I lived in Camden for many years and loved the nightlife as well as making friends with the market traders.
But Camden is so much more than the famous markets. It’s brimming with culture from museums and galleries to heritage buildings brought back to use and undiscovered live music.
It’s also still easy to find a peaceful spot along the canal away from the crowds giving you the best of both worlds.
What to see and do in Camden?
1 Discover science and art at the Wellcome Collection
This free museum has 19th-century collector Henry Wellcome’s medical antiquities and he sure liked to collect! The artefacts include a Peruvian mummified body, Darwin’s walking stick and Napoleon’s toothbrush.
Open drawers and you’ll find even more bizarre objects. The temporary exhibitions are enjoyable but I’m just as happy seeing the permanent collection as it’s quite bonkers.
I’ve always found the location, opposite Euston station, makes this a good place to meet friends in the café and the shop is great for buying gifts.
2 Find out there’s so much more than just books at the British Library
This is the national library of the UK so, yes, it’s a popular place for researchers but everyone is welcome.
If you only see one room, go to the Treasures Gallery where there are handwritten Beatles lyrics, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and the Magna Carta.
There are free temporary exhibitions too or you can just walk around and see King George III’s library housed in a huge glass tower or a 15th-century printing press by the toilets.
The pay-for exhibitions are usually inspiring, and the shop is excellent. (There’s always Alice in Wonderland merchandise and that makes me happy.)
Tip from Laura: On the Lower Ground Floor, look for Patrick Hughe's 'Paradoxymoron' trompe l’oeil painting of book shelves. It's disorientating but irresistible to move your head around to try and work it out.
3 Push through the wall at King’s Cross Platform 9 ¾
Bring your wand as every muggle knows Harry Potter’s journey to Hogwarts was from King’s Cross station. Near platform 10, there’s a luggage trolley embedded in the wall for fun pics.
It’s free but the Harry Potter Shop beside it has set up a commercial photo opportunity (scarf supplied in your house colours) from 8am to 10pm so expect big queues.
Tip from Laura: You can buy a VIP photo pass to get to the front of the line quicker or just come early or late with friends to take each other's photo.
4 Explore the graveyard at St Pancras Old Church
One look at the Grade I listed tomb for architect Sir John Soane and his wife and you’ll understand how it inspired the iconic red telephone boxes designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.
And the Hardy Tree is named after the writer Thomas Hardy but actually relates to his days working for the local railway. Graves had to be moved and he arranged for the gravestones to be piled here.
Later an ash tree seeded itself and has grown up through the middle of the gravestones.
5 Go shopping at Coal Drops Yard
These King’s Cross canalside industrial buildings were built to store and transfer coal but it’s now London’s newest retail quarter. A sinuous roof has been added to make it look like the 19th-century buildings are stretching towards each other.
Now connected, the central traffic-free street has the majority of the shops on two levels with a focus on fashion, craft and culture. Well-known designer names are next to brand new first openings.
Not all of the past has been obliterated as they’ve retained paintwork from the old Bagley’s nightclub in the Eastern Coal Drops.
6 Stroll along the Regent’s Canal path
Cutting right through Camden, walking along the Regent’s Canal path always feels more peaceful than following the roads.
The canal paths can be busy with cycling commuters but time your stroll well and you can wander and not see anyone.
Head west and you’ll pass London Zoo and reach Little Venice, or go east all the way to Limehouse in the Docklands.
Tip from Laura: Look out for the Banksy (and Robbo) street art below Camden Street bridge.
7 Play in the fountains at Granary Square
This King’s Cross public square features over 1,000 choreographed fountains that dance throughout the day and are lit up at night. In the summer it can feel like an urban beach with kids dashing through trying to dodge the jets.
You can even have a go at controlling the jets yourself via an app that turns the fountains into a giant playable game of ’70s arcade favourite ‘Snake’ at 4pm to 5pm daily.
