The London Borough of Camden
“From the overflowing arts scene of Kentish Town to the brightly coloured fronts of antiques stalls at Camden Market, the borough is full of twinkling nooks and crannies only revealed to those who take the time to explore”
Moving to Camden
From the overflowing arts scene of Kentish Town to the brightly coloured fronts of antiques stalls at Camden Market, the borough is full of twinkling nooks and crannies only revealed to those who take the time to explore. Due to the ever-changing scene, Camden is a particular favourite with young professionals searching for an exciting area where they can live, work and socialise. However, they aren’t the only people you’ll see roaming through the area -it’s also a student-rich borough, home to the high-achieving University College London, while the good commuting links, green spaces and excellent schools bring plenty of families to the borough.
House Prices in Camden
Alongside a vibrant lifestyle, Camden offers locals a broad choice of homes, from stately Victorian terraces and smartly dressed apartments to slightly more affordable properties not far from the heart of the action. Prices here aren’t for the faint-hearted (or budget-friendly), with Camden coming in third for most expensive London boroughs as of January 2017 with an average house price of £1 million – double the London average, and over four times higher than the UK average. If you can afford it, some of the best areas to live in Camden include Primrose Hill, popular with the literati and various A-listers hiding from the paparazzi, the modern apartments surrounding Kings Cross and Granary Square, and the leafy streets of Hamstead. For those seeking something a little more affordable, Kentish Town, Chalk Farm, Finchley and Belsize Park are all recommended.
“When it comes to dining out, Camden rivals even Soho with its vast array of restaurant options”
As a central borough, Camden is extremely well connected for public transport links. The area is serviced by all underground Tube lines, as well as the Overground and various suburban train lines. Bus routes connect throughout the borough, while for national and international travel, King’s Cross Station, St Pancras Station and Euston Station are all on your doorstep. Travel to Paris takes just over two hours from St Pancras, and as a result it’s not unusual to find Camden residents who effectively commute between the two cities.
When it comes to dining out, Camden rivals even Soho with its vast array of restaurant options. Dishoom, Grain Store and Caravan on Granary Square are extremely popular with locals and visitors for weekend brunches and weeknight dinners, KERB Street Food Market pops up throughout the week at various locations in the borough provide cutting-edge international street food dishes, and Primrose Hill is a great spot for family-run restaurants such as local Greek institution Lemonia. Meanwhile, the borough is also renowned for its good selection of traditional pubs and modern gastropubs – it’s hard to go wrong with any of the boozers surrounding the Heath, while the Bull and Last in Kentish Town is famous for serving one of the finest Sunday Roasts in London.
While it may not have quite the selection of Central London and Oxford Street, Camden is well stocked with shopping opportunities. Tottenham Court Road and the small streets around the British Museum are home to an array of big brand names and up-and-coming boutiques, including Heal’s, Fitzrovia Bicycles, and Royal Mile Whiskies. Since their relatively recent transformations, Kings Cross and St Pancras now offer an increasingly good selection of boutiques, from a small Fortnum and Mason to a mini John Lewis, whilst Camden Town has most high-street favourites as well as the iconic Camden Market, with over 1000 stalls selling everything from antique furniture to tourist-friendly t-shirts. A portion of Covent Garden’s Seven Dials neighbourhood is also within the Camden boundaries, a charming selection of streets where you’ll find cool brands such as Magma, Rockit Vintage and Urban Outfitters.
There are branches of all major supermarkets in Camden, with smaller local and metro shops in the southern, Central London end of the borough and larger Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Whole Foods and Aldi superstores found in Camden Town. Primrose Hill, Tufnell Park and Kentish Town also have a strong selection of independent delicatessens and butchers shops, including the Meat NW5 butcher on Fortess Road and the well-stocked Mediterranean supermarket Phoenicia on Kentish Town Road.
Health & Sport
Camden residents are a sporty bunch, and the facilities in the borough reflect this. There are branches of major gym chains throughout the area, such as Fitness First, Soho Gyms and Pure Gym, as well as specialist studios including Barry’s Bootcamp and Triyoga. There are also various council-run leisure centres, most of which offer swimming, fitness suites and exercise classes.
For those who prefer the great outdoors, the area is also home to a number of outdoor pools and lidos, which are particularly popular during rare warm days. Hampstead Ponds is a beloved spot, while Parliament Hill Lido is nearby for those who prefer their swimming water clean and chlorinated.
As you might expect from its often fanciful exterior, Camden is home to some of the best cultural attractions in London. Highlights include the Wellcome Collection, a fantastic educational centre on Euston Road which explores links between medicine, life and art, the internationally renowned British Museum, and smaller, historic museums dedicated to important London figures such as the Foundling Museum, Freud Museum, and Charles Dickens Museum
With plenty of influential, creative residents, it’s natural that Camden also boasts a world-class selection of small theatres and venues too, such as the Roundhouse in Camden Town and the tiny Etcetera Theatre.
“Another big draw to the area for those who can afford the borough is the excellent schools – as of 2017, 100% of primary schools in the borough are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted”
Schools and Education
Another big draw to the area for those who can afford the borough is the excellent schools. As of 2017, 100% of primary schools in the borough are rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted – an impressive feat. The best primary schools in Camden include Christ Church Primary School in Hampstead, Christopher Hatton Primary School in Holborn, and Torriano Junior School in Kentish Town, all of which have over 95 per cent of pupils achieving Level 4 in core subjects.
Secondary schools are also very strong here, with Camden School for Girls, La Sainte Union Catholic Secondary School and Parliament Hill School among the best secondary schools in Camden. Independent schools South Hampstead High School, University College School and North Bridge House Senior School are also very highly rated.
In terms of higher education, Camden is spoilt for choice – it’s home to University College London (UCL), which consistently ranks as one the best universities in the world, as well as leading creative institutions such as Central St Martins and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Statistically, Camden has one of the highest crime rates among London boroughs, with 1,110 crimes reported per square km in 2013. However, this rating is largely to do with the high number of tourists visiting hotspots such as Kings Cross and Camden Town, and on the whole the residential neighbourhoods of the borough of Camden are a safe place to live in London.
From the pretty Georgian squares of Bloomsbury to the wilds of Hampstead Heath, Camden has plenty to offer when it comes to green spaces. Covering an enormous 790 acres, the ancient heath has everything you could want from a sprawling city park, including an outdoor lido, swimming ponds, a training track, and a stately home. In the centre of the borough you’ll also find Primrose Hill, which boasts some of the best views over central London and is a popular spot with locals on Bonfire Night.
Alternatively, for a more romantic setting, strolling among the formal hedgerows of Queen Mary’s Garden is the perfect way to spend a glorious sunny afternoon. From May – September, the central gardens also host the celebrated Open Air Theatre, which holds performances ranging from soul-stirring musicals to heart-warming Shakespeare.
Camden has long been known as an attractively eclectic area of London, combining both the fast-pace of central London and the leafy streets of the outer suburbs. Its history is as varied as its inhabitants, with Druids once worshipping on Primrose Hill, Boudicca fighting the Romans at Kings Cross in AD60, and more recently, the arrival of the railway during the Industrial Revolution transforming quiet parts of the borough into the vibrant spots we see today. It’s never been short of famous residents either – literary legend Charles Dickens made a home here, as did poet John Keats, both of whom now have museums dedicated to them at the edge of the borough.