Then known as a dangerous route due to the frequency of highwaymen, Camden High Street (as it’s now known), began to be developed in the late 1700s by Earl Camden (Charles Pratt) and other wealthy landowners. When the Grand Union canal arrived in 1820, (and Euston railway station in 1837), the area became rapidly transformed, especially around the locks with goods being loaded and unloaded by horse and cart for distribution into London. The stables built to house these horses now feature as a hub of activity for both Camden tourists and locals.
Modern-day Camden owes much of its popularity to three men who leased some of the buildings around the Waterways to artists and craftsmen, taking advantage of the emergence of Camden as an alternative and popular part of London during the 1960s. It continues to be an important area of London with regards to music, art and popular culture.
Food and Drink
Camden offers a huge variety when it comes to drinking and eating out - catering from both tourists, music lovers and residents. Here’s a few of our favourite haunts. Enjoy!
- Leyas: ‘Hip’ and ‘Artisan’ sum up this cafe, offering locally sourced and award-winning international coffee. Plus great brunches
- Lantana: One of a small chain offering great sandwiches, coffee, home-made cakes in the middle of Camden Lock market
- Cereal Killer Cafe: After its big sister’s ‘controversial’ opening in Brick Lane in 2014, the nostalgic cereal eatery gets a home in Camden. Maybe a tad overpriced for a bowl of coco pops but they do have a brilliant website!
- The Blues Kitchen: If you’ve always wanted to try alligator, this is the place to come to. Great burgers and brilliant gigs to accompany them.
- Poppies Fish and Chips: Consistently on the top ten best fish and chips in London, this Camden branch of the East End institution doesn’t disappoint. Great service and mouthwatering chips!
- La Patagonia: Neighbourhood restaurant offering traditional and amazing Argentinian food - steaks, empanadas and a huge inviting wine list.
- Ma Petite Jamaica: Brightly coloured ‘jerk put and reggae bar’ - this Caribbean diner offers lunch and dinner and interesting cocktails (with a daily happy hour from 5-7pm).
- Bintang: Pan Asian food offering a £10 happy hour menu (2 courses), plus BYOB with low corkage fees. Great if you’re on a budget.
- Rullo’s Pizzeria Authentic pizza from a wood fire oven all the way from Naples! Also open from 8am for breakfast and brunch.
- O’Tino: Off the beaten track and not much to look at from the outside, this Portuguese family-run restaurant is a must if you’re a fan of salted cod or Pastel de Bacalhau (or if you just want somewhere to watch Porto play with a fantastic atmosphere!).
Bars and Pubs: Where to begin? Camden is home to some of the best bars, pubs and music venues in London. Here’s a few to get you started
- Lock Tavern: Good food, garden and gigs - a Camden institution
- Dublin Castle: Legendary music venue in the heart of Camden.
- Proud Billed as a relaxed daytime bar which comes into its own at night as a Burlesque bar and party venue.
- Fifty-Five Bar: Brilliant cocktail bar with 2-4-£10 cocktails all night every Wednesday. Great service, snacks and atmosphere.
- Simmons, Mornington Crescent: One of a small chain of quirky and great-value cocktail bars with outstanding happy hours and nostalgic video games to play as you sip
- The Enterprise: Regular meeting spot pre and post Roundhouse gigs. Open late
- The Forge: Award-winning jazz (and other music) bar.
- Hawley Arms: Loved by the late Amy Winehouse - great boozer offering live music and a great balcony for people-watching in the summer.
- Fiddler’s Elbow: Legendary music venue
When it comes to shopping, Camden Market is your best bet. With dozens of stalls and shops offering everything from clothes, watches, books, food and much more - and great for people watching!
For a comprehensive guide to all of the parks and play areas in Camden, download the pdf from the Camden site here