And the wide steps down to the canal are carpeted green in the summer so you can watch the narrowboats and relax in the sunshine.
8 Get ready to party at Koko
I loved this club when it was Camden Palace in the 1990s. It’s a Victorian theatre at Mornington Crescent and is a popular live music and club venue.
This was the location of Madonna’s first UK show and Koko has hosted performances by Prince, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Ariana Grande and loads more stars.
The new rooftop bar is a great addition for summer evenings.
9 Uncover the culture and history at the Jewish Museum
This modern museum tells the story of the history and heritage of Jews in Britain through the themes of migration, family, faith and culture.
There are four permanent galleries including a recreation of London’s East End and a gallery of ceremonial items.
There are also two temporary exhibitions included in the admission price. The best I saw here were the Amy Winehouse exhibitions in 2013 and 2017.
10 Dance all night at EggLondon
This 1,000 capacity club started out with the rave scene and is now an electronic music warehouse super-club in King’s Cross with a 24-hour licence.
Inside there are three levels with five dance rooms. And when you need to take a breather there are relaxation areas inside and out.
Egg is for over 19s only and the door security is strict.
11 See live music at the Electric Ballroom
Close to Camden Town tube station, I’ve had many good nights here.
It’s been a music venue for 80 years and has hosted acts such as Sid Vicious, Madness, The Clash, Snow Patrol, The Killers, U2, Joy Division, Public Enemy, Blur, The Smiths, The Vaccines, Ocean Color Scene, Prince and the Kaiser Chiefs.
The fact that the Electric is a long, low room means there isn’t the boom of the high-ceilinged theatres. The club nights are fun, and staff are usually friendly, even if the venue is looking a bit tired.
12 Shop all week at Camden Markets
There are actually six Camden markets off Camden High Street and Chalk Farm Road so this is huge. I used to make bags from brightly-coloured fun fur and sell them here and that type of thing would still go down well today.
There are stalls here seven days a week now but Sunday is the busiest. Many stalls still have the hippy/goth/retro clothes and jewellery that was popular years ago and there are fewer designer-makers these days.
If you see something you like, do look around as it may be on another stall too.
Tip from Laura: Beware of pickpockets. It's really easy to be distracted here and it gets crowded. That doesn't mean you need to wear your backpack on your front – that shouts 'tourist' – but don't have your mobile phone or wallet in your jeans back pocket either.
13 See an amazing show at the Roundhouse
This Victorian circular building was initially used to turn railway engines around, hence the name, but it started being used as a theatre in 1964.
I remember it for being closed in the ’80s and ’90s but it became the concert venue it is now in 2006. They get some really big names to play here so it’s worth checking what’s on.
It’s more intimate as ‘only’ 1,700 capacity with standing on the ground level and seating on the balcony. The bar/café is also a good spot to get away from the daytime crowds at the markets too.
14 Make a splash at the restored Kentish Town Sports Centre
I used to swim here every week but, I’ll admit, it was pretty run down. The Grade II listed (must be preserved) pool has now been restored and is looking magnificent.
It’s a real delight to swim at one of London’s most historic swimming baths and the elegant glazed gothic vaulted roof over the Willes pool is wonderfully distracting when doing lengths of backstroke.
There are actually three pools here (the other two are for lessons and for babies) and there’s also a gym. It shows you can put a 21st-century leisure centre in an Edwardian building.
Tip from Laura: Walk over to nearby Kelly Street to get an Instagram snap of the beautiful pastel-painted houses.
15 See a gig at The O2 Forum Kentish Town
I saw some amazing shows here when this was the Town and Country Club in the ’80s (Iggy Pop stands out) but it’s been The Forum, under various management, since the early ’90s.
It’s a fantastic Art Deco theatre building with room for over 2,000 music fans inside. It’s standing/dancing room downstairs and non-allocated benched seating on the upstairs balcony.
The booked bands are quite eclectic and there are occasional club nights too.
