Camden Town to get subterranean fairground attraction

Babylon Park coming to Hawley Wharf

Tuesday, 26th April — By Dan Carrier

10-Babylon dodgers

Coming soon: Babylon Park

AN intergalactic-themed arcade and fairground is set to open deep beneath Camden Lock’s markets.

The Hawley Wharf development, built on a canalside market plot that was devastated by fire in 2008, boasts new bars, restaurants, cinema screens, homes and offices.

One floor is due to open as a flower arranging academy, after market owners LabTech failed to find any retailers willing to sign a lease.

The new leisure centre, run by Babylon Park, follows LabTech’s plans to bring in visitors with a London Eye-style Ferris wheel in West Yard, an experience based on the BBC’s Edwardian gangster series Peaky Blinders and an adventure game based on 1990s computer game, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

The coin slot arcade operator has 19 branches in Israel, the Czech Republic and Serbia – but this is its first UK venture.

Stretching over three subterranean floors, the indoor leisure centre will boast a rollercoaster, bumper cars and a drop tower, giving daring visitors the chance to plunge into an abyss.

The site of new attraction

Other attractions include arcade games, a soft adventure playground and karaoke stages for visitors keen on wielding a microphone.

When planning permission was granted for the Hawley Wharf site, objectors said they feared the market model was nearing the end of its shelf life, with visitors mainly tourists and shops focusing on food, drink and souvenirs rather than the arts, crafts, antiques and fashion that made Camden market famous.

They added Hawley Wharf would struggle to find stallholders and the building would eventually become a shopping mall instead of an open- air street-style market, further diluting Camden Town’s once-global reputation for bohemian fashion and alternative lifestyles.

LabTech’s commercial director Maggie Milosavljevic said the company hoped it would attract families from Camden to explore the markets.

She added: “Leisure is not a bonus operation within a destination anymore, it is a vital component. Everyone is competing to get the best and most exclusive concepts, to provide a more unique experience for visitors and to generate new footfall that supports local businesses.

“Babylon Park will do just that, by bringing a family-friendly concept to Camden that sits perfectly alongside the existing and upcoming leisure experiences, while reflecting the town’s diverse offerings, and introducing something that you cannot find anywhere else in the UK.”

Babylon Park owner Efi Malka, added: “Opening our first venue in the UK, within a space that champions family-friendly concepts in an inviting atmosphere, is a great move for Babylon Park.

“We are looking forward to bringing our brand-new concept here, which will define and set the tone for our expansion across the rest of Europe and provide an opportunity for visitors to explore and learn, and have tremendous fun while doing it.

” The new amusements are set to be designed by P&P Projects, who work with the Baker Street-based wax works attraction Madame Tussaud’s.

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