Camden – What To See And Do During Your First Visit

Camden - What To See And Do During Your First Visit

London is one of the largest cities in Europe, consisting of 1500 square kilometres and 32 unique and distinctive boroughs. London’s boroughs are often thought of as different villages, all blending together into the multifaceted collage that is the city. For guests of budget accommodation in London visiting for the first time, it can be difficult to get a full idea of the character of the city as a whole. It’s for this reason why it’s important to focus on the different areas during your stay.

Camden is one of the most popular areas for tourists in London. As both a borough and an area within the borough, Camden consists of 21 square kilometres of London’s Zone 1 and 2 and has a lot of contemporary and earlier history to go along with it, making it an especially popular destination for guests of the Park Grand London Lancaster Gate. The area is also a major market district and entertainment hub, having spawned major music subgenres and fashion trends that are synonymous with London’s very identity. With major tourist attractions, green spaces and an historic canal running through it, Camden is a must-visit for walkers, nature lovers and cultural connoisseurs. 

Below, guests of hotels in Lancaster Gate UK can find some of the best activities, landmarks and days out in the borough of Camden. From music and theatre to shopping and dining, these are the best introductions to Camden for tourists.

Geography Of Camden

Camden, a northern inner city borough of London, was formed in 1965 as a borough that merged St Pancras, Hampstead and Holborn, creating a larger area of ancient parishes. Through the middle of the borough runs Regent’s Canal, whilst parts of Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill can also be found on the border of the borough. It’s from the latter that you can find an incredible view of London’s centre, which should orient your understanding of the boroughs placement within the city.

A Brief History Of Camden

The name Camden was originally taken from the seat of Charles Pratt, 1st Earl of Camden, the man who owned and developed the area in the late 18th century. The area was urbanised during the industrial revolution of the 19th century, when the nearby railways transported goods to the warehouses of the area, demanding more workers to move to the district. 

Once the manor of Kentish Town, the tube station of which is close to Camden Town, Camden was an undesirable place to live up until the 1970s, when its image was drastically altered by the emergence of Camden Market and the punk movement. Many of the venues associated with the punk movement and notably the band The Clash were located in the Camden area, leading to its enduring association with London’s music scene.

Tourist Attractions In Camden

As we mentioned, the late 20th century growth of Camden into a prime tourist destination has led to the emergence and rediscovery of one of a kind tourist destinations and entertainment spots. Here are some of the top picks. 

London Zoo

The world’s oldest scientific zoo, the Zoological Society of London – or ZSL – was founded in 1826 and has since grown to a whopping 36 acres of reptile houses, exotic animal enclosures and more. Attracting more than 1.25 million visitors a year, this Regent’s Park bounded zoo is one of the most famous in the world.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

This Camden Borough museum is situated in the central district of Holborn, and was once the home of neo-classical architect John Soane who was responsible for designing the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. His museum, restored to its former glory, takes visitors through the life of the esteemed architect with preserved artefacts and works.

British Library

British Library

Located on the border of Camden Borough, the British Library is a King’s Cross study centre and exhibition space that holds the largest number of books in the world at 14 million separate items. The library is also host to exhibitions and talks on history, art and culture and guests of London accommodation offers can easily reach it by foot from Kings Cross Station.

Camden Market

Now moving on to Camden Town, the famous market is located on and around Regent’s Canal and is home to a diverse range of vintage stalls, specialty vendors and street food stalls. With bars, restaurants and even the music venue Dingwall, famous for its punk and alternative acts.

Jewish Museum

Founded in 1932 at its original Bloomsbury location, this museum explores Jewish heritage and its links to London and moved to Camden in the mid-90s. With Camden and North London’s history of Jewish settlement, the museum is designed to encourage people of all faiths to learn about Judaism, and aims to abolish and challenge anti-semitism through understanding and education.

Entertainment In Camden

As mentioned above, Camden is well known for its stunning array of music venues. Below are three of the most famous.

The Roundhouse

The Camden Roundhouse doubles up as a cinema and live performance space as well as its main identity as a music venue. With many famous bands and musicians having played in the 3300 capacity  auditorium, it also hosts the BBC Electric Proms and the iTunes Music Festival every year. Originally built as a turntable engine shed in the 1830s, the historic building reflects the depths and dynamism of Camden culture.


Originally known as the Music Machine and as the Camden Theatre more than a hundred years ago, this Camden High Street theatre and cinema turned music venue has hosted the likes of The Rolling stones, Iron Maiden and The Jam in its long history of rock and roll legend. 

Camden Jazz Cafe

Opened in a former Barclays Bank in 1990, the Camden Jazz Cafe programmes jazz, hip hop, alternative and electronica in a 450 seater venue across 2 floors. The beautiful venue is a popular booking slot for both larger acts looking for a more intimate venue as well as for more local and up and coming performers as well. In the past, the Jazz Cafe has programmed the likes of Jamiroquai, local legend Amy Winehouse and Adele.