16 Find something new to read at Primrose Hill Books
This family-run independent bookshop is perfect for finding something a bit different to read. It’s a wonderful place to browse and has a great selection of secondhand books too.
As lots of writers live in the area there are usually local authors’ books in the window and book signing events too.
The Victorian terraced shops on Regent’s Park Road encourage you to slow down and this bookshop may be small but it has books from floor to ceiling. Heaven!
Tip from Laura: Once you've got something new to read, Primrose Hill itself is only a minute away. Climb the hill, take a seat on the grass and see the excellent view of London. And on your way down stop at Chalcot Crescent for photos as it was used as the fictional Windsor Gardens in the Paddington movies.
17 See a blockbuster at Odeon Camden
This somewhat run-down chain cinema is on Parkway, close to Camden Town tube station.
You can get bubble tea and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream in the entrance foyer, but popcorn (loads of flavours and toppers) is upstairs with the screens.
The screens aren’t huge (screen 1 is the biggest) but the cinema does have some cheap deals for families and students.
18 Explore the back streets with Camden Street Art Tours
It’s not just Shoreditch that attracts world-class street artists as Camden has some real hidden gems.
To find them all you need to take a tour with Nelly as she knows where to find some of the most secret and unique street art in the area.
I loved having things pointed out that were clearly missed by most passing by such as Ben Wilson’s chewing gum art, ceramic designs stuck high on walls and wooden blocks you could turn on a lamp post.
But remember, street art is temporary so what you see will be different to what I found.
19 Have an ‘elementary’ lunch at Speedy’s Cafe
Sherlock Holmes fans will instantly recognise the red canopy over Speedy’s Cafe as the small sandwich bar is directly below the first floor flat that is home to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson in the BBC Sherlock TV series.
It’s actually a small cafe on North Gower Street, near Euston, and is nowhere near Baker Street but the black entrance door to the fictional 221B flat is next door (on the left).
Don’t expect the most amazing culinary experience but the Sherlock wrap is popular. Or you can’t go wrong with a Full English breakfast and a mug of tea.
20 Be at one with nature at the Camley Street Natural Park
Did you know there’s a nature reserve in King’s Cross? A former disused coal yard became a haven for wildlife so Camley Street Natural Park opened in 1984. It’s a lovely spot for a woodland walk by the canal, and kids love to do pond dipping here.
There’s a small wildflower meadow and the park is a home for birds, bats, butterflies and a wide variety of plant life. A new ‘ecological knowledge hub’ opens in 2019 and there are plans for a new pedestrian bridge across Regent’s Canal to connect to Coal Drops Yard.
21 Admire the artwork at House of Illustration
Founded by Sir Quentin Blake in 2014, this is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated to illustration and graphic art.
There are nine exhibitions each year in the three gallery spaces covering all forms of illustration from animation to adverts, picture books to political cartoons and scientific drawings to fashion design.
There is an admission charge and you’ll only need an hour at most here.
22 See a new show at the Platform Theatre
This art school theatre complex at Central Saint Martins has four performance spaces, hosting a programme of drama and performing arts, plus a foyer bar.
The focus is on quality acting so the shows are pretty professional although often quite experimental. Students, eh?
The theatre is also used for arts festivals like the London International Mime Festival and Dance Umbrella.
23 Take a seat and relax at Gasholder Park
The King’s Cross gasholders are decommissioned local landmarks so while three have had luxury apartments built inside them (cue eye rolling now) one has been saved as a small public park.
Gasholder No. 8 is the largest of the iconic gasholders and the Victorian cast iron frame marks the edge of this canalside circular park with seating around the circumference.
There’s a polished steel reflective colonnade around the wide grass area meaning it reflects a different view each time you’re there.
Tip from Laura: The old and new here makes it a great place for getting photos. Then chill and watch the narrowboats at St Pancras Lock.
