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Camden Town (London)

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Camden Town is a place in the London Borough of Camden, England. It is also sometimes simply known as Camden although this should not be confused with the borough. Camden town is an inner-city district located 2.3 miles (3.7 km) north north-west of Charing Cross, famous for its crowded market and as a centre for alternative lifestyles.

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      25.06.2009 21:07
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      An excellent day out for any visitor wanting something a little different.

      If the 'alternative' lifestyle is what you're after, you won't get any better than the world famous Camden Town. This has been a centre for Punks, Goths, Cybergoths, Emos and Indies since such genres arose, starting with the Darkwave shop (catering for the Goth community) on Chalk Farm Road.

      Camden has faded somewhat in recent years, when I used to (frequently) bunk off from Maths lessons to visit it was less commercial in the sense that the shops and stalls were more hotch-potch and there were fewer high street names. It has lost a lot of the aura of being somewhere special, being somewhere different because of it. There were also considerably less Indie Kids back in t'Good Old Days; they now dominate the area haunting various pubs, clubs and venues such as Koko's and the Oh! Bar.

      The newly re-developed Stables has lost all of its charm, the new mall building designs have attempted to be different, but instead look cheesy. The Horse Hospital is a prime example - originally built to tend injured and down-trodden barge horses, now large statues of rearing stallions camply adorn everything like a tasteless brothel keeper's mansion. The food is good and not too-badly priced, there are various international cuisines to excite your tastebuds, from Thai to Indian, Italian to Morrocan. The clothing shops are well worth a look too.

      Worth visiting is the famous Cyberdog (in the Stables Market Yard), an establishment I worked in for a good 4 hours of my life. The music is deafening, the atmosphere like a spaceship and the staff are helpful. The clothing however is terribly overpriced and not of the highest quality, but the range is huge, looks fabulous and if you're a Cybergoth you don't have a great deal of choice elsewhere.

      The Canalside Market has re-opened. It was burnt to the ground in the famous fire which also claimed the Hawley Arms, a haunt of celebrities such as Amy Winehouse, all of which are now open for business. Although the market seems still in its infancy (the stalls arent that good), a nice touch is the seats made out of sawn in half Vespa Scooters, overlooking the Camden Lock.

      If you're looking for a pub, I usually go for the 'Dev', now called The Hobgoblin. Again, it has lost much of its charm as an exclusively Goth pub, but the people are usually friendly and the live music and DJing tends to be decent.

      Camden is well worth the visit, especially from a photographers perspective as there is always something interesting to snap. If you want pictures of the punks though, they often ask for money (those cans of K cider have to be paid for somehow), however a zoom lens can be helpful in such regards. Most people will be happy to let you take a photograph if you ask nicely and don't act like a pervert.

      Camden Town is one of London's biggest tourist attractions and its markets, shops, pubs, bars and restaurants are well worth the visit if you have the time. Its located on the Northern Line of the tube where the Bank and Charing Cross branches meet and is one of the North London bus and Night bus hubs being served by many routes.

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        03.06.2009 14:02
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        Though saturated in tackiness, the area still has a cool vibe going on

        Well I remember around the turn of the 1990s being allowed by my parents to accompany my (much) older brother to Camden Town. I was just a bright eyed eight year old and from what I had heard from both my siblings and any media influence my child's brain absorbed, was that Camden was the place to be.

        When we got there, on that sunny Sunday morning nearly 20 years ago I remember all my senses being bombarded with the joy that Camden Town brought with it. The gangs of punks, goths, mods and allsorts, though slightly terrifying, were a world away from suburban life. The hustle and bustle of the streets and markets gave the area a carnival like feel, and vendors sold exciting goods ranging from juggling balls to bootlegged cassettes of bands I'd never heard of, to what seemed like funky (and mildly rude) t-shirts. Even the simplicities of food became a vivid experience, with cuisines relatively heard of back then (felafel, whatever that was back then!) wafting their aromas amidst another strange, slightly tobacco-ey aroma.

