A few hours in and around Camden Town, London

In Cities, Days Out, London, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by Janis12 Comments

With a little Chalk Farm and Primrose Hill thrown in

In January, Gary and I headed up to ‘The Smoke’, for what has now become an annual tradition for us.
 
A mini-break to the culturally rich city of London is an incredible experience any time of the year. However, in January, when heaps of people are hibernating, it’s perfect. Ok, so it may be a bit, hit and miss with the good ol’ English weather, although that gives you an excuse to find a cosy warm pub.

A 'Hello Camden' script in burgundy & grey painted on the front of a white building.

Hello Camden

This year during our visit to London, we chose to head to Spitalfields, Westminster, Whitehall and the ever-vibrant Camden.
 
Though I couldn’t wait to discover Camden Market, we thought we’d also have a little wander around its surrounding streets and neighbouring areas too.

Quick Links

Everything you need to know

For more information on Camden Market and its events check out the local Camden Market website.

Distinctive Shopfronts

As you stroll closer to Camden Market along the High Street, you really feel the vibe of the area changing. The colourful, bustling streets were stretching their arms wide open and coming alive.

A bold facade, featuring an Elephant's head motif decorated in traditional Indian design, above a restaurant called 'Namaste' in Camden

Namaste, Camden

The New Rock Boots & Shoes store shared with the Dark Side tattoo parlour in Camden High Street.

New Rock and Dark Side

What I love along here are the striking shop fronts, vying to grab your attention. I spent more time looking up at the imaginative designs and displays than I did actually entering the stores. Although, I think that’s what it’s all about here.

The Dark Angel Tattoo parlour on Camden High Street.

Dark Angel

The New Rock Leather & Boot store on Camden High Street.

The New Rock Leather and Boots

I understand that there are always going to be the tourist shops, tempting you with that unique piece of London memorabilia. However, there is something quite quirky in Camden that you just don’t seem to mind them.
 
There are so many weird and wonderful façades, for tattooist, piercing parlours, the bohemian and most definitely for the shoe shopper.

The ornate facade for 'Evil from the Needle', Tattooist, above a gift shop in Camden

Evil from the Needle, Tattooist

A mural for Dr Martens boots above a gift shop on the corner of Camden High Street and Jamestown Street.

Dr Martens Street Art

I wasn’t in the market for a tattoo on this visit, perhaps I’ll leave that for a later date.

Want to discover more than about London?

We've a little book on our shelves that we sometimes delve into when we're about to hit an area of London.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different regions of London, it's a great resource to help you see what's hidden in plain sight.

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Regent’s Canal

The Regent’s Canal that runs through north Camden has been hauling goods up and down the waterways since 1816. The towpaths that were once used by horses to pull the barges are now footpaths and cycle routes.

Camden Locks on the Regent’s Canal that connects to the Grand Union Canal, connecting London to Birmingham.

Regent’s Canal, Hampstead Road Lock

Today the canal is more likely to be used for tourist canal boat trips, heading towards Regent’s Park to visit London Zoo or Little Venice.
 
Although, if you are on a narrow-boat and pass through a network of UK waterways heading north, you’ll get to Liverpool which is 302 miles away.

Narrowboats moored up on the Regent’s Canal at Camden

Regent’s Canal, passing through Camden

Our favourite travel reads

Have you seen?

If you enjoy finding out a little more about London districts, take a look at the articles we created for Smithfield, Clerkenwell, Temple, St James’s and Greenwich.

Hawley Mews Street Art

Gary and I are always trying to find local street art, and as you can imagine, Camden didn’t fail to meet our expectations.

Street Art at the entrance to Hawley Mews, Camden

Street Art along Hawley Mews

Street Art by Void 16 on a back gated in Hawley Mews, Camden

Street Art by Void 16 at Hawley Mews

Therefore, if you too love to admire this eye-catching and often thought-provoking talent, then head to Hawley Mews. This little lane is just opposite the Camden Market and full of art by London artists.

A near photo quality mural of a young woman with red & purple hair on the end of a building in Hawley Mews, Camden.

