Things to Do in Camden Town
Once known as the Rock and Roll capital of the world, Camden Town is now a popular tourist destination offering many great things to do.
From shopping at Camden Market to catching a live music gig, there’s always something to do, see, and eat in this neighborhood!
This is our guide to the best places to go, as well as our list of the best tours in the area.
- Know Before You Go
- Top Things to Do
- Food, Drink, and Music
- Sightseeing Tours
- Camden Market
- Free Tours by Foot
Know Before You Go
Camden Town was developed as a residential area in 1791 and served as an important junction for the railways and canal network.
Though the neighborhood has evolved a lot in the last few years into a major tourist attraction, there is still evidence of its past reputation as a haven for punks and alternative musicians.
One of the biggest draws to the neighborhood is the world-famous Camden Market.
Camden Town is conveniently located in central London, just north of Soho and King’s Cross. The best way to navigate yourself there is to use this Google map link.
There are several different bus lines and train stations:
- Nearest Train Stations: Camden Town (Underground) or Camden Town (Overground)
- Bus Lines: 24, 27, 29, 31, 46, 88, 134, 168, 214, 253, 274
TOP THINGS TO DO
Below are the top things to do in the markets. Each image links to the corresponding part of our Camden Town video.
This world-famous market is a must-visit in Camden Town. Camden Market has over 1,000 shops, street vendors, food stalls, restaurants and so much more.
From the antique markets kept in the back of the Market at The Stables, to the newer market stalls just near the station, Camden High Street is one large market-lovers paradise.
Get digging through boxes, explore the rails, grab a souvenir, or uncover a treasure – Camden Market is yours to uncover.
Our detailed post on Camden Market should prove helpful to you.
2. Have a Drink at The Hawley Arms Pub
There is no shortage of incredible pubs in Camden Town. We recommend a visit to The Hawley Arms, one of the most (in)famous pubs in all of London.
A true boozer, the Hawley Arms has been a watering hole for Londoners and London celebrity locals alike for years.
For fans of local Camdenite (and now deceased) singer Amy Winehouse, pay homage to her at the Hawley Arms where she once pulled pints behind the bar.
You can find the Amy Winehouse statue in Camden Market.
3. Grab a Bite
You’re spoiled for choice when deciding to take lunch in Camden. Besides the dining options in the area, you have a huge array of choices in the Camden Market. See the long list of options here.
Near the Stables Market, there is a whole bazaar exclusively inhabited by food stands.
For international cuisine, desserts, breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time is a good time to eat in Camden!
Since the 1970s, Camden has been home to London’s music scene. Today you can see up-and-coming bands to world-famous acts, with dozens of venues with live music to choose from.
A mainstay of alternative music is Electric Ballroom. Among the countless bands from the past who played here are The Clash, U2, and The Smiths. The list of current performers is also impressive.
For every kind of performance, try the historic Roundhouse. From music, performance art, cabaret, poetry slams, films, and lectures, The Roundhouse has it all.
See the section below for more music venues.
5. Explore Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal is a beautiful oasis in the centre of busy, bustling London.
The canal runs the length of Camden and there are paths to walk or jog along…or even longboats to hire!
A real treat, taking a London canal boat is a great way to while away a gorgeous afternoon.
6. Get a Great View from Primrose Hill
An area of open parkland nestled in residential and upmarket Camden sits Primrose Hill – a wonderful place to get a gorgeous view of London.
A sweeping vista straight over Regent’s Park and into the capital awaits you and this is also a smashing place to have a picnic!
7. Discover Steet Art
London is well-known for its street art and Camden Town is one of the best hubs to spot some masterworks.
Just a few of the streets to wander are Castlehaven Road, Miller Street, Hawley Street and Hawley Mews.
Also, you can find a number of murals at the back entrance to Electric Ballroom
If you love street art, you may consider joining our London Graffiti and Street Art Tour.
8. Visit the Jewish Museum
At the Jewish Museum, learn about the history of London’s Jews dating back from the year 1066.
The museum educates the public about Jewish heritage, culture and religion through interactive exhibits.
This family-friendly museum has four permanent exhibits and offers topical rotating exhibits.
You can see a recreation of London’s East End that was, from the late nineteenth century until the late 1970s, a large enclave of London’s Jews.
9. Check out the Zoo
Run entirely by a team of Zoologists working for conservation and species preservation, London Zoo is one of the oldest continually operating zoos in the world.
