72 hours in Camden
Over the past couple of decades, Camden’s vibrance has shifted. While iconic music venues remain, the cornucopia of resident subcultures has faded, making way for artistic and anthropological initiatives. It’s much-loved rough pattina continues to be replaced by a wave of cosy cafes and a restaurant scene that has gradually begun to thrive.
Read on for our favourite places to visit in this bustling, ever-regenerating borough of North West London.
Get off to a good start with a strong coffee, courtesy of The Coffee Jar. The interior of this intimate cafe is all heavy wooden shelves, white walls and chalkboard smiley faces — and the coffee is pretty great too. The house beans of choice are Monmouth and the resident baristas are known for their meticulous work. The counter is crowded with tantalizing baked goods, from pastries to cakes to generously-stuffed sandwiches. It’s no wonder this place is frequented by a stream of loyal locals.
Browse an extensive eyewear archive
Whether you’re in the market for new glasses or not, we highly recommend paying a visit to General Eyewear. Their impressive archive of vintage frames dates all the way back to the 1800s. They also offer a unique bespoke service, so you can design the frames of your dreams which will be lovingly made in the in-house studio. The store itself is worth visiting for its beautiful fixtures and fittings alone — a reassuring mark of great design taste.
Lunch like a veggie in the know
Since the opening of its original Soho branch in 1988, Mildreds has become a vegetarian institution, thanks to its modestly-priced, utterly delicious dishes. The Camden branch is bright and airy, and features cosy burgundy booths, perfect for a long, lingering lunch. The menu offers up an array of international, universally-tasty starters, mains, burgers and desserts. Our personal recommendations are (at least one) helping of the hummus followed by the Sri Lankan sweet potato curry. Vegans should absolutely try the teriyaki chick'n burger. The flavour and texture of the chick'n is uncanny.
Cheese lovers, rejoice!
Hardcore cheese fans shouldn’t visit Camden without stopping by The Cheese Bar. As the name suggests, this venue is quite literally a bar, where cheese is served. But really, really great cheese, sourced only from UK-based farms and urban cheesemakers. The menu offers inventive small plates such as cheese puffs (essentially cheesy profiteroles), decadent sharing plates — the Coolea & Kingham fondue is top of our list — and legendary grilled sandwiches. Be sure to book your place at the bar in advance, to avoid disappointment.
Enjoy live music at a Camden institution
Since opening its doors in the ‘90s, The Jazz Cafe has garnered an iconic reputation as one of London’s best-loved live music venues. From Amy Winehouse to Roy Ayers, countless respected musicians and songwriters have performed at this intimate establishment. The current roster is diverse, promising everything from Afrobeat to Soul club nights, which recur every Saturday. If you’re in town for a few days, we highly recommend booking tickets for whatever’s on — it’s always a fun night.