Street Art by Irony at Hawley Mews

An Origami Rose street art by Airborne Mark in Hawley Mews, Camden

Street Art by Airborne Mark

Just along this short lane, there were some incredible pieces by Void 16, Irony, Airborne Mark, PLIM and Choots.

A helpful guide

If you've yet to discover London and its ancient history, then let's start planning. I find these DK Eyewitness Travel Guides invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.
 
You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.


Something to make your travels easier?

  • 6-Port Desktop USB Charging Station

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • Portable Charger 2 USB Ports Power Bank

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve, Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

Music Venues

For many years now Camden is not just synonymous for its lively flamboyant market, but also for its music venues.

The Electric Ballroom is an iconic music venue along Camden High Street and has been holding events for 80 years. It started as an Irish club, and over subsequent decades it has had true greats through its doors.

Although possibly not greats in everyone’s eyes, but who couldn’t like Sid Vicious, Madness, The Clash, Foals, Future Islands and Alt-J, to name just a few.Intro Paragraph

The narrow front to 'The Electric Ballroom' club in Camden.

The Electric Ballroom

The black facade of 'The Underworld' music venue in Camden built on the lower level of Georgian townhouses.

The Underworld

The Underworld next to The World’s End in Camden has become a thriving scene for alternative music and regularly hosting big names.
 
The Roundhouse, which is found along Chalk Farm Road, was once a railway engine shed. It’s now a performing art and concert venue. It continues to allow young people to develop their creative talents and also a platform to follow their dreams.

The former railways turning shed that was converted in the 1960's to music venue known as 'The Roundhouse' in Chalk Farm

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm

Not only does The Roundhouse develop new talent, but it is also a renowned venue for established artists to perform. Keep a lookout for the events taking place for the 2020 6 Music Festival.
 
The Blues Kitchen on the main High Street has live music every evening. Which includes as you would expect Blues; however, also Soul and Country. On Friday and Saturday evenings it has live bands and DJ’s.

A close-up of the blue neon sign for 'The Blues Kitchen' on Camden high street.

The Blues Kitchen

Primrose Hill

After our little jaunt around the streets of Camden and its market, we headed along Chalk Farm Road and crossed the railway bridge at Regent’s Park Road.
 
Immediately you felt a difference in the surroundings and the vibe of the environment, you can't believe how streets just within a few yards of each other, felt like worlds apart.

A florist's shop in Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill

Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill

The Queen’s pub, on Regent’s Park Road, overlooking Primrose Hill

The Queen’s pub, overlooking Primrose Hill

The air of wealth took to the streets around Primrose Hill. All along Regent’s Park Road are immaculately kept boutiques, artisan shops, florists, café’s and small independent stores.
 
Don’t get me wrong, it is a delightful part of London, I just couldn’t believe the change of atmosphere within such a few roads from Chalk Farm.

A public garden in Primerose Hill surrounded by colourful Georgian townhouses.

Chalcot Gardens, Primrose Hill

We strolled around the stylish, elegant streets of Primrose Hill along Chalcot Crescent, Chalcot Gardens, passing by grand houses, and headed through such a tranquil part of London.

Chalcot Road in Primerose Hill lined elegant Georgian townhouses.

Stylish homes along Chalcot Road,

A row of pastel-coloured Georgian homes in along Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill

Colourful houses along Chalcot Crescent

Some of the houses here were so immaculately kept and painted in subtle pastel shades and looked beautiful with their perfectly manicured front gardens.
 
We wound ourselves around towards Regent’s Canal and crossed back over to Camden. 

Why not?

Jet over to the UK and create your own adventure around the bustling lanes of Camden and Chalk Farm. Take a look at Skyscanner, it has to start somewhere.

Blue Plaques and Street Art

Oh, of course, if there’s going to be street art, then it’s only fitting that it’s Royalty. This piece of street art is by bambi and one of many great pieces dotted around London.

A piece of street art by Bambi named 'Royals with ABBAtude', depicting the Princes and their partners, in Sharples Hall Street, Primrose Hill

Royals with ABBAtude by bambi in Primrose Hill

Yes, we are still blue plaque spotting, and around Primrose Hill there are several. A couple of the ones we spotted were for William Butler Yeats, an Irish Poet and Dramatist and also the poet Sylvia Plath.