        Throughout the 1990s, as I entered my teenage years Camden was still the most exciting place in London. I would frequent the area with friends at weekends, originally during the day and then as I got older at night. I stopped going by the millenium but have recently frequented the area as I have moved back to London, not far from Camden.

        The general term Camden Town implies the High Street from Camden tube station up to Chalk Farm Tube with the side streets and market areas off it, though the area does also stretch down to Mornington Crescent tube too.

        SHOPPING:

        There are several major markets (varying opening days but all are open at the weekend) selling allsorts of goods, though generally these days of mass-consumerism and the internet, not a lot you couldn't get elsewhere. There are a myriad of clothing stools, however, that will cater for any youth culture you could imagine and more. There are many craft stools too, selling homemade products such as printed cultural t-shirts, bags made out of bits of rubbish, etc. The High St area, however, does seem to be becoming condensed with generic shops offering the same chinese made s**t, you know the sort of stuff. They offer mass appealed variations on hippy goods and stuff that was cool in the 80s: i.e. drug paraphenalia, fashion (mass produced and cheaply made), touristy gimmicks, herbal highs (we'll come onto that in a second) and sunglasses/hats etc. Theres also plenty of places offering tatoos and piercings, some better than others

        DRINKING/NIGHTLIFE/MUSIC:

        Always a hangout for the many youth cultures of the past, Camden now caters for all and more. The Electric Ballroom is famous though there are a lot more clubs hidden about the place. More so, there are pubs galore, ranging from the standard chain pubs (Lloyds on the Lock - avoid as it's charcacterless) to small cosy pubs, to those drinking venues offering cheap(ish) beer and vomit on the floors. More famously, however, is Camden's penchant for live music which fills even the less obvious pubs. However, I would like to point out the Dublin Castle up the road where the cinema is which has a great small backroom for intimate gigs and new bands. Then of course there are 'real' venues. The Camden Palais and the new Roundhouse allow international stars to play in reasonably intimate venues which, in my opinion, has allowed Camden to retain its 'cool' 'hip' vibe. Also Amy Winehouse's recentish sojourns out in Camden has allowed Camden to become slightly notorious yet trendy once more...

        DANGERS

        Yes, talking about Amy Winehouse leads me on to dangers and firstly DRUGS! The place has always served up drugs, being the centre of the couterculture for 30 years or so. Marijuana smoke pours over the market and high street relatively freely, though be wary of the large number of dealers who loiter around acting suspiciously especially around the lock. The shops all sell legal substances and before the loophole on magic mushrooms was closed you could hardly move from funghi vending people.

        Rubbish - the streets can become very dirty and highly unappealing.

        Crowds - less of a danger, more of a discomfort, especially around the tube station at the weekends. Still watch out for pickpockets etc. Also avoid drunken places as fights occur as regularly as any other UK street of drinking establishments.

        FOOD:

        Loads of food, yet a lot of low quality at high prices. The market has a lot of organic type homemade fare which is really good but is also littered with bad chinese joints etc. Restaurant wise, there are a load hidden mainly off the main street. Lots of late night grub available too but generally the ubiquitous dogmeat kebab, though go to Marathon's for good food and great entertainment (only Kebab shop I know that has variety going on including occasionally some very famous guests spontaneously)

        TRANSPORT:

        Served weel by several Northern line tube stations (Camden, Chalk Farm, Mornington Crescent). Overground by Camden Road. Lots of buses. However, avoid driving around here especially during the weekend as it's a huge headache of traffic and 1 way systems.

        OVERALL:

        I still have a soft spot for Camden though the level of consumerism annoys me greatly. Too much bad food, goods and establishments have flooded the area yet still it is a far more interesting place than 60% of London and 90% of England. If you know what and where to go in Camden, this place is great. Otherwise you can too easily fall into touristy/tacky/dodgy situations

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          21.04.2009 19:31
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          Great place for shopping and seeing whats on offer

          Camden Town is very well-known and famous for its markets, wide variety of products and lively atmosphere.

