It’s hard to believe it now, but Islington was once seen as an extremely undesirable corner of the city. So much so actually that Charles Dickins once described Upper Street as being ‘among the noisiest and most disagreeable thoroughfares in London’. But the area has long since been transformed in to one of London’s most sought after locations, having been home to Sir Walter Raleigh, Colin Firth, George Orwell, Jeremy Corbyn, Lily Allen and Boris Johnson! Here’s everything you need to know about this buzzing quarter of North London.

What’s Islington like?

Located in North London, Islington is characterised primarily by the vibrant arts scene which is celebrated throughout the areas fantastic selection of theatres and arts venues. Islington proudly showcases the best of British dance, drama and art, and is home to some of London’s finest theatre pubs, including the Old Red Lion Theatre, which originally premiered the award-winning West End production, The Play That Goes Wrong.

The restaurant scene here is unrivalled, with the area famously having more restaurants than days of the year! Visitors and residents are truly spoilt for choice in this borough with the vast selection of cuisines and styles on offer. And as well as being a culinary hub, Islington’s High Street and Upper Street are jam packed with a fantastic selection of independent shops. From quirky boutiques to vintage shops to fancy cocktail bars, there’s something for everyone.

There are a good number of markets dotted around Islington. Camden Passage antiques market has been supplying Londoners with collectibles and bric-a-brac for over fifty years, and is always brimming with bargain hunters at the weekend. It’s not all independents and markets though. You’ll find a good smattering of chains here, – but Islington has definitely retained its neighbourhood charm and individuality, and residents are proud to have maintained a strong community spirit, despite the recent gentrification.

What are the buildings like in Islington?

There are a range of properties here, but the most desired tend to be the flat fronted Georgian homes and early Victorian terraces, the magnificent townhouses of the garden squares and the period flat conversions. Waterside homes also are frequently popping up along the Regent’s canal and there are a number of high quality new developments in the borough, attracting young professionals aplenty.

Is Islington good for families?

Families are attracted by the area’s many excellent schools. There are 46 primary schools on offer here. St Mary’s and St Mary Magdalene Academy are popular choices, and there are a good selection of private schools north of the area in Highgate and Hampstead.

Open space: 

Islington is one of London’s leafiest areas, home to an abundance of parks and open green spaces. Highbury Fields is the largest, boasting 30 acres of sports facilities and an adventure play area. There are walks along the Regent Canal (best in the spring time) and the New River Walk (a scenic route from Newington Green to Essex Road and Upper Street). Gillespe Park is an ecology center, where children and adults alike can discover butterfly and bird species, as well as plants.

What’s on there?

Islington Museum

245 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NB

This Museum outlines the history of the borough, covering themes on local and social history, exemplified by the use of artifacts such as stolen books, a bust of Lenin and letters and recordings from immigrants and residents caught in the world wars.

See Islington Museum venue details

Almeida Theatre

Almeida Sreet, N1 1TA

A 325 seat theatre right in the heart of Islington, offering a truly diverse range of British and international drama. The theatre also holds an annual festival of contemporary music, opera and theatre in the summertime. A-listers will often be spotted here!

See Almeida Theatre venue details

London Canal Museum

12-13 New Wharf Road, N1 9RT

This museum tells the story of London’s inland waterways. Housed in a former nineteenth century ice warehouse, visitors can see inside narrowboat cabins, look down in to huge ice wells and learn more about canals via the impressive exhibitions.

See London Canal Museum venue details

Islington Farmer’s Market

Chapel Market, The Angel, London N1 9PZ

This is London’s first ever and most established farmers’ market, taking over Chapel Market on Sundays, offering all the organic, artisan and local produce you could possibly wish for.

Read Islington Farmer’s Market guide

How much does it cost?

The average price for property here is currently £740,907. Flats in Islington sell for an average of £597,966 and terraced houses for £1,442,761.

The average rental price here is £517 per week.

Postcodes

Islington is within the N1 postcode

Travel in Islington

There are excellent transport links here, allowing residents to get to central London in under 10 minutes.

Tube: London Underground services include: Angel (Northern line), King’s Cross (Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines), Highbury & Islington (Victorian line), Caledonian Road (Piccadilly line), Holloway Road (Piccadilly line) and Arsenal (Piccadilly line).

Trains: Overground services are available at Caledonian Road & Barnsbury, Highbury & Islington and Canonbury, offering access to Clapham Junction, Shoreditch and Stratford.

Buses: The area is well served by buses, with 19 routes connecting through Angel, including several night buses.

Cycle: Islington is fantastic for cyclists as it offers good, flat cycling roots into the City and West End. Angel has several Boris Bike docking stations.

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