A blue plaque to the poet Sylvia Plath who lived in Primerose Hill

A Blue Plaque to Sylvia Plath, Poet

The former home of William Butler Yeats, an Irish Poet and Dramatist, marked with a Blue Plaque, in Fitzroy Road, Primrose Hill

Blue Plaque to William Butler Yeats

It’s good to talk!

Please share with us the district of London that you love to visit and drop us a comment below. We always love to visit more.

Mornington Crescent

Just down the end of Camden High Street, is Mornington Crescent. The tube station here originally opened in 1907. After a lengthy refurbishment project between 1992 and 1998, the underground station was brought back to its former glory, with its lovely tiling restored.

A tube train leaving the station at Mornington Cresent

Mornington Crescent Tube station

Art Deco at Carreras

We’re always on the lookout for Art Deco architecture and just opposite Mornington Crescent tube is Greater London House.

When this vast Art Deco building was originally constructed in 1928, it was the Carreras Cigarette Factory.  The structure was designed in the Egyptian Revival style (not that I knew there was such a style).

The Art Deco, Egyptian Revival style, facade to London House, formerly the Carreras Cigarette Factory in Mornington Cresent.

Art Deco Greater London House, formerly the Carreras Cigarette Factory

It also became known as The Black Cat Factory, due to the two bronze statues standing pride of place at the entrance. The Black Cats were also used as a brand for one of their range of cigarettes.

The Art Deco facade to London House, formerly the Carreras Cigarette Factory, with its two Egyptian bronze cats standing guard at the front of the building.

Black Cats outside the Art Deco Carreras Cigarette Factory

The factory was converted into offices in the early 1960’s, where a lot of the Art Deco façade was lost. Then it wasn’t until the 1990s that the current Art Deco renovations were carried out.

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Comments

  1. When I lived in London I visited Camden Town at least once a month. I loved it so much, it’s the place you go to be yourself and not care what other people think because everyone is a little strange there. And there’s so many cool things to do! #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      I know exactly what you mean, it is certainly ‘live and let live’ in Camden, some great characters there.

  2. Now that I have a general idea of what to expect after having been there once before, I hope to explore deeper next time. I clearly missed a lot according to your posts! #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      Yes it is definitely worth discovering more around the side streets, and it’s really pleasant along Regent’s Canal.

  3. I LOVe Camden. It is my old stomping ground from my pre marriage and kids days. Our kids have grown up being taken there too. It has such an amazing atmosphere there. I love the street art, such talent! I am keen to get back there soon to see the Amy Winehouse memorial, and the amazing vegan restaurants! Saved this post for my next trip. Thanks for sharing #farawayfiles

    1. Author

      Yes we really enjoyed it too, particularly wandering around some of the side streets.The Amy Winehouse memorial is sweet, it’s quite popular, although you can still grab a shot in-between peoples selfies.

  4. It’s a great contrast to see Camden and Primrose Hill in the same day! I used to love the market – and the venues. I don’t go there much anymore but I might have to make a special trip to see the Black Cat factory. It’s a fab part of London for exploring. #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      It was unbelievable how the two districts changed just by crossing the railway line, they are so different.

      The old Black Cat (Carreras) factory just opposite Mornington Crescent station is fantastic, it’s great to see it restored and so unusual.

  5. As a student in London in the seventies, I have many happy memories of this area, especially as my boyfriend at the time lived in Chalcot Gardens! Your post made me think that it’s really time I revisited Camden and the surrounding places #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      I hope you do re-visit, there have been a lot of changes since then. Some good and some not so, it’s always great to have memories though. I loved visiting Camden, there are lots of characters around and a wonderful atmosphere.
      We wandered all around Chalcot Gardens, that’s a very nice part of Primrose Hill.

  6. Camden Town and Primrose Hill are such great neighbourhoods and fun to do together as, like you say, they’re so different. It’s definitely worth heading to Primrose Hill itself – it’s a good place for a picnic and there are some lovely views over London from the top. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. Author

      The picnic sounds wonderful, we thought we would skip it in January.

      You certainly do see two different sides of life.

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