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Area guide for Camden Town

Camden Town overview

What’s it all about?

If you think Camden Town is all about iconic punks and music venues, think again. Situated just south of Hampstead and Belsize Park, these days its grown up neighbours infuse Camden with sophistication. It remains an exciting place to live, alive with streetlife and nightlife, but an organic supermarket and a Gordon Ramsay restaurant have now nudged their way on to the same stretch of pavement as the Jazz Cafe. Formerly run down terraced housing have been done up to a fine standard and family homes and flat conversions are plentiful. Camden has good staying power, and many of the students that came for its nightlife never leave, graduating eventually into the large family homes. While it could be a perfectly self contained corner of North London with restaurants, shops and bars aplenty, residents are well placed to call on the excellent amenities of nearby neighbourhoods, and some of London’s best outdoor spaces are just a short stroll away. Head up to Primrose Hill, where chic shopping and open space are a draw, or make your escape along Regent’s Canal, which offers excellent walking and cycling in both directions. It’s these enduring qualities that bring people from all walks of life to Camden, from lawyers and bankers to wannabe rock stars and the artsy set.

Fact file 

  • The crossroads between Camden High Street, Parkway and Kentish Town Road used to be a site for public executions, and is now said to be haunted by a witch who was hanged there.
  • Charles Dickens once lived in Camden and some of his novels feature the area: both Bob Cratchit’s family in A Christmas Carol and The Micawbers in David Copperfield live in Camden. 

Architecture and property

This area was little more than green fields until 1791, when development here began. That’s not to say it was particularly pastoral or pleasant: a few coaching inns, one of which remains today as The World’s End, marked a dangerous landscape frequented by highwaymen. Early development sped up with the arrival of Regent’s Canal in 1820, and by 1850 the core parts of the town we know today were formed, with many waves of later growth. There are examples of almost every property type here, with areas like Camden Square deemed so special that they are protected as one of Camden’s 39 conservation areas. From four storey Georgian terraces just off Parkway, to Victorian terraced homes on the eastern side of Camden Town, and low rise blocks of flats near Camden Road station, and the sought after Edwardian townhouses on Gloucester Avenue, there is something to suit every taste. A special mention is reserved for the modernist Murray Mews. Built in 1963, it’s an outstanding example of architecture of the time and, as if to prove a point, many were lived in by the architects who built them.

Gentrification of nearby areas has seen the quality of homes coming on to the market increase, and the area is now competing with its historically wealthier neighbours for buyers. Larger homes are often divided into flats and the vast majority of properties in Camden have two or more bedrooms.

For house price information please visit the sold data tab.

Going out

Eating: Camden might be famous for its markets, bars and clubs, but it has its fair share of excellent restaurants, with new additions popping up daily. Celebrity favourite Gilgamesh, in the heart of the Stables Market, serves exciting pan Asian food in a glamorous setting, converting to a club later in the evening. Across the road, Belgo is a Camden institution known for its Belgian food and huge selection of beer, while Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany offers modern British fare. Hundreds of food stalls fill the markets of Camden with tasty offerings, but there’s also a great cafe culture, much of which centres around Parkway. Try Falla & Mocaer for its great selection of homemade cakes and brownies.

Drinking: Life in Camden means never having to travel very far for a drink. Bars and pubs line the main high street, some particular standout features being the outdoor terrace at The Lock Tavern, live music at The Enterprise, as well as the Edinboro Castle, near Regent’s Park, which has a famous beer garden and BBQ in the summer. Proud Camden is a nightclub with a quirk: located in a former horse hospital, the VIP tables are each given their own stable. The Camden Town Brewery runs tours every Thursday and some Saturdays, and the Brewery Bar showcases its beers.

Local amenities  

  • A great addition to Parkway is the Whole Foods Market supermarket, which stocks a wide variety of organic foods and natural beauty products. Particularly popular is the deli bar, where staff will make fresh juices to order.
  • With several market sites including Inverness Street, Camden Lock Market and Stables Market, and a packed high street, Camden isn’t short of places to shop. But for more high end options nearby Hampstead and Primrose Hill have exclusive fashion and beauty boutiques.
  • There is an Odeon cinema on Parkway, and the chance to catch gigs at Koko or performances at The Roundhouse, a converted railway engine shed which now hosts the annual iTunes festival, as well as putting on excellent arts and music events all year round.
  • There are numerous gyms and fitness centres across the borough including many chains as well as independents. Fitness First and Soho Gyms both have gyms locally, and housed within Cantelowes Gardens is one of London’s outdoor council run gyms, available to use free of charge.
  • Camden Town has a medium sized library, which includes a specialist children’s library and learning centre.

Green spaces

The amazing views from the top of Primrose Hill are not to be missed, and its proximity to Camden Town makes it the first port of call for joggers, young families and dogwalkers. Many Camden residents head to nearby Regent’s Park to enjoy the boating lakes and rose gardens in summer, visit London Zoo or simply pass through it as a route to the West End.

Changing times

Plans to redevelop Hawley Wharf and surrounding areas including Stables Market will revamp the market area and provide new homes, shops and a school.

Transport

Tube: Camden Town Tube station in Zone 2 is a key interchange for four branches of the Northern line (Bank, Charing Cross, Edgware and High Barnet). Due to the heavy footfall at the weekend, the station is only open for interchange and exit on Sunday afternoons. Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent also serve Camden Town. The local Overground station is Camden Road.

Rail: Major stations St Pancras International, King’s Cross and Euston are all less than a 20 minute walk away.

Buses: Many bus connections all over the city serve Camden Town, including the 168 (to Old Kent Road), the 24 (to Pimlico), the 214 (to Moorgate), the 88 (to Clapham Common), and the 134 (to North Finchley). Most night buses to north London stop in Camden Town.

Cycle: There are cycle paths to both the east and the west along the canal, and Camden is part of the route for the proposed North to South Cycle Superhighway. 

Education 

Camden’s state schools pride themselves on excellent teaching and a supportive environment for all, at both primary and secondary levels, including Camden School for Girls, whose former pupils include Emma Thompson and Geri Halliwell, and Haverstock School. Eleanor Palmer School, in nearby Kentish Town, is one of the most sought after primary schools in the country.

Please see our schools tab for more information on schools in this area.

 

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Did we miss something? If you have any local expertise to improve our area guide, then please email us at areaguides@kfh.co.uk

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