          I absolutely love Camden Town and love to go there on a sunny afternoon and have a look at what they have on offer... The markets offer loads of great stuff and you can buy pretty much anything from clothes, equipment, tools, household appliances, second hand goods, and you name it, they most probably got it!
          There are also many restaurants and pubs in the area, which you can relax and chill out at. In the main shopping area, it can become very compact and crowded at times (especially on the weekend), and every shop has its own unique range of products. Camden Town is very popular for its nightlife and "punks".

          Apartfrom the shopping experience, there are also many chinese outlets selling noodles and other food. These are great if you want to just grab a quick bite to eat and then continue looking around, and trust me, they are not at all that expensive!

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          27.11.2008 23:26
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          Cool area

          Camden Town is a fascinating place to visit especially on a Sunday when the famous market is in full swing. Located in the north London borough by the same nameCamden Town itself consists of one fairly long high street with the tube station located at the main cross roads. The tube station is on the Northern Line and is only a couple of stops away from Kings Cross.

          Camden has a great bohemian quality about it and while the market does provide a bit of a touristy feel to it at times the area is also ome to some great venues to see a range of music from Jazz to punk and it has a lively bar scene as well.

          It can also be a bit seedy as well with drug dealers hanging out by the tube and it seems to have a fairly high level of homeless people on the streets as well.

          The market is excellent and is made up of a sprawling mixture of stalls and shops all around the canal area that passes through the borough, as well as fashion clothes and acccessories there are a huge array of eating places and you can eat food from all corners of the globe.

          I love the buzz of Camden plus the fact that there is a lot of live music going on, I once bumped into Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh in Camden as well and a bloke rom the Blur whose name I forget, oh and Jarvis Cocker as well. What a name dropper I am.

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            03.01.2008 03:02
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            Twilight Zone but in a good way

            Camden Town is an unusual and odd area of London, located in the middle of two neighbouring rich areas St Johns Wood and Primrose Hill, both areas only ten minutes away from Camden. So really it's a bit of a misfit location wise as Camden Town has nothing posh about it, it's more of a shabby and bit of a run down place. This area hasn't changed in years and although dirty looking it still continues to attract thousands of people as well as tourists from all over who want to visit this grey bleak place they call Camden Town.

            I am always visiting the twilight zone, that's what I call this place it's so different and unique when compared to many places in London. When walking down Camden High Street and Camden Lock it feels like I am in another place/era and in this area always expect the unexpected. This place is strange and weird but in a good way, the people don't care what they wear and how they look and you will soon feel that it is you who is the odd looking one with wearing 501 Levi jeans and Ben Sherman shirt and not them with their hundred piercings and trillion tattoos not to mention the Gothic look. There are some strange fashion trends that can be found in Camden Town and that's what makes this place so appealing.

            Designer cloths have no chance of selling in this area as this is not what the people want unless it Timberland or Caterpillar stuff. The clothing items in Camden Town market and Camden Lock is normally second hand cloths or weird and unusual clothing that you either like or don't. There is a lot of leather stuff and unusual looking shoes that you need to be quite brave to wear. It gets very busy, and crowds of people are everywhere especially on Sundays. There are also lots of pubs and good restaurants and the nightlife and clubs in Camden are vibrant and buzzing. A good place to visit if you want to experience something different, the shops the people and ambiance of the place will get you hooked and you will return for more.

