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As the centre of London’s alternative music scene, Camden buzzes with energy. But its creative spirit isn’t confined to gig venues. You’ll also find it at the neighbourhood’s many shops, markets and restaurants. A day is simply not enough to take in everything the area has to offer.
Step out of Camden Town Tube station and take a walk along Camden High Street, the neighbourhood’s busy thoroughfare. It’s here where you’ll get a feel for Camden’s anarchic spirit – take in colourful shopfronts, hear the buzz from tattoo parlours and enjoy street performers and buskers. You should be approaching Camden Market, but you’ll need to fuel up before you start shopping. There are some great brunch options in Camden, but if you’re looking to start your day the healthy way, stop off at Mildreds on Jamestown Road and fill up on one of the restaurant’s great vegetarian breakfasts.
With a full stomach, you now have the energy to explore Camden Market. It’s easy to while away the hours exploring the maze of stalls and vendors spread out along Regent’s Canal, under railway arches and even in former horse stables. You can buy everything here, from alternative fashion to retro antiques and handmade gifts. Don’t miss out on Cyberdog, a three-floor neon-lit shop dedicated to rave culture, complete with live performers.
When you do start feeling peckish again, Camden Market’s West Yard food hall serves up some of the best international street food in London. Culture Trip recommends picking up some halloumi fries from Oli Baba’s and – if the weather’s right – finding a spot along Regent’s Canal to sit and enjoy your food in the sunshine. For dessert, head to Chin Chin Labs to experience ice cream like you’ve never had it before: frozen with liquid nitrogen and served up in a variety of inventive new flavours.
After all that shopping, it’s time to relax. From Camden Lock, you can hop on a narrowboat and take a leisurely cruise along Regent’s Canal. The London Waterbus Company runs hourly trips that take you past pretty residential homes, through London Zoo – with the opportunity to enter the zoo at a discounted price – before finishing up at beautiful Little Venice, an idyllic canal area. A round trip from Camden Lock to Little Venice should take a little under two hours.
Camden’s many pubs will already be filling up at this time, especially on weekends. There are plenty of beer gardens to enjoy in the summertime, with the roof garden at Fest Camden, located in the Stables Market, particularly good. For something a little more rough and ready, head to The Hawley Arms, a favourite of the late Amy Winehouse, who lived in Camden.
Watching live music is the perfect way to round off your day in Camden. The neighbourhood has long been the city’s go-to for incredible gigs, with the likes of The Clash, Jimi Hendrix and, of course, Amy Winehouse having played some of their first UK shows here. Whether you want to vibe to jazz and soul at the Jazz Café, check out a new act at the Roundhouse or dance the night away at KOKO, the options are endless.