24 Enjoy a new release at Everyman King’s Cross
It’s a chain cinema in a new building but this is actually a pretty decent local cinema. There’s no rush to choose what to see as you can lounge on the sofas and have food and drink brought to you.
The design is cool with the gilt stairs, red velvet ticket booth and signature glowing neon signs. There are three screens in the R7 building and the original (and small!) nearby Everyman on the Corner is now Screen 4.
I like the bar upstairs and can recommend checking out the cocktail selection.
25 Rock out at The Underworld Camden
When all I wanted to do was dance all night this was the place I went to. The Underworld is a small grungy club under the World’s End pub, opposite Camden Town tube station.
It’s good to see it still has Friday and Saturday indie and rock nights. Check out the gigs too as previous headliners have included Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and the Foo Fighters.
26 Watch cool bands at the Jazz Cafe
This is definitely an ‘intimate’ venue as it holds less than 500 but it’s a great place to see have a meal and see some live music.
Definitely book a restaurant table as the mezzanine overlooks the stage and booking a table reserves it for the whole night so don’t quibble about the food prices.
If you want to dance there’s always standing room downstairs and the Saturday club night has cheap tickets if you want to get a drink and have a boogie.
Tip from Laura: Tables for two are around the mezzanine edge but large booths are further back so you won't see the stage although you will still hear the music, of course.
27 Learn to barn dance at Cecil Sharp House
As the only dedicated folk arts centre in England, this is a great place to brush up on your fiddle playing, attend a ceilidh or see live music.
While Cecil Sharp House is dedicated to the traditional arts – music, song, dance, storytelling, etc – that doesn’t mean the acts are all unknown as Mumford & Sons, Graham Coxon and Goldfrapp have performed here.
Drinks are well-priced but the bar food is a bit pricey.
28 Have a Guinness at The London Irish Centre
Essentially this is a charity supporting the loca Irish community.
It was set up in the 1950s to support those who crossed the Irish Sea to come and work in London, and it soon became a cultural hub too. One way they raise funds is by putting on music, comedy and film nights.
The Guinness is good and the events are worth knowing about. There’s also usually a small free exhibition on as well.
29 Bring a team to help you escape from Mission: Breakout
This escape game in Kentish Town is proper spooky – and not just because it’s in a ghost (disused) tube station!
Suspend reality as you head down the stairs as the setting is Bletchley Park during WWII. Churchill sets your task before you head into a bunker with the sound of bombs dropping overhead.
Then you progress to the Enigma machine for some intense code cracking. There’s a decent mix of puzzles in this game and it’s definitely not too easy.
30 See live music at The Fiddler’s Elbow
This former pub is a 150-capacity live music venue with a fantastic atmosphere. Get a decent pint at the bar and chill on the Chesterfield sofas for the relaxed gigs, or dance your heart out for the most raucous shows.
It’s cheap to get in and you get to support local bands from all musical genres. And if you’re feeling inspired to perform, there’s an open mic night on the first Tuesday of the month.
31 Get naked at Rio’s Naturist Spa
There’s no membership here so any free-thinking over 21s can try full naturism. Rio’s has two steam rooms, jacuzzi, plunge pool, swimming pool and a garden.
The male/female ratio is about 80/20 and it’s significantly cheaper for single women. Rio’s attracts uninhibited couples and women who enjoy the attention.
Sex is certainly on offer if you want it and the chlorine is eye-stingingly strong – good thing too, eh?
32 Pick up brunch at Primrose Hill Market
On Saturdays, on the grounds of St Paul’s School, this small market has over 50 award-winning farmers, artisan producers and street food traders. It’s great for grabbing brunch bits and taking them to enjoy with the views from Primrose Hill.
This is a nice area so the food is displayed beautifully and the produce is as fresh as it comes. I know I should choose something healthy but I can never resist the chocolate brownies here.
33 Cruise to Little Venice with a Camden Lock boat trip
You get a completely different view of London from a traditional narrowboat on the Regent’s Canal.