Hundreds of species of animal are here to be seen – including the reptiles in the Zoo’s famous’ reptile house’ featuring in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!
10. Go on a Tour!
Of course, we think the best way to see Camden is to jump on our free walking tour!
Your expert guide will lead you along the canals, alleyways, and back streets of Camden, all the while telling you stories about the locations you are seeing.
You will also hear about the people who helped to turn Camden into an alternative locale and home to artists, celebrities, and regular Londoners alike!
11. See the London Music Walk of Fame
In 2019, the city’s official Music Walk of Fame was begun to honor exceptional musical talent from around the globe. There is a special focus on bands that have a connection to Camden Town.
The walk’s first plaque was dedicated to The Who. Others who have plaques along the walk are Amy Winehouse, Madness, Soul II Soul.
The walk expects to add 20 plaques per year, with a goal of having 400+ performers. Stay tuned to see who is next! See the official website for more information.
12. Visit the Proud Photo Gallery
Europe’s most popular privately funded photographic gallery, the Proud Gallery specializes in photographs documenting fashion, pop culture, and music – with a heavy emphasis on Rock and Roll.
Music buffs will be thrilled by works depicting famous performers like The Sex Pistols, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones…and the list goes on.
Treat yourself to a purchase of one of their prints for a great – and unique – London souvenir.
13. Learn the History of Folk Music
One of London’s little-known museums, Cecil Sharp House here in Camden is the home of English folk dance and song.
This little building is filled with artifacts, manuscripts, and records that together paint the picture of the history of traditional English folk music and dancing.
The venue hosts regular event nights, workshops, talks, and dancing. Be sure to check out their website for the schedule of events, hours and directions there.
Where to Eat, Drink and See Live Music
Camden has a great nightlife with many different restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars to choose from. There are loads of music venues as well.
Check out our post on Things to Do in London at Night for even more inspiration.
Andy’s Greek Taverna – A friendly, family-run Greek restaurant just south of the heart of Camden. Opened in 1967, this hole-in-the-wall eatery serves up some of the best Greek cuisines in the city.
Mildred’s – A fantastic vegetarian restaurant that offers classic dishes from a wide variety of cultures, such as veggie sausage and mash, mock fried chicken, and a messy eggplant burger.
Poppies Fish and Chips – If you’re in the mood for fish and chips during your time in Camden, then Poppies is the place to go! Affordable food with lots of different sauces for dipping.
For more of the best Fish and Chips in London, check out our post.
Fifty-Five – A fantastic cocktail bar with a huge selection of drinks. They offer great 2 for 1 discounts if you go between hours of 5-8 m.
The Hawley Arms – Frequented by Amy Winehouse throughout her time in Camden, the Hawley Arms is one of the most famous pubs in the neighborhood. The friendly bar staff and Amy Winehouse memorabilia make this place particularly special.
Elephant’s Head – This is a dive bar where you are guaranteed to meet some characters! Drinks are cheap and open late.
In addition to those mentioned above, we suggest:
Underworld is for fans of heavy metal classic rock.
Camden Town Tours
There are several different companies offering tours of Camden. Whether you prefer exploring on foot, bike, boat, or with a snack in your hand, we promise there is a tour available in this neighborhood!
Below are some of our favorites, including our highly rated Free Tours by Foot Camden Town Tour. We also have a free, self-guided tour of Camden.
Free Tours by Foot
Join us as we explore one of London’s most vibrant areas: Camden.
Built around canals and boasting some of the capital’s best market stalls, Camden is a must-see for visitors who are looking to get familiar with the alternative side of London.
Catapulted into 1960s counter-culture consciousness by Pink Floyd’s concert at the Roundhouse, Camden Town took over from Soho as London’s bohemian, artistic and musical epicenter in the ’80s, ’90s and naughties.
Just a few miles away from London’s tourist sights but light-years away in spirit, Camden must be seen to be believed.
Join our 2 – 2.5-hour tour through London’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, Punk, Indie, Pop, and youth culture mecca.
We’ll stroll along the Regent’s Canal, browse Camden’s world-famous independent markets (a paradise for fashionistas, foodies, and bargain hunters); explore the area’s Street Art scene, and hear the stories of the venues and characters that made rock history.
