Life in Camden, North London

Image: mariosp

Camden is one of my favourite places in London. It’s a town within a city, and while it has more than enough to keep the most active of people entertained, its excellent location as the doorway to Central London is a huge bonus to the area.

Its NW1 postcode says a lot about its locality, and it’s sandwiched between Kings Cross, Holloway and Regents Park. It’s well connected; served by 3 tube stations, all on the Northern Line (Camden Town, Chalk Farm and Mornington Crescent) as well as the mainline Camden Town station.

So what is Camden famous for? Firstly its market, which is now a smorgasbord of vibrant eateries and shops. Its also known for its Lock, and of course the canal. Running through the North of Camden, from it you can walk to Paddington or Limehouse and stop of at picturesque destinations like Little Venice along the way. For me though, the key to Camden’s success as a modern cosmopolitan area is its rich history, and the variety of opportunities it offers that ensures it is an exciting place to live and enjoy life.

Over the years Camden has been home to a number of cultural and celebrated people, and Alan Bennett has resided in the area for 40 years. It’s a centre of culture, with live music venues, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes. One of my favourite places to go is the Jazz Cafe, on Parkway. Initially opened in 1990 to mirror Ronnie Scott’s, it’s now a welcoming stage for Jazz, Soul, World and Hip Hop musicians.

Another great place is the arts venue, Roundhouse. It is also host to an eclectic series of guests, and as part of the annual free iTunes festival it has seen Coldplay, Paul Simon and Adele grace its stage in recent weeks. Award-winning concert pianist Lang Lang is also set to perform on Monday.

Camden Market can’t be ignored when it comes to food – the street offerings vary from falafel to noodles, paella to Japanese dumplings. For a sit-down meal the variety on offer is just as multi-cultural; for great sushi try Hi Sushi, for Lebanese visit Mezza Express, and for a treat Gilgamesh is a wonderful venue to visit for great cocktails, delicious pan-Asian food and an eclectic interior.

If you just fancy a drink, there are numerous bars and pubs to enjoy. Try a pint in The World’s End, one of the area’s oldest pubs; it opened in 1778. If you fancy a cocktail, the Fifty Five Bar has 5 of the best cocktail shakers in town behind its counter – their Margarita’ s are not to be missed!

For shopping, Camden Market is a great place to pick up clothing and jewellery that is a little different to traditional high street styles, and one of the best places to search for vintage finds. For book lovers there are plenty of second-hand stores, selling fiction and non-fiction in the traditional ‘lets squeeze as many books as we possibly can onto one shelf’ fashion.

Primrose Hill (image: geetarchurchy)

Primrose Hill is a 5-10 minute walk from Camden Town station, and from the hill you can see as far as Battersea Power Station, and on a clear day even the Crystal Palace phone mast (if you squint). On its doorstep is Regent’s Park and London Zoo, making a pretty glorious back garden! It’s a trendy area, and has previously home to such notable residents as Friedrich Engels, Alain de Botton, Robery Plant, Jeremy Clarkson and Sylvia Plath.

It has a traditional village feel, albeit a rather upmarket one. On one road there are enough delis, pubs and restaurants to fill up a large chunk of your time. Trojka, an authentic Russian restaurant and tea room, can provide you with a fix of caviar and vodka – and on Friday and Saturday nights the traditional live music certainly brings things to life! There are many parts to Camden, each as unique and wonderful as the people living there. Its full of life and has been an inspiration to authors, philosopher’s and artists throughout time.

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About Christopher Hann
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