided walks around Camden, so it’s well worth taking a look at the website to see what’s on during your visit.
Snap the Pretty Houses (and the Views) at Primrose Hill
If you’re wondering what to do in Camden on a budget, then a visit to Primrose Hill is a great option.
This beautiful green space is loved by both Londoners and visitors, who retreat into the green space to get away from the hustle and bustle of the English capital.
One of the highlights of Primrose Hill is the gorgeous houses around it, and especially at Chalcot Square. They are so pretty with their pastel colours and traditional charm – don’t forget to take plenty of snaps!
Amongst those that have lived in Chalcot Square are the author Sylvia Plath and poet William Butler Yeats.
From the top of Primrose Hill, you’ll also be treated to some amazing views out over the city of London.
Gorge on Street Food at Kerb (and the Area’s Other Cool Street Food Spots)
Sure, sometimes you want to head out for dinner at one of London’s fancy restaurants – and then sometimes, you just want to snack on delicious, unpretentious food from one of the city’s many cool food markets.
Kerb in Camden Town is one of the best London spots for street food.
What makes Kerb so special? The market boasts 30 different street food vendors (mostly food trucks) all in one convenient location at Camden Market. There are so many great choices – from Vietnamese to Mexican and everything in between – the hardest bit is choosing your meal.
Stroll Around Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park lies adjacent to Primrose Hill, another of my favourite places to go in Camden.
It’s a large green space that was named after King George IV, who before his coronation was often called “the playboy prince”.
He obviously had great taste in gardens, as to this day the park is a wonderful place to spend a morning or afternoon. In particular, the rose garden – complete with over 12,000 roses – is a particular highlight.
The park is also popular with local wildlife. There are many different species of birds found in the park, but perhaps everyone’s favourite resident is the adorable hedgehog. If you see one, be sure to get some pictures, but keep your distance so as not to frighten them!
Feast on Dessert at Chin Chin Labs
Get ready for sugar overload at Chin Chin Labs, which has been named the ‘best ice cream parlour in England’.
It’s part mad scientist’s lair and part dessert parlour, with all kinds of quirky and innovative desserts.
Today, there are three Chin Chin stores around London, but it all started in Camden when the owner began making ice cream using liquid nitrogen.
Almost ten years later, it’s still going strong as visitors flock to try all the scrumptious flavours like fleur de sel caramel sauce, or cardamom and pistachio. The flavours change weekly, so you can never get bored, no matter how often you visit!
Best of all, Chin Chin is proudly about spreading joy and positivity – the good vibes and great ice cream mean it’s hard to leave without a big smile on your face.
Things to do in Camden at Night
Go on a Pub Crawl around Camden’s Famous Pubs
Visiting the pub is an essential part of any trip to London and Camden Town. Why visit just one, when you can make a night out of it and go on a pub crawl?
Camden is simply teeming with historic, quirky and/or charming pubs where soaking in the atmosphere is just as important as downing a pint (although that’s important too). Be warned: some are very, very quirky – especially the metal ones.
There are a number of organised pub crawls that you can join in, especially if you’re visiting solo. The other option is to make up your own itinerary – this way you have total freedom over what you see and what you drink.
The sky is the limit (well, your alcohol tolerance actually), but some of my favourite pubs in Camden include the gothic Black Heart, the brightly coloured Joe’s (you cannot miss it) and the stylish Lock 17.
Head to a Gig at The Roundhouse
Camden is synonymous with music and the arts, so to be considered an absolute stand-out, you have to be good. Really good.
Luckily, the Roundhouse absolutely is. This amazing performing arts space lives up to its stellar reputation, offering an incredible calendar of theatre, live music and more.
More than just a performing arts space, the Roundhouse is committed to the power of the creative arts to transform lives. They give back through frequent workshops and other events, which are frequently aimed at young people.
Catching a performance at the Roundhouse is definitely one of the best things to do in Camden at night. I highly recommend checking out their calendar with an open mind.
Chill Out to Music at The Jazz Cafe
Right in the heart of Camden Town you’ll find The Jazz Cafe, serving up jazz at it should be. Think an intimate venue with an impressive set list all through the week.
While the emphasis is on jazz, they actually offer a little more variety. Reggae and soul are frequently on the calendar, while other genres pop up occasionally too.
The Jazz Cafe does a great job of promoting both up-and-coming local artists as well as larger international acts. It’s a bit of a mixed bag as to who and what you’ll hear and see, but it’s always an amazing experience.
As the name suggests, they also do great food to enjoy with your tunes. It’s a delicious menu with classics like crab linguine and southern fried chicken, while they also do a mean cocktail as well.
Read More: The Best Bars in Camden
Go on a Big Night out at The Stables
Looking for a venue where you can really let your hair down and party the night away? If so, head for The Stables.
Located within the Camden Market, it gets its name from the fact that it was a horse hospital in a previous life. For more than 200 years, the stables were home to up to 400 horses. As Camden Market was a hub for industry and merchants, it made sense that it was the place where sick or injured horses were treated.
Within the Stables Market area, you’ll find the FEST venue, which offers different experiences and events depending on your tastes.
There’s a lavish night club at FEST, while the restaurant The Birdcage also offers burlesque and cabaret shows. With so much variety, you can easily make a night out of it (and then some).
Tour Camden’s Famous Music Spots
It’s no secret that Camden has long been considered one of London’s musical hotspots. In fact, it’s one of the most iconic areas in the music world, having inspired performers including Amy Winehouse, Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols.
There are so many different iconic landmarks, from venues which launched international careers to art honouring fallen legends (Amy Winehouse, who lived in Camden until her death, features prominently).
Taking a tour to learn all about the significance of various landmarks is a great way to see Camden and learn more about its musical history.
You can either join a guided tour or make up your own. Don’t forget to add in iconic sights like the venue Koko and the Amy Winehouse statue at Camden Market.
Practical Tips for Visiting Camden, London
- Camden has its own tube stop, conveniently called “Camden Town”. The Northern line services this stop.
- At first glance, Camden can be a tad overwhelming. A tour is a really good way to get your bearings and also to discover some of those hidden away places that you’d otherwise miss. I recommend Get Your Guide.
- Exploring Camden on foot is definitely the way to go. There are so many hidden gems like street art and quirky houses, so be sure to take in all of your surroundings. I also suggest wearing some comfy shoes as you’re going to want to cover a lot of ground!
- If you want a little more guidance – check out this cool walking tour with a local.
Places to go in Camden, London: Map
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