Camden is the perfect place for dinner, an evening out listening to the latest sounds and the stars of tomorrow, and clubbing for the night owls.
Our guides will help you get the most out of this legendary London borough.
Sights covered on the Camden Town Tour:
- Street Art
- Electric Ballroom (Led Zeppelin/Thin Lizzy)
- Arlington House (George Orwell)
- The Dublin Castle (Madness & Ska, The Pogues)
- The Roundhouse (Pink Floyd)
- Street Art
- Stables Markets (the Clash/Pulp/The Libertines)
- Proud Photo Gallery
- Sign of the Times (Prince)
- Hawley Arms (Amy Winehouse)
- Camden Market
- Dingwalls (The Sex Pistols)
- Regent’s Canal
Reservations: Click here to reserve.
Where: Meet your guide at Barclays opposite Camden Tube (map). The tour ends within walking distance of Camden Town and Chalk Farm Stations.
Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours.
Cost: This tour is free to take, and you get to decide what, if anything, the tour was worth when it’s done. A name-your-own-price tour is a tour for anyone’s budget.
For more tips on saving money when visiting London, check out our blog posts for London on a budget.
Self-Guided Camden Tour
Start: Camden Town Underground Station
Finish: Camden Market Stables
Duration: 2 Hours
This post is a self-guided tour to show the visitor some of the many interesting things to see in Camden Town London. Be sure to take a look at our other self-guided tours of London.
You will begin your tour just outside Camden Town Underground Station. Upon exit of the station, turn RIGHT down Camden High Street until you see ELECTRIC BALLROOM.
Stop 1 – Electric Ballroom
Walk down this street and stop somewhere in the middle.
Operating here for over 70 years, Electric Ballroom has held performances by top artists like Sid Vicious, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and The Clash.
Attempts to demolish the Electric Ballroom in order to make space to redevelop Camden Town Underground Station were put forward in 2004 but quickly struck down.
Another proposal was made to demolish not just the Electric Ballroom but the original Dr. Martens store and part of Camden Market as well in 2005 – but was struck down by the Prime Minister himself!
The venue still stands in defiance of Transport for London, perhaps making it extra beloved by London locals who appreciate it for its’ history.
Continue down Camden High Street until you see the market sign above INVERNESS STREET on your LEFT.
Stop 2 – Inverness Street/Old Market
Inverness Street Market was previously the fruit and vegetable market for Camden locals – dating back decades.
Originally, it carried fresh produce only, in comparison to the rest of the Market which sold goods and antiques.
By 2012, however, Camden was home to numerous chain grocery stores, which eventually sounded the death-knell of the fruit and vegetable stalls here.
Only two produce vendors were operating here and by 2013 they were gone completely…replaced by the snacks, souvenirs, baggage, and clothing stalls that still stand today.
Continue down Inverness Street then turn RIGHT onto ARLINGTON ROAD. Stop outside number 220: ARLINGTON HOUSE.
Stop 3 – Arlington House (One Housing Group)
Today Arlington House is run by One Housing Group who maintains Arlington House as a shelter for the homeless with emphasis on training, rehabilitation and helping integrate their visitors back into modern society.
Not a simple shelter these days, Arlington House has sub-market-rent flats as well as training space, hostel accommodation, business units, and artist studios.
In its’ history, Arlington House has been utilised by notable names such as George Orwell – who wrote about his experience in Down and Out in Paris and London, poet Brendan Behan, and is mentioned in the song One Better Day by The Madness – who, too, stayed here before making it big.
Continue down Arlington Road and cross over Jamestown Road. Walk down the path between the buildings that is CAMDEN WHARF. Stop when you get to CAMDEN LOCK (by the pub: THE ICE HOUSE)
Stop 4 – Camden Lock
These locks have stood here since the early 19th century and are considered ‘listed’ – which means they are of particular historical and architectural significance and cannot be removed.
In Victorian times, most goods being shipped into London from around the United Kingdom came to the capital via Regent’s Canal in the stretch that you are now facing.
These locks would have been working nearly 24 hours a day to keep all the goods coming to London moving quickly along.
Today, with road, rail, and air the common method of trade and travel, the locks are quiet and are typically only used for Regent’s Canal tours. Guests can take riverboats to travel through London along the water.
Now cross the bridge over the water and follow along with the side of the canal. Walk until you begin to walk under a bridge and STOP here.
