Islington is a district of north London.
This is a large district covering much of the London Borough of Islington .
The south of the district borders the City of London and Clerkenwell and was long seen as something of a poor relation to those two areas. That all started to change in the 1980s though when the typical Victorian houses of Islington became very desirable and the area went through huge gentrification to become a highly fashionable address. The area around The Angel, Upper Street and Essex Road is of special interest to visitors it is home to a number of interesting shops selling antiques and collectibles as well as art galleries.
The Typical Victorian Architecture of Islington
Further north, the district becomes a little less grand and largely lower-end residential. Finsbury Park is an area in the north-east of the district which grew up around an important railway interchange at the junction of the London Boroughs of Islington, Haringey and Hackney. The park itself is a large important green space in an otherwise densely populated area.
In the north west of the district its character changes again and Highgate takes on many characteristics of the neigbouring district of Hampstead.
Islington has long been known for its left-wing politics and in the 1980s the oft-used moniker of The Socialist Republic of Islington was not unwarranted. Former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown both have their London homes in the district, as does current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is also one of the area's two MPs. The legacy of that still remains: The borough's other MP and Council administration are all from the Labour Party and a number of regular festivals of a distinctly liberal nature are hosted here.
Tube stations in this district are:
- Angel (Northern line)
- Highbury & Islington (Victoria line)
- Tufnell Park (Northern line)
- Archway (Northern line)
- Highgate (Northern line)
- Finsbury Park (Victoria and Piccadilly lines)
- Manor House (Piccadilly line)
- Holloway Road (Piccadilly line)
- Caledonian Road (Piccadilly line)
- Arsenal (Piccadilly line)
Overground stations include Highbury & Islington, Essex Rd, Canonbury, Finsbury Park and Upper Holloway.
Bus routes 41, N41, 134, 390, 43, 17, C11, 4 and W5 all serve Archway and the surrounding area.
Routes 29, 19, 4, 259, 253 and 254 all connect Finsbury Park with the centre of London.
The Angel, Islington is served by the following routes: 19, 30, 38, 43, 56, 73, 153, 205, 214, 274 and 341.
- The Arsenal Museum, Emirates Stadium, Highbury House, 75 Drayton Pk, N5 1BU (tube: Finsbury Pk), ☎ +44 20 7619 5003, . M-F 10:00-18:00, Sa 10:00-18:00, Su 10:00-17:00, closed matchdays. Impressive museum charting the history of the heralded football club. £3-6.
- City Road Basin Plaza, (Off City Rd next to McDonalds and Texaco. Tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7253 6512, . A former industrial site which fell into decline in the 50s and 60s. The site remained undeveloped and inaccessible to the public for many years. A multi-million pound project has created public access to the waterway (one of the largest open stretches of water in North London) complete with a newly landscaped public park facing onto the canal.
- Crafts Council, 44a Pentonville Rd (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7278 7700, . Tu-Sa 11:00-17:45, Su 14:00-17:45. This gallery promotes contemporary craftspeople working materials such as metal, glass, pottery and textiles but with a unique take on each medium. The work frequently strays into contemporary art and blurs the border between art and craft. The small shop inside provides individually crafted pieces, that are as expensive as you would expect. Free.
- Gillespie Park Ecology Centre, Drayton Pk, N5 (Tube: Arsenal). Daily except on Arsenal FC home match days. Award-winning education centre in this small park in a heavily built up area of the district. Managed habitats include woodland, wetland meadows and ponds.
- Highgate Wood, (tube: Highgate), ☎ +44 20 8444 6129 ([email protected]), . A 28 hectare remnant of the great Middlesex Wood which once spread across north London. There is a supervised children's playground, a café and an information centre.
- Parasol Unit, 14 Wharf Rd, N1 7RW (tub: Angel. Next door to Victoria Miro), ☎ +44 20 7490 7373, . Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su noon-17:00. Contemporary art gallery, which looks closed from initial appearances, but press the buzzer to have the door unlocked. Free entry.
- Victoria Miro Gallery, 16 Wharf Rd, N1 7RW (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7336 8109, . Tu-Sa 10:00-18:00. An excellent contemporary art gallery in a converted Victorian furniture factory. Press the buzzer to unlock the door, it is not a typical Tate-tourist magnet. Free entry.
- Almeida Theatre, Almeida St, N1 1TA (tube: Highbury & Islington, just off Upper St), ☎ +44 20 7359 4404 ([email protected]), . Theatre with a reputation for daring and innovative productions.
- Arsenal FC, (Short walk from Finsbury Pk tube station), . The famous Premier League club play at the Emirates Stadium in the north of the district. Count yourself very lucky if you can secure a ticket!
- Everyman Screen on the Green (formerly Screen on the Green), 83 Upper St, N1 0NU (tube: Angel, 5 min walk up Upper St), . One of the leading art house cinemas in London. Recently refurbished.
- Rise, (tube: Finsbury Pk). Anti-racism festival. Every summer the mayor of London hosts this. This has been held in Finsbury Pk for many years and has seen acts such as Kelis, Jimmy Cliff and Lily Allen all play there. Bob Dylan, Blur and Oasis have also played concerts there.