There are a few companies that run trips to and from Little Venice but only The London Waterbus has stops at London Zoo (it’s a great way to avoid the entrance queues there!)
It’s also the only company that runs regularly all year round. There’s no pre-booking so arrive early as the boats can only take around 50 people and it’s first come first served.
Tip from Laura: You can only buy tickets for The London Waterbus once onboard and they only take card payments, whereas Jason's only takes cash payments.
34 Indulge in a treatment at Primrose Hill Cowshed Spa
This country-chic day spa has wonderfully-smelling products so don’t be surprised if you make a few purchases after your treatment. It’s laid-back luxury in leafy Primrose Hill.
The mani/pedi stations have cute little TVs and there are seven basement treatment rooms for facials and massages. I think of it as a café too with outdoor tables making it great for people watching.
35 See world-class photos at the Annroy Gallery
Annroy is run by portrait and fashion photographer, Rankin.
Yes, THE Rankin who’s photographed Madonna, David Bowie, the Queen, Kate Moss and lots more supermodels.
The gallery name is a combination of his mother’s and father’s names and exhibitions change every couple of months.
36 Get something new to read at the Owl Bookshop
This Kentish Town bookshop has been going since 1974 and the large childrens section keeps it popular with local families.
It was bought by Daunt Books in 2010 but hasn’t lost its identity. The travel guide selection is usually impressive and there are some really good author events.
37 See a gig at the Boston Music Room
There were some wild punk bands on here in the ’80s and ’90s, like Sham 69, and then they got the indie craze with Blur and The White Stripes.
Now punk is back and tickets are often under £10. The Boston Music Room has its sister venue, The Dome, nearby.
38 Find a new favourite vintage number at SK Vintage
This Kentish Town boutique is stuffed full of good quality hand-picked vintage and pre-loved designer items from around the world.
It’s full of colour with some really fun prints so definitely the right place when you need that one-off special outfit.
If you’re not brave enough for the ’70s hippy look, then do check out the accessories as the bags are wonderful.
39 Order bespoke jewellery at Jessica de Lotz
Jessica de Lotz’s Kentish Town shop was once a piano store so don’t be confused by the original signage still there. Her jewellery is all handmade and her workshop is out the back.
The winking eye rings are really cool and her trademark wax seal inspired designs are loved by the fashion mags. For something really personal you can hand stamp your own wax seal jewellery by appointment.
40 Sip a cocktail at Ladies & Gentlemen
This is not your bog-standard cocktail bar as Ladies & Gentlemen is in former underground public toilets! You’ll know when you’ve found it as they have a doorman at street level keeping a check on the numbers inside.
There are two small rooms with a small bar and table service. It gets busy so go on a weekday early evening and you should get straight in without the usual wait.
41 Kiss a lover at The Meeting Place
This 9-metre high bronze sculpture of a man and woman in an intimate embrace is a landmark in St Pancras International station.
It’s called The Meeting Place and is by Paul Day.
The sculpture is not loved by all but I like looking closely at the high-relief frieze on the base that has scenes from the history of Tube and train travel.
42 Play Elton John’s Piano at St Pancras International station
There are two street pianos on the station concourse at St Pancras that anyone can play.
Elton John did a surprise sing-along one morning in 2016 and he left this Yamaha piano behind for everyone to use.
It’s signed with the message: “Enjoy this piano. It’s a gift. Love, Elton John” referencing the classic ‘Your Song’.
43 Swing in a giant birdcage at the IFO
How can a permanent public art installation be fun? When it’s a swing for adults in an over-sized birdcage!
The Identified Flying Object (IFO) is 9 metres high and the bars of the cage are lit in a brilliant array of neon every evening.
It’s between King’s Cross and St Pancras International stations and yes, I’ve tried it. Who wouldn’t?
44 Learn how to cook something new at the Waitrose Cookery School
This premium supermarket chain also has cookery schools and the King’s Cross branch is worth knowing about.
