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Camden Town is awash with the sights, sounds and smells from every culture imaginable. They don’t do things by the book here – and it’s precisely this contrarian spirit that makes Camden one of the best places to live in London. Who would’ve thought outdoor markets could thrive all year round in British weather, for instance?

Through the heart of Camden Town runs the Regent’s Canal, providing a tranquillity which nicely offsets the hubbub from the markets and high street, which attract tourists and loyal visitors from all over the city in equal measure.

We asked a few locals what they think of this thriving community:

“It’s a special place for me because I’ve grown up here. I think it’s the most famous place in London!”

“It’s got a different mix of people. Ethnic and diverse compared to Belfast, where I lived before.”

“There are lots of tourists so it’s always busy, mostly in summer.”

Camden is very accessible via public transport. Alongside the Camden Road Overground station, there are three large underground stops nearby in Camden Town, Kentish Town and Mornington Crescent. There’s also an extensive bus network, most notably the 24, 134 and C2. These transport links make for an easy commute into central London (it’s only a couple of stops to King’s Cross), so Camden is understandably popular with commuters.

Things to Do in Camden

One thing we can guarantee about Camden Town is that you won’t be short of fun activities, some a little wackier than others. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Canal Cruises – the route along the Regent’s Canal is a beautiful one, especially in summertime during peak tourism. The canal cruises are perfect for family or romantic days out, with a one way trip taking just under an hour.
  • Oddballsthis fantastic store is probably the most colourful you’ll come across (it’s difficult to even pick out our bright blue B!). They specialise in a wide variety of juggling equipment, but also stock unicycles, yoyos and skateboards to name a few. Perfect if you’re looking to take up a new hobby or even rediscovering an old one (did someone say purple rollerblades??)
  • Cyberdog – it would be pretty difficult to miss the gigantic robots positioned in front of Cyberdog. Although that being said, something like this barely looks out of place in Camden. Cyberdog is certainly a very niche store, centring around rave culture clothing and accessories – and it has gained a large following not only in London but also clubbing capital Ibiza.

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The Bit You Were Waiting For: Camden’s Markets

Camden is one of the best places to live in London for markets – if not outright the best. The markets in Camden welcome not only people from all around London, but also nation- and worldwide.

There’s something for everyone here, and even if you’re not after a bargain – the hubbub around these markets provides for a great atmosphere and the chance to meet like-minded people. The markets are all in close proximity, the most famous ones being: The Camden Market, Camden Lock Market and Stables Market.

There’s a huge array of items sold at these markets, and much of this is in line with the alternative feel of the area as whole. You’d be hard pressed to find such a myriad of thrift stores, antiques and jewellery stands elsewhere in London. Alalamba (Stables Market) is a gloriously colourful store specialising in Turkish lamps and mosaic plates – perfect gifts to give or even keep in your own home to add some brightness. Another of our favourites is King’s prints, which offers a large collection of books and fine bone china.

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Nightlife and Food In and Around Camden

There is plenty of street food to be had in and among the market stalls, drawing on a massive range of cultures. But that’s not it. You’ll also find some great restaurants close at hand:

  • Shaka Zulu – a South-African-themed restaurant by day and a bustling bar by night – in what other London club would you find not just escalators but also traditional South African dress?
  • For the best in new music, KOKO and the Electric Ballroom are our top recommendations, especially on the weekends, with very reasonable pricing. The music scene in the area has seen a constant rise and was where the late Amy Winehouse resided during the peak of her career.
  • The World’s End pub – this massive drinking hole was inspiration for the film with the same name – it’s where Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright used to socialise during the ‘Spaced’ days. Alongside its already loyal customer base, The World’s End has of late helped boost visitor numbers.

Our favourite quaint little tea shop, Yumchaa, serves up a humongous list of tea flavours to try, including Soho Spice, Chilli Chilli Bang Bang and Gentle Giant. Poppies has become a Camden Town favourite – once named the Best Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant in the UK! Not only is the food exceptional, but the restaurant is 1940s themed, with a fully functional vintage jukebox! Free live music takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings too, what more could you need?

Moving to Camden

Living in Camden Town is characterised more by flats than by houses. To rent an average-sized flat would cost you just over £600 per week, which isn’t too steep as North London goes. To buy a flat, on the other hand, would cost you around £770,000 at present. The area has recently seen a lot of long-term investment in property as it continues to be a hotspot for tourism and short-term tenancies, so prices are creeping up.

Schools in Camden

Education in Camden is of an exceptionally high standard. This is one of the main factors attracting families into and around the area. As of 2012, Camden’s Education Authority was recorded as OFSTED’s best quality Primary Schooling district in the country. Some of the notable schools include Cavendish School, Primrose Hill and Hawley.

Secondary schooling in Camden has also become nationally recognised in the last two decades as a benchmark for schools in the capital. The Camden School for Girls, Regent High School and Haverstock School are some of the best known. The Open University’s regional centre is based just off the High Street and is often the best point of call for services regarding the university.

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