- Vue, Upper St, Islington, N1 (tube: Angel, 1F of the N1 shopping centre), . An enormous multiplex cinema.
Camden Passage - one of the leading antique centres in London
- Camden Passage Antiques Centre, Camden Passage, N1 8ED (tube: Angel), . One of London's leading antique and collectible centres for the past 40 years. The complex is home to dealers in a wide variety of fields and is a must for any visitor to London interested in antiques. Controversially, the main arcade has now become another branch of Jack Wills, but many dealers remain in the area.
- Map, Junction Rd. Trendy gift shop with cool products. Much too nice to be in Archway!
Diners are spoiled for choice in Islington, especially the Upper Street area between Angel and Highbury & Islington tube stations. A wide variety of cuisine and price ranges are available. Mediterranean food dominates but with options like Indian, Afghan, Italian, French, Thai, and South American there is food for all tastes.
A few minutes walk from Archway station up Highgate Hill will lead you to Highgate, the upmarket end of Archway. There are a selection of nice cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from. Swain's Lane, five to ten minutes walk from Archway station just near Hampstead Heath, has a few nice places to eat.
Angel to Upper Street can be a diner's paradise if you know where to go. Close to Angel places are geared towards the daytime sandwich eaters and coffee drinkers. From Islington Green on you will generally find nicer restaurants at better value. As a rule, the further towards Highbury & Islington the cheaper the restaurants, although the quality does not necessarily decline. Take a walk down the side-streets too as they hold some of the best restaurants, pubs, and bars.
In Archway, coming out of the tube station you will see two kebab houses on Junction Road, neither of which are anything special, but rather comically one carries the slogan "Best kebabs in UK" while the other says "Best kebab in world". These are not to be believed. May find other interesting little restaurants down Holloway Road.
The Finsbury Park area is home to many minority groups such as Algerians, Greeks, Turks, and sub-Saharan Africans and as such has some of the most diverse range of restaurants available in London. Down Blackstock Road, a locals' favourite is Sim Sim. Just outside the station on Seven Sisters Road, The Red Zone offers cheap but good food.
- The Afghan Kitchen, 35 Islington Green, N1 8DU (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7359 8019. One of the best cheap eats in London. Authentic Afghan food which is a hugely better than you expect when looking at the place!
- Angel Mangal Ockabasi, 139 Upper St, N1 1QP (tube: Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 20 7359 7777. Excellent Turkish meals.
- Gallipoli, 102 Upper St, N1 1QP (tube: Angel, Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 20 7359 1578, . Well known and serve great Turkish meals, for very reasonable prices. Another branch nearby.
- Le Mercury, 140a Upper St, N1 1QY (tube: Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 20 7354 4088, . Cosy, romantic French restaurant split amongst three floors. Typical French cuisine at low prices. Mains around £6.
- Little Bay Farringdon, 171 Farringdon Rd, EC1R 3AL (tube: Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 20 7278 1234, . Opulent bohemian restaurant serving traditional high-end European cuisine at very low prices 3-Course Meal from £10-16.
- La Porchetta, 141-142 Upper St, N1 1QY (tube: Angel, Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 20 7288 2488, . Authentic Italian pizzeria: thin wood-fired pizzas, selection of pasta, antipasto, desserts, Italian wine & beer. Buzzing atmosphere. Child friendly.
- Tortilla, 13 Islington High St, N1 9LQ (tube: Angel, opposite the station), ☎ +44 20 7833 3103, . Californian and Mexican take-away, serves fajitas/burritos/etc and Mexican beers. The food is fresh and mostly organic. Well priced, very friendly staff, open kitchen. Small number of benches for eating in. £5.
- Dotori, 3 Stroud Green Road, N4 2DQ (tube: Finsbury Park), ☎ +44 20 7263 3562. Korean/Japanese restaurant right next to the tube station. Does Take-Away. Closed Monday. Book in advance, this place is very popular. Mains around £7-10.
- Kalendar, 15A Swain's Ln, N6 6QX (tube: Archway and 15-20-min walk), ☎ +44 20 8348 8300. Stands out as a bohemian deli/cafe with beautiful if not cheap food. Excellent for brunch/long weekend lunches. Chunky rustic furniture, specials on blackboards, free newspapers. Quite child friendly.
- Masala Zone, 80-82 Upper St, N1 0NU (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7359 3399, . This hip Indian restaurant chain's Angel branch. Good value Indian food, try a Thali for a good sized meal with a variety of flavours. Mains around £8.
- Mem & Laz, 8 Therberton St, N1 0QX (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7704 9089. Large menu of great Mediterranean food, friendly staff, very reasonably priced. Their lunchtime TWO-course special for around £8 and THREE-course special for around £10 are available to 6PM, an excellent option for an early dinner.
- Cafe Mozaic, 24 Junction Rd, N9 5 RE (tube: Archway), ☎ +44 20 7272 3509. Mediterranean restaurant. Right next door to the best kebabs in the world, and yet somehow manages some classiness. Lively atmosphere. Reasonably priced. Sometimes with live musical performances (Friday evening). Outdoor seating. £10.
