Picture this: stepping foot off a long flight, smelling the London air and heading straight for the underground. Boarding the ‘tube’, enjoying the screeching and whurring and marvelling at the fellow ‘Londoners’. Upon the disembark at Camden town, it’s finally time to hop on the phone and google, “things to do near me this weekend”.
Is Camden market open? Where’s the nearest English pub?
Well, dear traveller, we’re about to answer it all for you- with the best 25 things to spend your time doing on your trip to Camden, London.
Just before we get started, what’s Camden all about?
Camden is a colorful borough of London, rich in history and culture. It’s located near the infamous Kings Cross, to the north of the City of London. The district really began to grow into its own little punk rock world in the 1970s, and each year receives over 27 million visitors from tourists around the world.
In this guide, we'll take a look at:
Gig at The Roundhouse
Take the Tube
Food stalls at the market
Walk along the river
Go to the Pub
Listen to vinyl in the Selina basement
Camden Comedy Club
Try vegan food at Powerplant
Visit the Jazz Cafe
Dancing at Underworld
Take a street art tour
Kew Botanic Gardens
Tower of London
Visit Ronnie Scotts
Easily one of the most famous attractions in all of London, Camden market is the loud, vibrant and bustling hub of the town. It’s filled with market vendors selling all sorts of goods, including jewellery, clothing and even gothic boots and accessories.
Walking around the markets is a huge sensory experience, with lots of shouting stall owners, amazing foods to smell and taste, and bright attractions around every corner. The main outdoor market snakes around the river, and there are also indoor sections on those rainy days. If you can though, we recommend walking the whole length of the strip in order to take in the full cultural experience at the markets.
When is Camden market open? Every day except 25th December, from Monday to Sunday at 8.30 am.
What time does Camden market close? 5 pm.
It’s located just two minutes from the town’s main tube station and only three minutes from good quality accommodation options.
More questions? Fortunately, we’ve written a full guide to Camden market where you can discover everything you need to know.
Home to much of the punk rock and gothic culture in London, it’s no wonder that a group of like-minded punky individuals have banded together to organize protests and parades in the area. The Camden Punks, as they are known, are a group that claim to be banned by the local council, and now hang around the lock bridge charging £1 per photo.
Even though they dress alternative to most, the Camden punks are a friendly bunch (but definitely different enough to scare a bold-faced teenager). They don’t hang around every day so it can be slightly hit-and-miss, but head to the lock bridge to try your luck at finding them. This is located just a couple of minutes away from the Selina hub.
If we’re talking about iconic places and landmarks, then you won’t find anything more Instagram-worthy than the Lock Bridge in Camden town. Resembling that of a shipping container, it stretches across the main road in Camden and it’s striking appearance can be seen from quite a distance.
Painted in shades of green and yellow, the Lock Bridge is easily one of the most recognizable places in London. Since this is more a sightseeing activity, it’s worthwhile doing in combination with the markets, which are only a short walk away.
In case you haven’t already heard, Camden Town Brewery is big in the beer business. From Hells Lager to Pale Ale and Off-Menu IPA, this established brand has quite the selection, making it the perfect place to take a brewery tour.
Found under the railway arches on Wilkin Street, the tour includes tastings of all their signature beers, alongside some more unique batches for those lucky enough to attend on days when Camden Town Brewery is experimenting. Plus, it includes learning all about brewing methods and the history of the big-name brand.
Tickets cost £25 (approx $32) and do sell out, so be sure to book in advance. The tour should last approximately one hour and they open until late.
In case you weren’t already sold on Camden market, the umbrella street is another of its iconic places that offers an extra reason to visit. When searching, ‘how to get to Camden market’, there are entrances from all sides. But if you get lucky, you’ll enter from one of a couple of cobbled streets lined with pink, yellow and red umbrellas acting as a roof.
