Islington in London

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The Typical Victorian Architecture of Islington

Islington is a district of north London.

Understand

This is large district covering much of the London Borough of Islington [1].

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 1990s 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.

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. The legacy of that still remains: The borough's two MPs and Council administration are all from the Labour Party and a number of regular festivals of a distinctly liberal nature are hosted here.

Get in

By tube

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)
  • Holloway Road (Piccadilly line)
  • Caledonian Road (Piccadilly line)
  • Arsenal (Piccadilly line)

By train

Overground stations include Highbury & Islington, Essex Rd, Canonbury, Finsbury Park and Upper Holloway.

By bus

Bus routes 41 ,N41 ,134 ,390 ,43 ,17 ,C11 ,4, W5 all serve Archway and the surrounding area.

29, 19, 4, 236, 254, 254 all connect Finsbury Park with the centre of London and the West End.

See

  • The Arsenal Museum (address: Emirates Stadium, Highbury House, 75 Drayton Park, N5 1BU) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park) +44 20 7619 5003
    price: £3-6
    open: M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-6PM closed matchdays, Su 10AM-5PM
    Impressive museum charting the hisory of this great football club.
  • City Road Basin Plaza (directions: Off City Road next to McDonalds and Texaco. Tube: Angel) +44 207 253 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 (address: 44a Pentonville Rd) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7278 7700
    price: Free
    open: Tu-Sa 11AM-5:45PM, Su 2PM-5:45PM
    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.
  • Gillespie Park Ecology Centre (address: Drayton Park, N5) (directions: Tube: Arsenal)
    open: open 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 (directions: tube: Highgate) +44 20 8444 6129 highgate.wood@cityoflondon.gov.uk
    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 (address: 14 Wharf Rd N1 7RW) (directions: tub: Angel. Next door to Victoria Miro) +44 20 7490 7373
    price: Free entry
    open: Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM
    Contemporary art gallery, which looks closed from initial appearances, but press the buzzer to have the door unlocked.
  • Victoria Miro Gallery (address: 16 Wharf Rd N1 7RW) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 44 20 7336 8109
    price: Free entry
    open: Tu-Sa 10AM-6PM
    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.

Do

  • Almeida Theatre (address: Almeida Street N1 1TA) (directions: tube: Highbury & Islington, just off Upper St) +44 20 7359 4404 info@almeida.co.uk
    Theatre with a reputation for daring and innovative productions.
  • Arsenal Football Club the best in the world (directions: Short walk from Finsbury Park tube station!)
    The famous EPL 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 (address: 83 Upper St N1 0NU) (directions: tube: Angel, 5 min walk up Upper St)
    One of the leading art house cinemas in London. Recently refurbished.
  • Rise (directions: tube: Finsbury Park)
    Anti-racism festival. Every summer the mayor of London hosts this. This has been held in Finsbury Park 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 (address: Upper Street Islington, N1) (directions: tube: Angel, 1F of the N1 shopping centre)
    An enormous multiplex cinema.

Buy

Camden Passage - one of the leading antique centres in London
  • Camden Passage Antiques Centre (address: Camden Passage N1 8ED) (directions: 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.
  • Map (address: Junction Rd)
    Trendy gift shop with cool products. Much too nice to be in Archway!

Eat

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.

Budget

  • The Afghan Kitchen (address: 35 Islington Green N1 8DU) (directions: 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 (address: 139 Upper St N1 1QP) (directions: tube: Highbury & Islington) +44 20 7359 7777
    Excellent Turkish meals.
  • Gallipoli (address: 102 Upper St N1 1QP) (directions: tube: Angel, Highbury & Islington) +44 20 7359 1578
    Well known and serve great Turkish meals, for very reasonable prices. Another branch nearby.
  • Le Mercury (address: 140a Upper Street N1 1QY) (directions: tube: Highbury & Islington) +44 20 7354 4088
    price: Mains around £6
    Cosy, romantic French restaurant split amongst three floors. Typical French cuisine at low prices.
  • Little Bay Farringdon (address: 171 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3AL) (directions: tube: Highbury & Islington) +44 20 7278 1234
    price: 3-Course Meal from £10-16
    Opulent bohemian restaurant serving traditional high-end European cuisine at very low prices
  • La Porchetta (address: 141-142 Upper St N1 1QY) (directions: 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 (address: 13 Islington High St N1 9LQ) (directions: tube: Angel, opposite the station) +44 20 7833 3103
    price: About £5 each person
    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.