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              28.05.2002 20:54
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              Right, now the attempt at a Cockney-style intro is over and done with we'll bash on shall we...? Camden Town, North West one. Home of trendyness, drunken Scotsmen (don't take offence if you are Scottish - just seems to be nothing but Jocks down there) and the best steak sarnies in North London. How to get there. ----------------- Depending on what you think of as Camden Town there are various ways of getting yourself there - Camden Town (as I see it) runs from Camden Lock (easiest tube station - Chalk Farm, Northern Line), via the market (Camden Town station, Northern line) and along the High Street to Mornington Crescent (tube station of the same name - you guessed it, Northern Line). By Bus - If you don't know the area, don't bother, way too many go through on their way to all sorts of different places but as a rough guide - the 253 will take you from Euston to Camden in about 10 minutes and the 29 will take you all the way from Trafalgar Square to Camden in about 45 but the tube is regular, not half as confusing and much quicker. Driving. Follow the signs for Camden from wherever you are (sorry - there's loads of them and if you can find Kings Cross or Euston you're practically there). Attractions: ------------ This is why we read the ops isn't it? To find a good day out for the family and to see what to expect when we get there. Here goes then: The Market - or is it..... -------------------------- Talking about Camden, most people automatically say "Oh, the market - I've been there" but have they really? You see there is no such thing as Camden Market as a single entity. We've actually got a grand total of 5 to choose from: CAMDEN STABLES MARKET --------------------- This is the one at the Chalk Farm end of Camden Town, lots of clothing on sale, a fair bit of the unusual (for some at least) stuff
              - Goth wear, piercing shops, international food (if you count a Chinese meal truck international). You'll get a decent deal and have some tasty grub. Worth a look if you're around. 7 day opening. CAMDEN LOCK MARKET ------------------- Slightly posher bit - close to the lock (obviously) and with a lot of the antique style stalls - you'll see some of the hair-braiding and "Your name on a piece of rice" stalls but this is the more upmarket, ahem...markets in Camden. 7 day opening. CAMDEN CANAL MARKET ------------------- Welcome to the other end of the scale and my particular favourite. The canal market is the home of the novelty cigarette lighter, the non-tourist board approved souvenirs, the belt buckle makers and the (insert name of heavy metal band here) T-Shirts of all sizes. Cheap cafes (pronounced "Kaff") and the fun place to be if you are looking for bargains in Camden. Open Fri/Sat/Sunday only I'm afraid. CAMDEN (BUCK ST.) MARKET ------------------------ OK, maybe I was a little untruthful, the Buck Street Market has a huge sign above it saying Camden Market and I suppose it is what is thought of when Camden Town is mentioned. I hate this one. Doc Martin boots - overpriced. Army Surplus gear - overpriced. All sorts of clothing to suit any particular fetishist - overpriced. There's no room to move between the stalls, there's nothing but hassle from the stall-holders and, by the time you've had 5 elbows thrust into your chest, you'll be sick and tired of the whole place if you are anything like me. 7 day opening - not that I bother mind. INVERNESS STREET MARKET ----------------------- Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap - that's the Inverness Street way: Flowers - £1 yer bunch o' roses. "Replica" football shirts and
              scarves - get 'em while they're 'ot, they're luvverly. Fruit and veg - not a lot wrong with that, cheap and usually very good. Then the usual mix of slightly dirty calendars (you get Sandra Bullock's nipple in April...), gas lighters - 10 for a pound and all the usual bric-a-brac. Not bad but only really worth a look if you're passing, I wouldn't bother making a special trip for this one. So, there you have it, the markets covered, what else is there? Camden Cantina et al!: ---------------------- Camden Cantina is the best Mexican restaurant in the whole of London (in my humble...). Great prices, great food and blinding service every time I've been. At the Chalk Farm end, heading towards the lock if you fancy it - just look out for the Esso Garage and you can't miss it. There is every kind of food and drink available there, Greek, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, French, Italian - if you look hard enough you'll find an English restaurant but you'd probably find the food a bit bland. I like to eat out in Camden Town, the choice is endless and, with this in mind, competition leads to a nice lowering of prices. Shopping (Other than on the Markets): ------------------------------------- Camden has a huge range of shops to chose from, with everything from Woolworth's and Tower Records on the High Street to the independent shoe shops, tattoo shops and shops for those who seem to like big rubber spikes on their backpacks and the death of a big orange mammoth for their coats. If you can't get it from Camden Town, you probably can't get it at all. Pubs: ----- Not something I'm really very knowledgeable on I'm sure you'll be surprised to hear. There's a few along here - the Moon Over Water (Weatherspoons), the Fusilier and Firkin (Firkin) and the Halfway house (God
              alone knows) are the only ones I've ever been in, none made much of an impression although I did notice that the Firkin has live acts on now and again. Non-threatening is always a plus and these pubs, despite your being served by a seven-foot Australian with a bone through his nose and 75% tattoo coverage and surrounded by similar, fit the bill. On the whole a placid bounce, I've not seen any trouble and would not be averse to going down for a pint again! Not really a strong recommendation but it's as close as I can manage. Overall: -------- Camden is one of those places that seems to attract the "Alternative" types, you'll see it all in the streets of Camden Town and you'll be bound to be shocked if you have not become accustomed to pink hair, multiple facial piercings, drunks (at around 7am and throughout - mainly Scottish, with a bedraggled looking Jack Russell) and 8-9 inch platform, crepe style shoes with leggings, mini skirt and multi-coloured, very baggy jumper under a green-tinted plastic mac (and they dare tell me to smarten my act up ;)) It's a great place to go, in the summer you get the markets in full force, the pubs spill over onto the pavements and you can both eat and drink al fresco. If you do go down to Camden Town, have a great day out, you'll see a lot of strangeness and you'll have a lot of fun if you take it all with the proverbial pinch of salt. Steak sandwich shop - turn right out of Camden Town tube and it's just past the billboard, you'll thank me later. Cheers for reading. Boon :)