There are lunchtime (long lunch) classes that are fun with a friend. Or the 2-hour early evening classes mean you get to make dinner together.
The 5-hour courses on global cuisine are a great introduction to dishes from Japan, Mexico, India, etc. Always plan ahead as the classes sell out quickly.
45 Explore the area with a free King’s Cross walking tour
There’s a self-guided tour you can follow (pick up a map at the King’s Cross Visitor Centre or use the Smartphone version of the map) and a free guided tour around the public areas of the King’s Cross regeneration.
You’ll find out about the industrial heritage of the area and, on the guided tour, hear about what’s still planned. I’ve been on the guided tour and tried the self-guided tour and both were really informative.
There’s a downloadable architecture tour available too.
46 Visit the King’s Cross Visitor Centre
This is where you can find out about the redevelopment of King’s Cross and what’s happening in the area.
It’s great if you want to know about the history and also if you want to find out about new restaurant openings, and I’ve always found the staff to be really friendly.
It’s also where you go to book free tours and see exhibitions by local artists. I like the large model of the development that’s overlaid on an interactive screen so you can see how the area has changed.
Tip from Laura: If you need a tourist information centre, the King's Cross St Pancras Visitor Centre is at King's Cross Underground station. They can give travel advice and sell you attraction tickets.
47 Swim some lengths at Pancras Square Leisure Centre
This centre has only been open for a few years so it’s still looking good.
The gym is pretty big and well used and there’s a good range of fitness classes. But I like the swimming pool with the added benefit of the jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms on the side.
It’s a council-run pool so not excessive luxury but it’s well-priced and you don’t need membership. It’s also handy that it’s open until 10pm during the week so you can relax at the end of a long day.
48 Admire the lights in the King’s Cross light tunnel
Essentially, this is just a pedestrian subway to reach King’s Cross St Pancras underground station. But it’s also one of Europe’s longest light-walls, and I love it!
It’s a 90 metre long light-wall tunnel with a gentle curve so you can’t see the end. The walls are backlit by LEDs and the colours change.
I’m so glad they chose to do something more interesting and I can never resist getting a few more photos each time I walk through.
Tip from Laura: To find the light tunnel, there's an escalator down from the north-east corner of the One Pancras Square building.
49 Buy a secondhand book at Word on the Water
I love this place. The owners are really welcoming and even let me take a class of 10 years inside as they were all curious. It’s London’s only floating bookshop and it’s near Granary Square in King’s Cross.
There are so many books inside this restored 1920s Dutch canal-boat that they spill out onto the top of the 50-foot long boat too. Everything is really affordable and they host live music and poetry events up on the roof.
50 See a bird of prey working in King’s Cross train station
If you’re lucky you’ll be in King’s Cross train station on one of the days when Max Bell brings his Harris Hawks. These are working birds that fly around the station to keep the pigeons out so passengers can avoid pigeon droppings inside.
The hawks can’t fly directly over the train platforms, due to overhead power lines, so he walks around the station and the birds swoop overhead. Max knows his birds well and I’ve always found he’ll answer questions when on a break.
51 Get ready for a rave at Cyberdog
You won’t miss this Stables Market shop as there are two giant silver cyborg statues outside!
Brave going inside and you’ll find a three-floor raver’s heaven as it’s all glow-in-the-dark fluorescent fashions with loud electronic music.
There are even dancers on high podiums at the weekend. I prefer their neon clubwear to the PVC fetishwear but their customers love both.
52 Pose with the Amy Winehouse statue
Amy died in Camden in 2011 and her hometown needed a permanent memorial (there is also Amy street art in the area).
This almost life-size bronze statue by Scott Eaton is in the Stables Market and arrived three years after her death.
The statue has her with her hand on her hip, wearing high heels and with her signature beehive hairstyle. It’s hard to pass without getting a photo together.
