London Area Guide to Islington

Ugo Arinzeh

April 28, 2022
London Area Guide To

Are you a foodie looking for an eclectic, cool area in London? Then Islington may just be the perfect place for you! 

Not only does Islington provide some of the best up and coming foodie spots, theatre shows, and nightlife, but you may be surprised to find that the area has some stunning Victorian homes throughout.  

Where is Islington?

Islington is located just 4 miles north of Central London, meaning you can get to work in approximately 10 minutes via the Victoria Line at Highbury Islington station, or you can head to nearby Angel for the Northern Line. If you prefer to feel the wind in your hair, you can jump on your bicycle and take in the scenery or ride along the Regent’s Canal for riverside views on your commute. 

With funky Camden to the west, beautiful Clerkenwell to the south, and artsy Shoreditch to the east, you are surrounded by areas filled with culture, arts, and nightlife. If you want to know more about the best neighbourhoods for art and culture make sure to check out this great video.  

Reasons to love Islington

  1. Get your foodie fix

Most restaurants are on Upper Street, and you will discover a wide array of diverse cuisines – it truly is a diner’s paradise, and one of the main reasons people come to the area. 

The budget-friendly Le Mercury offers brasserie-style fresh dishes, that change daily – you know it’s a great place to visit, because it’s been there for over 30 years! Expect bright and easy lunches, as well as romantic dining for the evening.

For flavours from around North Africa and the Middle East, you must visit the modern Yotam Ottolenghi. This is the first of the restaurants opened by the group, and it’s a great place to go for your spice-fix, whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For a quirky take on Caribbean, Scottish, and British food pulled together in a fun restaurant inspired by music at its core, 12:51 has vinyls on the walls and impeccable food. Curated by Head Chef James Cochran, former chef of The Ledbury and starring in BBC show Great British Menu, the food is a delight for the palette. 

For Georgian cuisine, the beautiful Little Georgia provides diners with classic Eurasian cuisine, baked goods, and excellent wines in a restaurant that is colourful and home to vintage Georgian artefacts and political posters.

Finally, kebabs get an upgrade from your midnight pick me up at Bababoom Islington, with fresh ingredients and their very own charcoal grill. You can even get a delicious brunch on the weekend for a unique way to start the day.

  1. Grab a show

Not only are you fixed for excellent food in Islington, you can also grab a show almost every night of the week. 

Home to Screen on the Green which is a long-running single-screen cinema, you can grab the latest movie at this neon-lit movie theatre. Not only are the exteriors fabulous, but the interiors offer comfy seats, drinks tables, and a bar so you can feel like you’re at home, while at the movies!

Islington offers residents a concoction of different theatres & live music venues in the area, including Almeida Theatre which is a 325 seat theatre, specialising in drama. The Islington Assembly Hall provides a live music venue in a Grade II listed building, with bands ranging from Indie to Jazz.

I love the idea of the theatre pubs here, too, as they offer a really quaint and cosy way to get a drink after work and watch a show. The King’s Head Theatre Pub is the second oldest operating pub theatre in the UK, with the coal fire and bar downstairs, and fringe theatre upstairs. The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub is just down the road in Angel and is another historical pub with the theatre providing a range of different plays & productions.

  1. Take in nature

While Islington remains quite built-up and urban, you can get to see nature and the scenery of the river very easily.

Highbury Fields is the largest of the green spaces in the area, offering 30 acres of sports facilities, playgrounds and open space to walk the dogs or have a picnic.

There is also The Ecology Centre and nature reserve at Gillespie Park that has an abundance of plant, butterfly and bird species, as well as offering wildlife gardening and sustainable living workshops.

Islington is also near Regent’s Canal which is a beautiful riverside walk that spans 8.6 miles – perfect for a stroll on an afternoon, or a long morning run.

  1. Shop ’til you drop

Islington offers residents and visitors an incredible number of independent shops & boutiques to enjoy, with countless beautiful and unique stores from gift ideas to fashion. 

For your interior lovers, head to Atelier Abigail Ahern on Upper Street. This small interiors store created by designer Abigail Ahern features stunning faux botanicals for the home.  Along with accessories, lighting & sculptures, this modern luxury store is a great place to get your home must-haves.

Staying with the luxury theme, you can get incredible designer womenswear at Diverse on Upper street. The boutique hosts an edited selection of different designers, including Chloe and Marc by Marc Jacobs, as well as shoes, jewellery, and accessories.

If you prefer vintage finds, then head to Camden Passage for everything vintage including Antique Oriental ceramics at Chris Tapsell Oriental Antiques to vintage costumes and textiles at Annie’s.

Properties in Islington

Islington is home to a selection of classic Georgian terraced homes and beautiful Victorian villas. These properties retain their charming features thanks to private homeowners caring along with local conservation organisations working to protect the area’s properties.  Some of the terraced properties have incredible private gardens while many have been converted into apartments, but you can find a few semi-detached homes for sale if your budget will allow. 

If you crave more modern-living, you can find newer developments that have popped up beside the canal – embracing riverside living at its finest, as well as a selection of new developments coming to the area offering stunning studios, flats, and all the modern living luxuries. 

A few examples of the properties you can find on the market include: 

2 bedroom maisonette with garden – £1,250,000

This Grade II listed maisonette, set over three floors, is a stunning home with a 30ft south facing garden – something many are craving since the pandemic hit. The home is set within a Georgian terrace which is popular in the area.  The interiors have been upgraded to a high standard while retaining some great features like the wooden floors, high ceilings, and a large bathroom with roll top freestanding bath. 

Split level 2 bed Victorian garden flat – £700,000 

Located on Loraine Road, which is a wide residential street moments away from Holloway Road where you’ll find a Waitrose and numerous bars and eateries.  This split level 2 bed Victorian garden flat provides all of the period features you’ll love such as cornicing, wooden floors throughout and even a fireplace. 

House Dynamics

Properties in Islington had an overall average price of £849,917 over the last year.

Flats sold for an average price of £618,058; while terraced properties sold for an average of £1,539,642 and semi-detached properties achieved an average of £1,779,188.

Overall, sold prices in Islington over the last year were 2% up on the previous year and 12% up on the 2017 peak of £761,269 according to Rightmove (April 12th 2022). 

I hope you enjoyed this video to get a better sense of Islington.  As you can see it’s a great area for families and professionals, looking for a really nice area with plenty of schools, green space, and entertainment close to the city. If you want to learn more about other parts of London, make sure to check out our other area guides.  

And if you are considering buying a home in London or are relocating, and are unsure on where to start looking, I would love to help. 

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