Truth be told, it’s not easy to pinpoint just one, single thing that’s responsible, above all else, for that unique Camden vibe. The alternativeness of its markets? The awesomely cool street art? The electric bars and music venues? Or the traditional pubs? Quite frankly, let’s face it; it’s a blend of all these things – and more besides.
In which case, the only way to get a good idea for yourself of what Camden’s all about, why it’s so talked about and why you should visit it (during a stay at The Montcalm London City At The Brewery Hotel) is, yes, to simply visit it. And here are some suggestions of what to see and do while there…
Browse around the marvellous markets
Surely the thing for which Camden’s most famed is its unusual, unbridled, sprawling indoor mega-market. Actually, a combination of at least four different markets, it’s a haven for lovers of all things alternative; vending everything from cool clobber to quirky furnishings to boho and hippie-ish trinkets. Bland, low-end high-street stuff, this isn’t.
To pay them their dues, the four markets – Camden Lock Village, Inverness Street Market, The Stables Market and Buck Street Village – are all different, but both individually or taken together, they’re ideal for browsing and finding that unique next purchase. Frankly, as a whole, the market experience in Camden is so comprehensive, you could spend an entire day going stall-to-stall; if you wanted to.
Sample some stupendous street food
Street food’s a big deal in Camden, playing an important role in its market experience. Unpretentious it may be, but what’s available from the likes of Kerb is utterly delicious; Kerb in Camden Town being one of the area’s best spots for street food. That said, it’s only one of about 30 different street food vendors (most of them food trucks) in and around Camden Market. Whatever your palate – whether it’s Vietnamese or Mexican or anything else – you’ll be perfectly catered for here.
Delve into Chin Chin Labs’ dessert delights
After you’ve had your fill of Camden’s street food, you should definitely make a beeline for Chin Chin Labs; not for nothing has it been referred to as the best ice cream parlour in the country. In fact, to visit this place is to visit somewhere that seems to be half-dessert parlour, half-mad-scientist’s lab, as well as being a purveyor of all types of weird and wonderful desserts – many created by using liquid nitrogen, of all things.
Yes, here then, you can try fantastic ice cream flavours including fleur de sel caramel sauce and cardamom and pistachio. Be aware, though, that the flavours on offer tend to change from week to week, in order to keep things ice-cool fresh.
Get the beers in on a pub crawl
Widely regarded for its vibrant nightlife, Camden’s surely one of the hottest nightspots in the capital; especially come the weekend. Indeed, whatever night of the week it is, little can top sampling some of the unique, always enjoyable pubs that line the two high streets.
So, if a night on the sauce appeals to you during your time in London (at, for instance, 5 star hotels near Barbican London), then there’s a good selection of organised Camden-based pub crawls you can join (which are great if you’re visiting the city on your own, in fact). especially if you’re visiting solo. Otherwise, of course, you can make an itinerary of venues you like the sound of and go from one to next. For instance, you may want to try the gothic, oh-so atmospheric Black Heart, the boldly bright Joe’s and the sophisticated Lock 17.
Educate yourself at the Jewish Museum
For something truly thought-provoking, you can’t beat an afternoon at the Jewish Museum. A London attraction that specialises in telling the stories and history – in an entirely accessible and inspiring way – of Jewish people in the UK, it features exhibits about different aspects of the modern and historical Jewish British experience, including faith, migration and culture.
At present, the museum also features a tailoring workshop, which informs visitors of the heavy Jewish involvement in the 20th Century textile industry. Additionally, you might fancy popping along on one of the museum’s Jewish-themed guided walks around Camden. Without doubt, there’s always something interesting and educational going on here.
Wallow in Primrose Hill’s wonders
If you’re planning a London stay at family suites London but on something of a budget, then spending a day in Primrose Hill is an excellent option. Located within the borough of Camden (and just a short way from Camden Town itself), this district is renowned for its glorious green space that’s much-loved by the locals, as well as those-in-the-know from far and wide; an outstanding spot of beauty to get away from all the hustle-bustle elsewhere in the capital.
Indeed, you’ll doubtless look on in delight at all the gorgeously coloured houses, especially in Chalcot Crescent and Chalcot Square. Moreover, the view from the top of the ‘Hill’ offers spectacular views of the entire city below – they’re Instagrammable panoramas, to say the least.
Enjoy an awesome afternoon in Regent’s Park
Just adjacent to Primrose Hill lies the marvellously pristine Regent’s Park. It’s another ideal locale for a day out, especially if you have the kids in tow when you check-in to nearby luxury hotels for families. One of the capital’s largest Royal Parks, it’s well-regarded, in particular for its beauty – much of it is teeming with wonderful colour, courtesy of all manner of flowers at this time of year – and for all the activities and sports it accommodates, all-year-round.
Whether your game’s tennis, basketball, football, cricket or anything else, you’ll be able to indulge yourself here. What’s more, thanks to the park’s simply lovely Open Air Theatre, you can also experience a touch of culture; for, here you can watch a world-class production of a Shakespeare play, family-friendly show or stage musical.