- The Northgate, 113 Southgate Rd, N1 3JS (tube: Old St, then bus 76 or 141), ☎ +44 20 7359 7392. Excellent gastro-pub menu changed daily. Pricey for a pub, but the consistently high quality never disappoints. Mains £10-12.
- St. John's, 91 Junction Rd, N19 5QU (tube: Tufnell Pk), ☎ +44 20 7272 1587. Expensive gastro pub. Quite pleasant.
- Sunderban, 50 Blackstock Rd, N4 2DW (tube: Finsbury Pk), ☎ +44 20 7359 9243, . Su-Th 18:00-midnight, F Sa 18:00-00:30, Arsenal match days: Afternoon Games: Noon-14:00, Evening Games: 17:30-midnight. Delicious North Indian/Bangladeshi cuisine and a good value. One of the best curries in London. Starters £1.75-4.45, Mains £3.25-11.50.
Angel and Highbury areas
- Islington Townhouse, 13 Liverpool Rd, N1 0RW (tube: Angel), ☎ 02036376424 ([email protected]), . Welcoming gastropub with plenty of food options and good craft beer. Live music Thurs - Sat.
- The Angel, Pentonville Rd, N1 9LQ (tube: Angel).
- The Flying Scotsman, 2-4 Caledonian Rd, N1 9DU (tube: King's Cross St Pancreas), ☎ +44 20 7837 8271.
- Keston Lodge, 131 Upper St, N1 1QP (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7354 9535, . A retro style bar open very late at the weekends.
- The Nag's Head, 12 Upper St, N1 0PQ (tube: Angel), ☎ 08721 077 077.
- Pitcher and Piano, 68 Upper St, N1 0NY, ☎ +44 20 7704 9974 ([email protected]), . Stylish bar. Part of a chain.
- The York, 82 Islington High St, N1 8EQ (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7713 1835.
There are plenty of pubs in the area, some of them managing to be slightly more lively or more stylish than the typical local boozer. As the area had a large Irish population for many years, many of the pubs are Irish.
- The Hideaway, 114 Junction Rd, N19 5LB (tube: Archway), ☎ +44 20 7561 0779, . Nice pub/bar. Good pizzas and cheap happy hour drinks. Bar staff can be a bit grumpy.
- The Landseer, 37 Landseer Rd, N19 4JU (10 min walk down Holloway Rd from Archway Stn and off to the left on Landseer Rd), ☎ +44 20 7263 4658. Smart pub with posh food. Fairly lively. Nice hanging plants.
- The Old Mother Red Cap, 665 Holloway Road; N19 5SE (5 min walk down Holloway Rd from Archway Stn on the right-hand side), ☎ +44 20 7263 7082. Traditional Irish pub that shows GAA sports as well as football. Used as a filming location in the film Withnail and I. Cash only.
- Tufnell Park Tavern, 162 Tufnell Park Rd, N7 0EE (tube: Tufnell Pk), ☎ +44 20 7272 2078.
There are many pubs in the area.
- 12 Pins, 263 Seven Sisters Rd, N4 2DE (tube: Finsbury Pk), ☎ +44 20 7880 9019, . Irish pub which gets very busy on Arsenal match days.
- Faultering Fullback, 19 Perth Rd, N4 3HB (tube: Finsbury Pk). Beautiful pub, popular with locals watching football and eating their Thai Food. Since the smoking ban, a large amount of money has been spent on the beer garden at the rear, which now offers a wooden mezzanine floor.
- Gaslight, 5 Station Pl, N4 2DH (tube: Finsbury Pk). Get very busy on match days.
- Kings Head, 26 Blackstock Rd, N4 2DR (tube: Finsbury Pk), ☎ 0871 258 6247. Local pub with friendly Irish landlords and locals.
- The T-Bird, 132 Blackstock Rd, N4 2DX (tube: Finsbury Pk), ☎ 08721 077 077. Open mic night on Thursdays and a free jukebox on Mondays.
- London City Apartments, 104 Offord Rd, N1 1PF (tube: Highbury & Islington), ☎ +44 07510 062 715, . Budget studio apartments with kitchens. Maximum 2 person occupancy. From £44.
- Journey's hostel, 54-58 Caledonian Rd, N1 9DP, (tube: King's Cross St Pancras). Budget hostel. From £15 for dorm bed.
- Pembury Hotel, 326-328 Seven Sisters Rd, N4 2AP (tube: Finsbury Pk). Budget hotel right opposite Finsbury Pk Stn. Popular with football fans as it is close to The Emirates Stadium. Read the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking! From £40.
- Hilton London Islington, 53 Upper St, Islington, N1 0UY (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7354 7700. Next door the Business Design Centre. From £125.
- Jury's Inn Islington, "60 (tube: Angel), ☎ +44 20 7282 5500, . Large mid-market hotel offering decent value for money. From £79.
- United Lodge Hotel, 370 Green Lanes, London N4 1DA (tube: Manor House), ☎ +44 2088007107 ([email protected]), . Good value self-catering serviced holiday apartments along Finsbury Park, moments from Arsenal Stadium and City Centre. From £100.
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