Far more than just for practical use, these umbrellas serve to distract from the shrill of trains overhead. However, many visitors find the noisy environment a unique and fun experience. At only three minutes from Selina, this is a must-see attraction and one of the most aesthetic free things to do in London.
For those looking to experience some live music, Camden has a lot to offer. Alongside smaller and more casual gig venues, the Roundhouse is a true British establishment. As a live performance space, visitors can watch plays and even fashion shows as well as their favourite musical artists.
In 2022, the Roundhouse is hosting concerts for esteemed acts like:
Girl in Red
With such a variety of music genres and other events, like poetry slams, any time spent at the Roundhouse is sure to be fun. Prices vary based on the event and the venue can be found on Chalk Farm Road. At just a one-minute walk away from accommodation options, attending a gig at the Roundhouse is a great way to spend an evening in Camden.
Those looking for a fun thing to do in London with friends need look no further than Selina’s own events and wellness activities. Hosting daily yoga classes, it’s a great way to refresh yourself each morning, do some exercise and get over any jetlag by building a good routine.
Not just focused on the physical, yoga has many mental benefits too. With a focus on intention and mindfulness, yoga is a great practice for those looking to manage their anxiety. These classes are located on-site at Chalk Farm Road but if you’re already staying at Selina, you can benefit from discounts on tours and food, too.
Any rock and roll fans in the house?
The Electric Ballroom on Camden High Street is the place to be for alternative music and concerts. This year, it’s hosting shows from the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Still Woozy, amongst others.
We recommend starting your night at a nearby bar like Be At One Camden, before heading into your concert of choice and dancing the night away. Ticket costs depend on the artist but be sure to plan in advance as many of the shows here sell out.
Take the tube
It’s a bit of a no-brainer but any visit to London would be incomplete without taking the ‘tube’. More formally known as the London underground, London Borough of Camden actually hosts 17 different stations, many in the vicinity of Camden’s bustling hub.
Of course, Camden Town station is likely your primary choice, but Chalk Farm, Mornington Crescent, London Euston and Belsize Park are also very nearby. In terms of cool stuff, most international visitors would consider a journey on the tube a staple in any London visit.
There’s just no way that anybody who’s been to this part of the world could miss out on the amazing food options at the Camden town market. From traditional fish and chips to Lebanese shawarma, there’s truly something for every palette.
If you’re after my personal favourite, it’s the stall right at the beginning of the river section that sells Chinese food. On any given day, you’ll hear the owner chanting “Bang Bang Chicken!” from his market spot, usually accompanied by a multitude of delicious samples and tasting opportunities.
For those looking for sit down places to eat, Camden offers plenty of independent restaurants and cafes. In particular, Hans and Gretal Camden has blown up on social media for it’s ‘Willy Wonka’ style immersive candy experience (or as the locals say, sweets).
Walk along the river
When it gets to Camden market closing time, why not swap the hustle and bustle of bazaars around every corner in exchange for a serene walk along the river? One of London’s best kept secrets, Regent’s Canal begins at Little Venice in Camden and goes for nine miles until you reach the mouth of the River Thames.
While walking, enjoy the abundance of nature and wildlife, such as squirrels, birds and even hedgehogs, depending on the time of year. In some places along the river it feels like the countryside, not the middle of one of the world’s busiest cities.
Befriend any Brit, and at least three times per week at approximately 5.01pm you’ll hear them ask: ‘pub?’. With a huge number of local watering holes in Camden, the question becomes where.
For a truly authentic local experience, try The Spread Eagle or the World’s End. Plus, Near and Far Camden has risen to the cream of the crop as it’s Bottomless Brunch concept has surged in popularity.
With each of these pubs within walking distance from Selina’s accommodation, we’ll be saving that all-important uber money for another pint, please.
Listen to Vinyl
Depending on the time of year, a visit to London might be filled with rain and cold weather. But grey skies shouldn’t ruin the fun. There are a number of specialized vinyl shops in Camden, alongside the vinyl record players found in the basement at Selina.
