Chilling in Camden

A quick aside about the U.K., a country I like quite a lot.

The juxtaposition of the original British place names versus their American equivalents fascinates me.

Camden was the hometown of my former boss, Senator David Pryor, down in South Arkansas and it bears absolutely no resemblance to the Camden in London, though I wonder if there would have been any parallels back when Camden, Arkansas was originally established.

Greenwich Village in NYC and Greenwich, south of the Thames River in London and home to Greenwich Mean Time is yet another famous linkage. Chelsea in London, now perhaps most famous for the crap “reality” TV show Made in Chelsea versus its less famous cousin outside Boston, the smallest town in Massachusetts in land size. And so on and so forth.

In any case, Camden is a neighborhood in London that is well worth a wander. Its most famous recent resident was Amy Winehouse and after walking around there a few times, I have little doubt she would fit right now.

Camden is quirky, interesting, and odd. And I like it.

camden lock bridge

Before establishing its modern identity as a center of entertainment, music, shopping and markets, Camden was an important location during the early development of the railways and the London canal network.

camden locks in winter snow

Today it is mostly known for its markets, but its various denizens are worth observing also. Both times I have been here have been during the winter and too cold for sitting outside at a cafe and people watching…

But I will be back in warmer times. With a cigar. And a beer.

guy with mohawk in camden town

My very good friend, Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic, wrote a post about the apartment we split in Camden a few months ago and claimed that the Camden Market draws a half million visitors a year and is the 4th most popular tourist attraction in London.

I have no reason to doubt her, but that doesn’t seem possible, does it?

camden market wide-1

Staying with Wimdu

While I was there for the WTM travel conference and  the apartment rental company Wimdu put us up in a really nice London apartment for about a week. It was exactly what I needed for that frantic week of meetings, events, and running around town.

work area wimdu apartment-1
my work area

It was a two-story, two-bedroom place right on one of the main streets and not far from two train stops. One of the best features of staying in an apartment is the ability to just spread out your stuff and not worry about anyone taking anything or you losing stuff. And being able to plug things into the wall and recharge them and leave them out is right in line with that also.

Plus, a kitchen. I need to get back to doing some cooking, not just for my wallet, but for my sanity. I miss cooking.

16 thoughts on “Chilling in Camden

  1. I don’t think Ayngelina was wrong in her numbers – the market area gets so crowded, that on Sunday afternoon, the tube station is closed! The only time the markets are virtually deserted is in the mornings. But even during weekdays it gets busy.

    In the summer, it’s particularly lovely, especially right before sunset. People gather around the canal, sit, talk, enjoy a pint. There’s often music in the background.

    It’s quite a magical moment if you ask me. Writing about it has got me all giddy on the inside! 🙂

  2. The stats on Camden market as a tourist attraction seem to vary. Wikipedia claims 100,000 people a weekend which means around 5.2 million a year. Placing it 3rd in the top free London attractions. I don’t have top tourist attraction 2012 stats but I do have them for 2011. These come straight from the VisitEngland tourist board website.

    Top 4 for free tourist attractions are

    1- British Museum – 5.8m
    2 – National Gallery – 5.3m
    3 – Natural History Museum – 4.9m
    4 – Tate Modern – 4.8m

    Ayngelina’s stat of 500,000 tourists a year would put it about 17th in the top free attractions.

    Also I’m not entirely sure that a market is a tourist attraction. Sure it attracts people to Camden for some cheap shopping but you’d need to include all London markets and at least famous shops as well if you were to include it. I imagine a lot of the people that go to the market are locals too.

    Either way its an impressive number of visitors per year. Nice photos mate. Hope we get to catch up over a beer soon!

    1. Thanks for all the info. There were a ton of people there… and the weather was pretty bad. Imagining the summer there might be really packed.

  3. I’ll be exploring Europe after I finish my 3 months backpacking southeast asia. Looks like I’ll have to check out Camden in the UK 🙂 Thanks for the share and info. Be well. And namaste.

    1. If you are doing Europe for 3 months after SE Asia… get ready for sticker shock!

    1. I actually want to hit some of the Garden State away from the NYC area. I hear parts of are, in fact, gardenlike 😉

    1. I am looking forward to some food market time… when it is warmer.

  4. Camden is definitely a cool place; I end up there quite often, but yes it does have a lot of tourists!

  5. Try comparing the English city to Camden, NJ, one of the most dangerous places in the western hemisphere! 🙂 Great article, Michael.

  6. Always good value for a day out, especially in the summer. Went out with some mates a few years back and two of them decided it would be a good idea to jump into Camden lock. They thought it was a good idea at the time – not something I’d do that’s for sure god knows what’s in there!

  7. I also marvel at the naming of places in the UK and my homeland of Australia. I was outside London the other day on a train going through Beaconsfield which they pronounce as ‘Beconsfield’ but our suburb outside Melbourne is Beaconsfield. Always catches me by surprise. And also whether the places really did look like their namesakes from centuries ago. And let me tell you, no need to be in Camden for your pint this week – it’s freeezing!!

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