The moment you step outside the tube station, Camden attacks the senses. Bass thumps from the market stalls' speakers, the scent of street food and incense permeates the air, and goths, punks, pushers and tourists shove past, giving the area an unorthodox charm. Come to Camden for the atmosphere, but stay for the cheap restaurants and awesome live music scene.
The best bits of Camden
16 reasons to go to Regent’s Park Road, NW1
You can’t afford to live here, that’s the first thing to know. There won’t be much change out of £5m for a house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t strut around like you own the place. Regent’s Park Road, which stretches across the bottom of Primrose Hill and finishes as Chalk Farm becomes Camden, is a bit famous for its celeb residents – everyone from Sylvia Plath to Gwen Stefani has shacked up round here. It also has a brilliant villagey strip of restaurants and shops to fall in love with. There’s an optician, chemist, Post Office, hairdresser, florist, pet shop and no less than three wine merchants (Bottle Apostle, Nicolas, Bibendum). Pop by for dinner, then walk to the top of Primrose Hill and marvel at the stunning view of the whole city. London doesn’t get much more romantic. The village vibe even comes with a charming local legend. For decades, a pink-painted house at number 60 had a rocking horse in the downstairs window and urban myth held that it was a condition of sale to keep it on display. Owners in the ’90s sold the gaff to Stanley (dad of Boris) Johnson but took the beloved wooden landmark with them. Johnson had another made but did the same when he sold up. The current owners don’t have a horse in the window, but they still get Valentine’s and Christmas cards addressed to the nag. Aww. Eat this A post shared by Odettes Restaurant (@odettesrestaurant) on Jul 23, 2016 at 3:25am PDT The crisp chicken wing and curried cauli at Odette’s. Finish off
You know you live in Camden when...
Camden is one of the most famous cultural melting pots of the capital. Anyone is welcome, you can eat like a king for a fiver and bump into the latest super band in the local pub. Here are six more things you'll know if you live in Camden. You can't move anywhere. With Camden Market being the fourth most visited tourist attraction in the country, there’s certainly no shortage of bodies. The negative of that is a frustrating elbow fight to walk down your own high street everyday, but... ...You have an escape route (also known as the canal). It runs straight through the heart of the market sandwiching it between the painfully trendy Primrose Hill with the uber cool Kings Cross and is an awesome place to while away an hour or so, watching the barges go by. You occasionally smell of incense (and chicken chow mein). No matter how hard Camden tries to smarten up its act, there will always be an endearing shabbiness about the area. It's messy, chaotic and you will find food stalls next to fashion retailers, tainting that Friday night outfit. You forget what silence sounds like. Whether it’s sweaty mosh pits at local dives or the VIP area at the Roundhouse, Camden's music scene reigns supreme. You can even expect chart-worthy singers busking outside the tube station. You're in a pub every day. And these are real, proper, bloody cool pubs, too. There's The Dublin Castle, The Hawley Arms, Barfly and The Good Mixer – and they have their fair share of rock 'n’ roll stories.
Clubs in Camden
As a place that revolves around music, Camden is unsurprisingly home to some of the most renowned clubs in the capital. Koko has had a long history as a famous venue, but it is now known as a premier indie club. Electric Ballroom has played host to some of the biggest names in music before they were stars. So get ready for a great night out, as we show you the best places to go clubbing in Camden.
Live music in Camden
Camden Town has more than its fair share of iconic music venues. Up near Chalk Farm station, The Roundhouse has hosted Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and Koko (formerly Camden Palace) was the home of Britpop. But these days the best gigs in Camden tend to happen on small pub stages, at places like The Barfly, where up-and-coming indie bands keep the racket going seven nights a week. Here are the best places to catch gigs in Camden.
Hotels in Camden
Love London Awards: last year's winnersSee the full results of last year's Love London Awards
Bumpkin South Kensington
This branch, which opened in October 2008, is an offshoot of the popular Notting Hill original. Spread over one floor with a bar area in front of the dining room, the setting is country-chic (with distressed wooden furniture and mismatched chairs). However, it’s clear the look came from a design studio rather than second-hand shops. Wooden crates, sheaves of wheat and miscellaneous sacks nestling under the butcher’s-block waiter station are a little twee, but the overall effect is as cosy as a country kitchen, and Bumpkin has a welcoming, convivial feel. The daily-changing menu is seasonal and modern, with many ingredients sourced in the UK. Starters of charcuterie and pan-fried Scottish mackerel with mixed leaves and citrus dressing were good, but overshadowed by a wonderfully comforting plate of macaroni and cheese, and an excellent ribeye steak with chips and béarnaise sauce. The only letdown was a bland grilled squash, broccoli and pumpkin-seed salad. A generous portion of sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream provided a satisfyingly sweet finish. Bumpkin has a decent cocktail list and mixes great bloody marys, making this a tempting choice for weekend brunch.
Venue says: “It's time to party! Call our events team on 0207 594 4944 to book your next event in our private dining room (or hire our entire venue).”