The Best Things to do in London: The Essential Camden Tourist Guide
For a uniquely London borough, look no further than Camden which is full of the most interesting things to do.
So, where do you even start with your explorations? Right here, of course!
The Best Things to do in Camden
Visit for: The breathtaking city views, grand interiors and sprawling gardens.
Nestled atop leafy Hampstead Heath, this graceful 17th Century Georgian house was formerly a stately home. Extensively refurbished in 2013, it is now considered one of the best places to retreat to for a tranquil moment in London. Take a stroll through the immaculately landscaped grounds or head inside to admire the sumptuously decorated interiors. It’s also a good spot for taking in views of the city. Art enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either - you’ll find a Vermeer, a Rembrandt and two Van Dycks amongst the impressive collection here. Keep an eye on their events calendar as well. During the summer, you can enjoy an open-air concert or take in a classic film showing on their huge outdoor screen set against a backdrop of London.
Visit for: A glimpse into the life of one of the most renowned authors in literary history.
This Georgian terraced house at 48 Doughty Street is where Charles Dicken spent two important years of his life between 1837 and 1839. The famous Victorian author’s old home is where he wrote some of his most popular novels, including Oliver Twist. It has been transformed into a museum with recreated rooms holding some of Dickens’s belongings, paintings and writings. The museum is worth visiting for a fascinating insight into the writer’s personal life and a look at his journey to dizzying heights of success.
Visit for: Zoo Nights - the adults-only events held after hours.
Interested in exploring the oldest zoo in the word? The London Zoo is located in Regent’s Park, right on the border of the Camden borough. It’s currently home to 698 different species of animals, and they’re always adding to their collection. There’s also a spectacular kids’ play area and petting zoo if you’re looking for a fun-filled family afternoon in Camden.
Visit for: An insight into the life, love, and poetry of John Keats.
This charming museum is located in a house where the much loved Romantic poet John Keats once lived, and where he wrote some of his most well-known poems. You can explore the works of Keats and learn more about what inspired his poetry. Romantics at heart will love that this is also where Keats found love with Fanny Brawne, the girl next door. Special events and exhibits are held here throughout the year.
Visit for: people watching, mindless browsing and vintage clothes shopping.
Camden Market is actually made up of 6 (yes, 6) markets. So saying there’s something for everyone is no overstatement. These six include Camden Lock Market, Camden Stables Market, Camden Canal Market, Electric Ballroom, Inverness Street Market and Buck Street Market. Phew. You can find everything from handmade jewellery and quirky gifts to spicy street foods and gothic garb here. Buck Street Market and Electric Ballroom are well known for selling clothing and accessories for those with alternative tastes.
Where to eat in Camden
In a borough this large and with this many food options, how do you even begin to choose?
Here are some of our favourite picks of places to eat in Camden.
Harry Potter fans, pop into nearby King’s Cross station for a quick peek of Platform 9 ¾. You can either go during peak hours and pay for a photographer to take an official shot for you or, if you'd prefer, you can visit after hours for your own selfie as you disappear into the magic.
Located on the banks of Regent’s Canal, this fountain filled square is at its most bustling on sunnier days. There are plenty of great restaurants to satisfy your cravings here, including the popular Indian eatery Dishoom which is worth the long queues for the masala chai alone. Caravan is also great for breakfast options, deliciously roasted coffee and urban-chic vibes. If you’re ready to get experimental with tea, Yumchaa in the Granary Building is also worth a visit.
KERB Camden Market
Serving up delicious street grub seven days a week, Kerb Camden Market has a selection of 34 carefully curated food stalls to eat your way through. This is the place to find some of the hottest street food offerings in London. With a stall for pretty much every cuisine you can think of, Kerb Camden really gives you a glimpse into just how diverse the city’s food scene is. They’re always adding new traders to their list, so this one’s worth multiple revisits.
York & Albany
Looking for somewhere a little fancier for your lunch or evening meal? Located on the cusp of Camden, York & Albany is one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants offering a classic British menu in a stylish and spacious setting. The main menu is seasonal, and they also have a bar snack menu with some great stone baked pizzas and divine truffle chips on offer.
The Chin Chin Laboratorist
Ever heard of liquid nitrogen ice cream? It’s time to get involved. For a taste of this unique sweet treat in Camden, check out the Chin Chin Laboratorist in Camden. This quirky ice cream parlour offers you a chance to watch your ice cream being produced right in front of you. The list of flavours displays the Chin Chin Lab’s love of experimenting, with everything from coconut marshmallow to beer butter caramel on offer. This isn’t just a dessert spot, it’s an experience.
Camden’s Great Outdoors & the best of London Parks
Camden is more than just markets, music and museums. There are also a few great spots for outdoor exploration in this vast borough. Here are some of the best outdoor spaces to discover in Camden:
When in Camden, make sure to visit the historic Hampstead Heath for a spot of sun lounging (sunshine not guaranteed). Located walking distance from the charming Hampstead Village, this 320 hectare London park is one of the highest points in the city. Hampstead Heath is the perfect choice for picnicking on those precious sunny London days.
Highly recommended for a nighttime lit up view of the London city skyline, Primrose Hill is one of the best viewpoints in London. Take along a bottle of wine and spend some time taking in the spectacular city views. You can climb to the top of Primrose Hill from the north side of Regents Park.
A visit to Camden should involve some interaction with Regent’s Canal, which runs through the heart of the borough. You can choose to sit by it, stroll/bike past it, or take a boat trip on it (or all four?). The canal boats from Camden Lock take you on a picturesque water journey through the middle of London Zoo to Little Venice and back. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the canals, the London Canal Museum in King’s Cross is worth a visit.