Tip from Laura: The Cereal Killer Cafe is just below and there's another photo opportunity at the peep through board – a giant cereal box for you and a friend to pop your heads through two holes.
53 Have a laugh at the Camden Comedy Club
The room above the Camden Head pub has live comedy seven nights a week. It’s been the Camden Comedy Club since 2014. Gigs range from alternative comedy to TV headliners such as Russell Howard and Harry Hill.
The big names are on Fridays and Saturdays and it’s generally new material nights for the rest of the week. Weekend tickets are £10 and other nights are free or pay-what-you-can. This is a great place to know about for the Edinburgh Festival preview shows.
54 Watch a fringe show at the Etcetera Theatre
This pub theatre has been above The Oxford Arms on Camden High Street for over thirty years. It’s a great place to see fringe theatre, comedy and cabaret acts.
Many of the shows go on to larger London venues so this can be a way to see things before everyone else. When the pub is really busy you have to tell the bouncers you have tickets for the theatre or they won’t let you in.
55 Check out new art at the Cob Gallery
This independent contemporary art gallery provides a platform for new, emerging and mid-career London-based artists to develop and show their work.
It’s a small gallery and only open Wednesday to Saturday but you may see something really interesting here so it’s worth popping in when nearby.
56 Take to the water with the Pirate Castle
This castle – and it is a castle! – is just above Camden Lock.
Primarily it’s a boating and outdoor activities charity for local kids and disability groups of all ages, but if you can get a group together they offer private kayaking sessions for kids and adults or you can book a cruise on the Regent’s Canal in one of their canal boats.
You can feel good about having fun here as all of the money paid helps fund their charitable community projects.
57 Discover a new favourite band at Dingwalls
There’s been live music at this Camden Lock venue since 1973 (although it’s now also home to The Comedy Loft). In the ’70s it was popular with punk bands including The Sex Pistols and The Ramones, and it’s where Blondie played their first gig in the UK.
Amongst all the new music there has also been shows by the Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons in recent years, and it’s popular for secret shows from big bands. While it’s a legendary music venue it does feel tired these days.
Tip from Laura: The main bar, at the back of the club, can never cope with the number who want to buy drinks so you can use your hand stamp to pop out for a drink between bands at the two bars attached – Lock 17 and the Market Bar.
58 Go to an indie rock institution at The Dublin Castle
Goodness, I’ve had some great nights here over the years. It’s a family run pub with a back room for live music, smothered in band posters. Before the days of the internet I used to scour the gig listings in the NME and often ended up here a few nights each week.
There are four bands each night from Wednesday to Sunday with DJs after the bands on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Coldplay and The Killers have played here, and Amy Winehouse was a regular in the bar.
59 See laid-back music at the Green Note
Green Note is a much more relaxed way to see new music as this is a ‘tables and chairs’ kind of venue. It’s intimate/cosy (small) but the veggie bar snacks are good and it’s a great place to hangout for an evening.
The music is folk, roots, blues, world and acoustic as well as jazz and country. Arrive early to ensure you get a table and then stay all night.
60 Get a photo of an Art Deco Egyptian-style landmark
The former Carreras Cigarette Factory on Hampstead Road was built in the 1920s. One architect wanted a classical-influenced building and another suggested a stylised Egyptian frontage.
The final design became a mash-up of both ideas. It has brightly-painted Egyptian-style columns and two regal cat effigies, meant to symbolise the goddess Bastet, guarding its entrance (Carreras had a black cat on their Craven A cigarette packets).
The cats are now replicas and the building is now offices but it’s still a cool place to see.
61 Fill your Instagram feed with photos of the Camden High Street shops
Everything on Camden High Street is bright and jostling for attention.
There are ground floor shops with stalls outside and it starts looking the same until you look up. The first floor and second floor levels of the terraced shops have been brightly painted and giant objects now protrude from the brickwork.
Look out for trainers, biker boots and dragons. I like the shoe selection over a shop near Camden Lock the best.