If you’re in the mood to chill out after a long day or spend a cosy few hours indoors, we recommend settling with a hot cup of tea and relaxing to vinyl. In fact, this is one of the best things to do in London in December or any of the colder months.
With many records filmed around the corner at Pirate Studios Camden, you really can’t get any more local.
In the case that Camden market does have enough on offer, the area is also home to a number of thrift shops. With a range of vintage gear and edgy trade-ins, it’s a shopaholic’s dream. The most famous thrift store in Camden, London is called Rockit, but there are also plenty of charity shops with second-hand and new clothing.
Thrift shopping can be a fun immersive try-on activity, and the number of local thrift shops can mean that this activity turns into somewhat of a tour. It’s always a good option for those looking for last-minute things to do in Camden, too.
Did you know that the capital’s oldest scientific zoo just so happens to be located in the London borough of Camden? The ZSL London Zoo contains safari animals such as Giraffes and Zebras to name a few, along with aquatic beings like Penguins.
Not just for kids, the zoo is often cited on TripAdvisor as one of the cool things to do in London, rated higher than many of the museums. Ticket price for adults costs between £26.50 and £35 (approx $35- $45). Note that these tickets must be booked in advance online and cannot be bought on site.
Camden Comedy Club
There is one very special venue in Camden town that hosts a hilarious comedy club with local and international comedians every single night. Better yet, it’s a totally free thing to do in London. Introducing: Camden Head.
Voted as one of the best comedy clubs in London, the longstanding (and newly refurbished) venue offers stand-up, improv and even ‘sneak peeks’ into larger shows, like the Edinburgh fringe.
While enjoying the show, be sure to grab something traditional off the menu and a local pint to wash it all down.
Vegan Food at Powerplant
Looking for vegan food joints can be restrictive in some cities. Not here. There are plenty of places to eat in Camden if you have specific dietary requirements.
For vegans, the top choice has got to be Powerplant. No boring ‘replacements’ here, this vegan menu is fresh and exciting, with plenty of options to suit different tastebuds. On the menu, you’ll find delicious seasonal dishes such as Cauliflower Katsu Curry, Winter Risotto and Carrot Pakoras. Plus, don’t miss the weekly cacao ceremonies, allowing visitors to set intentions and manifest a successful trip.
There really is no end to the types of music venues and nights out available in the London Borough of Camden. The Camden Jazz Cafe (also known as Jazz Cafe London). Also hosting up-and-coming instrumental R&B artists and club nights, no two visits here are the same.
Line up’s this year includes the likes of Adeline, Slum Village and even Soul City Disco as part of their club night series. The venue also has a restaurant onsite, making it the perfect place to spend an evening in Camden.
Dancing at Underworld
Searching for places in North London for a good club night out? Look no further than Underworld, Camden’s premier rock and alternative music venue situated at the bottom of The World’s End pub.
For fans of rock and indie music, this one is not to be missed. Having previously hosted the likes of You Me at Six, Fallout Boy and Skrillex, they have a knack for picking the best underground rock artists just before their explosion in popularity. Most shows end just before midnight and fortunately, this is just a twelve-minute walk away from Selina’s accommodation.
Street Art Tour
London is a melting pot of different international cultures, and around every turn, there’s a new influence from a different corner of the globe. But if there’s one thing that Camden, London does really well, it’s street art.
Taking a street art tour will last around two hours, and is a great introduction if you’re new to the area. Expect to see vibrant colours and the different art styles of over 100 pieces, perhaps you’ll even bump into one of the artists. There are free walking tours and paid street art tours available.
There’s more to London than Camden town. Those willing to explore further afield in the city should think about the following activities.
Kew Botanic Gardens
Another of the absolutely iconic places in London, (Camden town being only a train ride away), the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens are a gold mine for nature lovers. With both permanent and seasonal exhibitions, it’s well worth the visit even for those who have been before.
