London Neighborhood Overview: Camden

London’s edge takes up residence in Camden, the former home of late Amy Winehouse and the current location for all things cool. As soon as you step off the Northern Line’s Camden Town’s Tube stop, it’s easy to see why the troubled, vintage-loving alternative crooner felt comfortable here. Amongst the grungy rock n ‘roll storefronts and even grungier residents, Doc Martens slosh the damp streets rich in history. Once thought wildly unfashionable, Camden grew up around former horse stables and housed unsavory personalities that inspired some of one-time resident Charles Dickens’ literary characters. It has become a hotspot for musicians like Chris Martin of Coldplay, unique shopping, and killer nightlife.

Browse the shop windows for quirky fashion and indulge yourself by trying on a pair of enormous Kiss-approved, spiky black boots. Slip into some pirate garb at Zephyrs, the one-stop-shop for all necessary wear for sailing the seven seas–or at least strolling around Camden. To be ahead of the fashion trends–hundreds of years ahead, to be exact–head into Cyberdog for the most futuristic clothing you’ll find in this century. Wander through the Camden Lock Market stalls for bizarre and/or vintage goods. Be careful about trying the street food though; the wafting smells may be intriguing, but proceed with caution for food poisoning, as a lot of it sits out all day.

Opt instead for the food experience unmatched by Gilgamesh. Tucked in the heart of Camden, the enormous edifice watches over the rest of the borough. Scan the windows for panoramic views of the borough while sipping an exotic cocktail. The pan-Asian menu presented by BBC Masterchef Ian Pengelley will leave the most elite foodie drooling for more while you lounge in its Babylonian-mystique ambiance. Not to mention the chic rooftop event space has hosted Olly Murs and The Prodigy.

Continue the party at Proud down the street, which has refurbished horse stables into insane nightlife. This top London club holds rows of former horse stalls for VIP-like group partying, complete with dance poles and a large barn area for more inclusive dancing. In an attached outside porch area, people can drink and breathe in the soggy London air, heavy with smoke. Party on at KOKO and take in the cabaret vibe while jamming out to DJs and live music depending on the night.

Finally, the core of Camden is its music. Check out fresh talent at Barfly, which is known for hosting up-and-comers. Other interesting music can be heard at Dingwalls, and the hottest new DJs play at The Purple Turtle. However, keep your ears peeled while walking the streets, and don’t be afraid to stumble into something that sounds interesting. You can’t go wrong because even at its worst, any music, or really anything in Camden will at least be an experience.

Street view: Camden, London
Street view: Camden, London

About the author

Rachel Tesler graduated from Boston University with a B.S. in Film & Television and a B.A. in International Relations. She has lived in London, Jerusalem and Boston, and has traveled to many other countries. When traveling anywhere for the first time, Rachel loves to chat with locals about their recommendations and then chart out trips on a map. “My favorite part of visiting anywhere new is the people. They become part of the landscape and you can tell a lot about a city by the people that live in it,” she says. In her spare time, she enjoys doing community service, playing her banjo and painting. While she admits to having serious wanderlust, she currently lives in Boston and works as a freelance writer and teacher.

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