ALTERNATIVE LONDON: CAMDEN TOWN|GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2017.11.27
No doubt about it: Camden Town is one of the most vibrant and interesting places in London.
Camden Town, although it’s called ‘town’, is only a London neighbourhood and it’s not particularly big but it has a huge personality.
It is easy to reach, thanks to the homonymous tube station which takes you right into the heart of the area. Coming out of the tube station, you find yourself right on the busy Camden High Street which is perhaps the busiest street I have seen in the city, both during the day and at night!
It’s impossible not to immediately perceive the lively atmosphere of the place when you are surrounded by quirky shops, noisy pubs and ethnic restaurants of all kinds.
It’s really worth it to spend hours in this area, if not entire days!
If it is very common to associate London with fashion freedom and boldness it is thanks to the trends that over the decades came out of this area.
After all, isn’t London an alternative city?
Camden Town is undoubtedly the most alternative district in England.

This is the neighbourhood where the young singer Amy Winehouse lived and passed away. And this is the neighbourhood where art galleries open up their doors next to piercing shops and African hair-braiding salons.
The market streets’ stalls are usually open from Tuesday to Sunday, from morning to evening, but, since I came here many times, I noticed that many of the stalls do not display all their goods if not on the weekend when the famous market takes place.
The official Camden Market is held here every weekend, both on Saturday and Sunday, and it is nice to visit it but you must allow a few hours to navigate its stalls and buy something you never knew you wanted because you didn’t know it existed!
It will take you a few hours to overcome the overwhelming offer and find your way around and a visit is not complete without trying a dish from one of the cuisines from around the world found here.
I love the extravaganza of Camden town, its colours and the character of those who wander along its streets.
In Camden you will find many sub-cultures, from the Punks to the Gothics and anything in between.
In the ‘70s it became the centre of the Punk movement and their colourful spiky hairstyles and since then it has become one of the most visited places of the English capital.
Today students and tourists throng the streets of Camden town to find articles of all kinds.
Camden Town is also an ideal place for those who want to get a tattoo or a piercing and, thanks to the number of tattoo and piercing parlours found here, the prices are lower than anywhere else.
Camden Town has a much more eccentric ‘fauna’ of any other district in London and the atmosphere is crazy and unique.
Camden Market is a huge market in northern London and one of the most famous markets in the world. Its hundreds of colourful stalls enliven the streets of Camden Town since 1970, making the market a real labyrinth.
The history of Camden Town is very old and this village originally founded on the river banks of the Camden Lock stream was a crossroads for trade and transport of goods on the river Thames. In 1820 a network of sluices was designed and then implemented and it’s still visible today.
The first shops and pubs which opened in the area favoured an economic boost and the neighbourhood quickly became popular and highly populated.
For many, (especially students and young people), Camden Town is the true spirit of London, far from the snobby royal palaces and the luxurious department stores. Camden Town is a multicultural melting pot of races and styles and a point of reference for those who want to get to know the alternative side of London and think ‘outside the box’. I particularly enjoy walking along the Camden Lock canals.
You can find products of all kinds at affordable prices including clothing, books, food, antiques and bizarre objects of various kinds. I always come here when I need to buy a present because I find one-of-a-kind gift ideas. This market is also a paradise for vintage lovers because many stalls sell high quality second hand goods. The canals remind me of Amsterdam but the odd shops are unique to London.
The stalls of ethnic foods are present in this district since the beginning of the twentieth century, although over the last few years they have multiplied and now (due to the ever growing multi-ethnicity of the city) the stalls are offering cuisines that can only be offered here or in the country of origin.
London is a true melting pot!
The Camden nightlife is animated by plenty of venues in which to listen to different live musical selections and my favourites are overlooking the Regent's Canal. With so many bars to choose from, it is often hard to find one that suits your taste but Camden is in fact a fantastic mix of ethnicities and cultures. Some bars are funky-retro and it is in these old-style pubs which it is easier to find emerging musical talents.


  • GianFranco Belloli
  • AgeMouse(NEZUMI)
  • GenderMale
  • Jobblogger/musician

I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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