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                08.10.2000 04:22
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                North London especially Camden Town, a place where you can have a good night out whatever you like to do. Camden seems full of pubs and clubs, and yes there are. There of course too many to name, but one thing for sure you will always have fun in Camden whether it's for a quick drink and a meal or a good night clubbing. If you're there for a quit night out, try the Pizza place on the Parkway, excellent Pizza's and a good bottle of wine. Into Jazz try the jazz cafe for a great night of modern and classic jazz, along with a good drink at reasonable prices. Night Clubbing, what hasn't Camden to offer? The Underworld, the WDK club, all late nights and with a group of mates a good time. Even along the canal there's some 'interesting' pubs to pay a visit to. Make a date and pop to Camden a fun day and night for all to have!!!!!!11

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                  03.09.2000 22:30
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                  Camden, or rather Camden Town (to distinguish this area from the whole borough!), is most famous for the markets which cover whole swathes of Chalk Farm Rd, from Camden Tube Station, past the Lock to the Stables Market. The markets each have their own particular characteristics and specialities and are open at different times during the week, some, such as the lock and stables markets are open all week, but the Electric Ballroom market and the Canal Markets are only open at the weekend. As for the district itself, Camden town stretches roughly from Mornington Crescent Underground Station, now, happily restored, to Chalk Farm station, and up to the edges of Regent's Park and the zoo. Quite a trendy spot, with not many of the snobbish overtones, there are many good eateries, pubs and venues in the vicinity. Up Chalk Farm road or just off it, there are a number of restaurants, from Wagamama's (cheapish Japanese noodle bar), Belgo Noord (more expensive Belgian restaurant, mussels from brussels and chips with mayonnaise!) but also Silk and Spice which is a nice little Indonesian Restaurant and the increasingly ubiquitous Nando's, as well as a large Safeway if you just want a sandwich! There are a number of good clubs, like the Camden Palace, up by Mornington Crescent, or the Electric Ballroom on Chalk Farm Rd, and the Jazz Cafe, which has live jazz, but also doubles up as a club with a slightly older, less.. energetic clientele! (good for late-20s to late 30s crowd if they don't fancy somewhere filled by stoned 18 year olds!). As for pubs, there are some with live music, such as The Monarch, the Fusilier and Firkin, opposite the Lock Market, as well as the famous Black Cap, a gay pub with a drag show at the weekends. Further down the high street, towards Mornington Crescent, there are more 'regular' shops, a woolies and high street-style shops and a lot of charity shops that usually have some
                  interesting stuff in them, and as most people just head towards the market, they can be worth looking around if you want a bit of space! Camden is one of the more vibrant spots in London, and has a bit of a buzz to it, but try not to let the 'trendy' label put you off, it's easy to find far less intimidating/cheaper places to go out than if you go into the centre, and though it is still quite touristy, it isn't as expensive.. generally... but try to stay away from the dodgy pizzas they sell on the streets, they really are highly unpleasant.

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