Village London: Camden Market and Regent's Park

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 25, 2014: Camden Lock, or Hampstead Road Locks is a twin manually operated lock on the Regent's Canal in Camden Town, London Borough of Camden in may 25, 2014.

The north of London has long been a somewhat exclusive area where Londoners of centuries past could retreat to from the seamier side of life south of the river. Today, the lively Camden market and music scene is testament to its status as a distinctively alternative hub of the young and trendy. Once you have strolled around the market and witnessed Camden's famous lock in operation, you can take a tranquil canal-path walk to Regent's Park, where stunning views and wild animals (safely in enclosures) await.

Tube stops: Camden Town and Chalk Farm, both on the Northern line



Influential music venues and beautiful parkland

With a whopping 10 million visitors a year, Camden Market is one of London’s biggest attractions, a huge sprawl of six markets from Camden to Chalk Farm. And quantity has perhaps brought with it a dilution of quality, but there are still some great finds among the tat, including creative clothing for goths, rockabillies and burlesque artistes at Black Rose (Shop 26 Stables Market), excellent vintage at A Dandy in Aspic (Unit D13 Horse Tunnel Market), and ceramic art at Painted Earth (Arch 65 The Catacombs, Stables Market). 

But there’s a lot more to the neighbourhood than its market. Camden has long been the spiritual home of London’s music scene. Among the best venues are: The Roundhouse (Chalk Farm Rd) with its eclectic mix of concerts and theatre, Barfly (49 Chalk Farm Rd), which is credited with having launched loads of successful bands, including The Strokes and Coldplay, and the Jazz Café (5 Parkway), which, despite its name, is a top venue for soul and R&B.

Some of London’s most valuable property is in backstreet Camden, and a stroll down the Regent’s Canal allows you to peek into some very grand gardens indeed. If you follow the canal heading west from the market, you will be in Regent’s Park within about 15 minutes. The park is another huge draw with its gently sloping lawns, rose gardens, football and softball pitches, and the ZSL London Zoo (www.zsl.org).

Cross Prince Albert Road, and you are in genteel Primrose Hill park. The energetic should climb the hill for its beautiful views back down over the whole city, and explore Regent’s Park Road, which is lined with chichi shops and great cafés.

 

For information on what's on in Camden Town, visit www.lovecamden.org.