Mid-range

  • Kalendar (address: 15A Swain's Lane N6 6QX) (directions: tube: Archway and 15-20 minute 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 (address: 80-82 Upper St N1 0NU) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7359 3399
    price: Mains around £8
    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.
  • Mem & Laz (address: 8 Therberton St N1 0QX) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7704 9089
    Large menu of great Mediterranean food, friendly staff, very reasonably priced. Their lunchtime TWO-course special around £7 is available to 6PM, an excellent option for an early dinner.
  • Cafe Mozaic (address: 24 Junction Rd N9 5 RE) (directions: tube: Archway) +44 20 7272 3509
    price: £10
    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.
  • The Northgate (address: 113 Southgate Rd N1 3JS) (directions: tube: Old Street, then bus 76 or 141) +44 20 7359 7392
    price: Mains £10-12
    Excellent gastro-pub menu changed daily. Pricey for a pub, but the consistently high quality never disappoints.
  • Punto Zero (address: 14 Barnsbury Rd) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7713 6619
    Offers authentic Neapolitan thin-crust pizzas, baked in a wood-fired oven.
  • St. John's (address: 91 Junction Rd N19 5QU) (directions: tube: Tufnell Park) +44 20 7272 1587
    Expensive gastro pub. Quite pleasant.
  • Sunderban (address: 50 Blackstock Road, London, N4 2DW) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park) +44 20 7359 9243
    price: Starters: £1.75-£4.45; Mains: £3.25-£11.50; Rice, Nan, etc.: £1.60-£2.95
    open: Sunday-Thursday: 6 PM-Midnight; Friday and Saturday: 6 PM-12:30 AM; Arsenal match days: Afternoon Games: Noon-2 PM; Evening Games: 5:30 PM-Midnight
    Delicious North Indian/Bangladeshi cuisine and a good value. One of the best curries in London.

Splurge

Drink

Angel and Highbury areas

  • The Angel (address: Pentonville Rd N1 9LQ) (directions: tube: Angel)
  • The Flying Scotsman (address: 2-4 Caledonian Rd N1 9DU) (directions: tube: King's Cross St Pancras) +44 20 7837 8271
  • Keston Lodge (address: 131 Upper Street, N1 1QP) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7354 9535
    A retro style bar open very late at the weekends.
  • The Nag's Head (address: 12 Upper St N1 0PQ) (directions: tube: Angel) 08721 077 077
  • The York (address: 82 Islington High St N1 8EQ) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7713 1835

Archway

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.

  • The Archway Tavern (address: Archway Close, Archway Rd N19 3TD) (directions: tube: Archway) 08721 077 077
    Pub with a reputed republican history. Live music some nights.
  • The Hideaway (address: 114 Junction Rd N19 5LB) (directions: 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 (address: 37 Landseer Rd N19 4JU) (directions: 10 min walk down Holloway Rd from Archway Station and off to the left on Landseer Rd) +44 20 7263 4658
    Smart pub with posh food. Fairly lively. Nice hanging plants.
  • Tufnell Park Tavern (address: 162 Tufnell Park Rd N7 0EE) (directions: tube: Tufnell Park) +44 20 7272 2078

Finsbury Park

There are many pubs in the area.

  • 12 Pins (address: 263 Seven Sisters Rd N4 2DE) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park) +44 20 7880 9019
    Irish pub which gets very busy on Arsenal match days.
  • Faultering Fullback (address: 19 Perth Rd N4 3HB.) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park)
    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 (address: 5 Station Place N4 2DH) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park)
    Get very busy on match days.
  • Kings Head (address: 26 Blackstock Rd N4 2DR) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park) 0871 258 6247
    Local pub with friendly Irish landlords and locals.
  • The T-Bird (address: 132 Blackstock Rd N4 2DX) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park) 08721 077 077
    Open mic night on Thursdays and a free jukebox on Mondays.

Sleep

Budget

  • London City Apartments (address: 104 Offord Rd N1 1PF) (directions: tube: Highbury & Islington) 07510 062 715
    price: From £44
    Budget studio apartments with kitchens. Maximum 2 person occupancy.
  • Journey's hostel (address: 54-58 Caledonian Rd N1 9DP,) (directions: tube: King's Cross St Pancras)
    price: From £15 for dorm bed
    Budget hostel.
  • Pembury Hotel (address: 326-328 Seven Sisters Rd N4 2AP) (directions: tube: Finsbury Park)
    price: From £40
    Budget hotel right opposite Finsbury Park Station. Popular with football fans as it is close to The Emirates Stadium. Read the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking!

Mid-range

  • Hilton London Islington (address: 53 Upper Street Islington, N1 0UY) (directions: tube: Angel) +44 20 7354 7700
    price: From £125
    Next door the Business Design Centre.
  • Jury's Inn Islington (address: 60 Pentonville Rd N1 9LA", directions) +44 20 7282 5500
    price: From £79
    Large mid-market hotel offering decent value for money.

Splurge

Contact


WikiPedia:Islington



Source wikitravel.org/en/London/Islington