Borough of Camden

Camden is arguably London's most diverse borough. It was formed in the 1963 local government reorganisation from the old metropolitan boroughs of Holborn, Camden and Hampstead; three areas more remarkable for their differences rather than their similarities.

The Holborn area lies between the City and the West End and is an integral part of central London. It contains a good proportion of the city's theatres and it shares the lively Covent Garden district with Westminster. The borough boundary with Westminster runs partly along Tottenham Court Road and Charing Cross Road, major shopping streets specialising in consumer electronics, books and music. And three of London's major rail termini - Euston, King's Cross and St Pancras - line the Euston Road.

Behind the major thoroughfares the districts of Bloomsbury, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn have a quiet and very refined air. Bloomsbury is the undisputed capital of "intellectual" London - the seat of the University of London and the British Museum. The grand facades of University College, Birkbeck College and Senate House line thoroughfares such as Malet Street and Gower Street, while a number of independent colleges, professional institutions and specialist medical facilities are also found here. The imposing green space of Russell Square is also known far and wide as the centre of London's largest and finest cluster of hotels. Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn, two of London's Inns of Court (law college precincts similar to the nearby Temple in the City of London) lie eastwards of Bloomsbury, set among quiet Georgian squares and streets.

North of the Euston Road lies Camden. It's largely a typical North London residential area, but it has a number of interesting features to attract the visitor. It shares Regent's Park and the surrounding opulent Regency terraces with Westminster. Euston Road itself is a fascinating hotchpotch of architectural styles ranging from classical to modern. At the centre of the district is Camden High Street and Camden Market, currently a major centre of youth and cult trends - if you're into any kind of alternative lifestyle the chances are that this is where you buy its trappings. And if you're a radio comedy fan of a certain age here in Britain, then the tube station at Mornington Crescent is your Mecca.

North and west of Camden is Hampstead, the third part of the borough's disparate mix and pretty much a high status area. South Hampstead and West Hampstead are typical North London suburbs, admittedly, but Hampstead itself has claim to be London's Millionaires' Row - it's a district of large, detached mansions set within grounds that are extensive in London terms. And last but not least there is Hampstead Heath - more of a park than a heath, really, but rather more extensive that any of inner London's green spaces, full of trees and wildlife, and high enough to reward the visitor with extensive views of the nearby city.

Gallery index:

Lincoln's Inn
British Museum Great Court
Hampstead Heath
Russell Square

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   London Borough of Camden website

This page last updated 19th October 2003