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Camden Area Guide

For the last 50 years, Camden has been a bastion of the London music scene.

And while it’s counter-culture clout may be waning – high-street giants and tourists are usurping one-of-a-kind shops and brooding musicians – the physical reminders of its gritty heyday somehow sustain Camden’s cool mystique. This, after all, is the neighbourhood that launched punk in all its anarchic, explosive glory with a gig by the Ramones in the Roundhouse in 1976.  

In the 1990s, Camden became the epicentre of the burgeoning Britpop scene. Songs were written, feuds played out and intimate gigs sparked an entire movement.

More recently, Camden and specifically the Hawley Arms pub became the unofficial HQ for early-noughties Indie darlings. The Kooks did secret gigs here and Kate Moss and the late Amy Winehouse were regulars. The pub’s proximity to the MTV studio made it the place to be.

The whole area has a little more polish these days, though it has lost none of its originality – you can watch the canal boats coming through the lock or stroll around the Stables Market in search of the perfect outfit. It’s an exciting blend of old and new, that never ceases to amaze.

The location

Camden is situated in London’s zone 2, in the north-west. It is bordered by Chalk Farm, Hampstead Heath and the fashionable Primrose Hill. Camden Town underground station is in the heart of markets and shops, while Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent stations are but a short walk away. These are served by the Northern line (both Bank and Charing Cross branches) from central London.

The area is also a major hub for London buses. And Camden Road is a London Overground station at the corner of Royal College Street and Camden Road. It is on the line from Richmond in the West, to Stratford station on the Olympic site in the East.

Camden can be typified by its slightly shabby, history-laden boozers, iconic music venues, bustling stalls and leafy canal walks. No longer ‘underground’ but rather decidedly mainstream, Camden sees swarms of tourists daily. And the once struggling musician is now a multi-platinum millionaire. So, restaurants and eateries certainly can do well here.