Kew Gardens is located in South London, in Richmond. Here, visitors can also find an amazing deer park (with plenty of fawns in spring time) and Wimbledon tennis club.
While it’s not in Camden borough, the London eye is an unmissable sight (and experience) when you’re visiting England’s capital. At the top, you’ll have panoramic views of London (including the river Thames and the Southbank) and approximately thirty minutes of air time.
Standard adult tickets cost £29.50 (approximately $39). From Camden town station, this is a twenty-minute London underground ride on the Northern Line towards Mordon, before exiting at Waterloo station.
If living regal is more your style, then a visit to Buckingham Palace is on the list. Did you know that every time the British flag is flying, the Queen is in residence at that very moment?
From Camden town, head towards Moorgate on the Northern Line before changing at Euston, getting on the Victoria line and exiting at Green Park. If you can get your hands on a bicycle, it’s just a twenty-five-minute cycle from the centre of Camden. Even better, it’s one of the best things to do alone in London– and free.
Tower of London
While visiting the UK in the winter season isn’t the most popular time to visit, it can offer an absolutely magical experience. The Tower of London, with its rich history in traditional royal culture, has a temporary ice rink installed every year. While tickets sell out uber quickly, it can be one of the best things to do in London in December.
From Camden, it’s a thirty-minute train journey on the Northern and Circle lines, ending at Tower Hill tube station.
If you’re after one of London’s hidden gems, then Ronnie Scott’s bar one to watch. Plus, it’s just a 13-minute train journey away from Camden town (London might be smaller than you think). Ronnie Scotts is a luxury jazz lounge, also offering an a la carte menu and a traditional roast dinner on Sundays.
After Camden market closing time, head to the station and take the Northern line southbound, where you’ll get off at Tottenham Court Road.
How do I spend a day in Camden?
It’s hard to condense the best bits of Camden town into just one day, but we understand why visitors want to explore elsewhere: there is no shortage of cool things to do in London. Start your day with a healthy vegan breakfast at Powerplant, before heading to the markets via umbrella street. Then grab food at the market stalls before walking down the downstream and discovering the serene, peaceful Regents Canal. Head to a live music venue for the evening before retiring for the night at Selina Camden.
What is Camden known for?
Ask any international, and they’ll probably say that the area is best known for Camden market. But for the locals, Camden is more than just a market town. They know the place for its friendly people, artsy, musical streets and unusual sights round every corner.
Where to stay in Camden?
To experience true inner-city London, staying in Zones 1 or 2 is recommended. Here, visitors get a more authentic experience with plenty of greenery and good vibes. Selina Camden is the top choice for travellers looking for comfortable accommodation within reach of the eclectic scene outside.
Is Camden good for a night out?
For live music, Camden is one of the top places in North London. Venues include Underground (rock and alternative scene), the Roundhouse (concerts) and the London Jazz Cafe.
For other events like comedy, Camden Head is the place to be. With a number of other bars in the area, such as Be at One Camden and Near and Far, there’s no shortage of places to party, too.
What to do in Camden when it rains?
If there’s one thing we can’t control, it’s the weather. While Camden market is partly undercover, it’s usually not too fun to trawl through on rainy days. Instead, there are plenty of fun things to do in London with friends, even when it’s raining.
We suggest exploring all of the funky punk shops, which sell customized leather boots, collars and other accessories. Alternatively, heading into the record stores to listen to music, or trying a hot meal at the local pub.
Where else should I explore in the UK from Camden?
One of the best things about Camden is it’s great transport links, making it easy to reach other areas of the UK. So after exhausting all the cool things to do in Camden, we suggest hopping on a national rail train to Brighton or Manchester, which both take less than two hours).
Brighton is the LGBT capital of the UK, home to pebbled beaches and even an immersive chocolate factory. Manchester, on the other hand, is located in the North of England, is known for it’s sporting prowess and nightlife.