Stop 5 – Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal runs around the north of London, connecting Paddington in the west to Limehouse in the east.
A total of 13.8km (8.6miles) long, the Canal travels through London Zoo, through Little Venice, past Kings Cross, and out into the Thames in the eastern part of town.
Once the Canal travels outside of London, it actually connects out through Birmingham into the rest of the United Kingdom.
Only one part of a huge network of water canals, this stretch today is used by locals to relax alongside in the summer, stroll through Camden, travel on longboats, or cycling to and from work.
Continue following the water, you will be on the opposite side of a large building labeled The Pirate Castle. Keep going until you get to another overhead bridge and spot the art on the edge of the canal.
Stop 6 – Canal Street Art
Street Art in London is ephemeral and changes constantly, so always keep an eye out as you travel along the path. The pieces we are highlighting here date from 2014 and are here at the time of writing.
By London artist Icarus, the two pieces here depict George Bush and Tony Blair being welcomed into the water by The Devil as well as Camden’s most famous resident, Amy Winehouse, facing St. Peter.
Her face is undecided and up to the viewer – is she being carried into Heaven or is she being sent to Hell?
Head up and away from the canal, going up the pathway that leads past Melrose and Morgan. You will then come out onto GLOUCESTER AVENUE (across the street from The Engineer Pub) and STOP.
Stop 7 – Primrose
Here, your surroundings have changed dramatically. From the backroads of Camden, you are now looking onto one of the most luxurious neighbourhoods in London.
The streets are wide, lined with trees, and the houses – surrounded by gates and monitored by security cameras – are gargantuan by London standards.
This neighbourhood tends to be quiet so enjoy a break from the buzz of nearby Camden, and as you walk along the streets, enjoy the Georgian architecture and the beautiful local pubs, including The Engineer – pictured here.
The directions here will lead you along the main streets of this posh neighbourhood. As you stroll, notice that you will not see any chain companies (McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.) as this neighborhood is fiercely loyal to local haunts and rejects the intrusion of popular companies. You will now also have the option of visiting the top of Primrose Hill itself.
Cross GLOUCESTER AVENUE and walk down PRINCESS ROAD. Walk until you hit REGENT’S PARK ROAD and turn RIGHT. This will take you to the entrance of a park – PRIMROSE HILL. Here you can enter the park and you have the option of climbing the tallest hill for a view over London. Or keep on REGENT’S PARK ROAD until you get back to GLOUCESTER AVENUE. Here, take the pedestrian path onto the bridge and cross.
On the other side of the bridge take a RIGHT – you will be back on REGENT’S PARK ROAD. When you get to the junction with CHALK FARM ROAD then STOP.
Stop 8 – Chalk Farm
You are now back in the hustle and bustle (having literally crossed the tracks) of the Camden neighbourhood.
There is no chalk to be found here, despite the name, which derives from a centuries-old village that used to stand here known as Chalcot.
Chalk Town used to hold central London’s bus depot and was previously quite a rural location – but today it is just as busy as can be, filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs.
Turn RIGHT onto CHALK FARM ROAD until you get to the large building on your right – THE ROUNDHOUSE.
Stop 9 – Roundhouse
Like the earlier Electric Ballroom, this building has seen gigs by names recognised the world over: The Doors (their only UK appearance), Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Ramones…and the list goes on!
Continue down CHALK FARM ROAD. When you get to the second street on your RIGHT (look for the entrance to CAMDEN MARKET) turn RIGHT and enter CAMDEN MARKET.
Stop 10 – Camden Market Stables and Bazaar
Here, you will also make your way to the Stables Market.
Originally, many of the boats traveling through Camden Lock along the Canal were often pulled along by horses, who walked along the canal, tugging the craft.
This was previously the stables where those horses were kept (keep an eye out for the life-sized horse statues dotting the Market here), but is now a large, vibrant warren of shops, stalls, crafts, and food.
It’s easy to get yourself lost in the Stables at Camden Market, but there are few better places to find yourself!
It is here that your tour will end.
- Charles Dickens – Author who lived here in the 1820s
- Dylan Thomas – Poet who owned a home here
- Amy Winehouse – Lived in 2 separate homes in Camden, the second of which was where she later died in 2011.
- Bon Scott – Lead Singer of AC/DC who died in Camden Town in 1980 from alcohol poisoning
- Alan Bennett – Famous playwright who lived here for several years