Islington is filled with authentic Victorian houses that possess traditional features such as grand staircases and sweeping stone porches, and have laid host to fabulous writers and revolutionaries such as Mary Wollstonecraft, George Orwell, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. Not only is the neighbourhood aesthetically pleasing, but it is a haven for creativity, specifically in the field of arts and crafts. Swopping traditional food commerce at the Islington Farmers Market for boutique shops that are a treasure trove for art supplies, there are a number of shops dedicated to DIY enthusiasts and those wanting to learn various skills through the classes and workshops that are on offer.
Aside from shops offering workshops and classes, there is much more support and praise for the field of arts and crafts in Islington. Head to the Council Arts Centre where one can meet talented working professionals that use various mediums, such as; metal, glass, pottery and textiles, to create contemporary bespoke art. Or to experience a rare art form in the area of theatre, whether it is through watching, being part of the imaginative education programmes or participatory activities for the community, head over to the Little Angel Theatre. The theatre is one of the only three puppet theatres in the UK, and it celebrates the rare art form by developing the puppetry and producing their own shows nationally and internationally, building a reputation for this diverse and interesting style of theatre.
Whilst you are in the neighbourhood of Islington, embrace the football culture that runs deep into London’s veins, by visiting one of the most successful clubs in the world-both financially and through support, Arsenal. Exploring the Arsenal Museum in the Emirates Stadium ,you join the masses of Londoner’s and internationals that support this acclaimed team, by learning about the history and growth of the heralded football club, as well as a look into the size and volume of the stadium.
If you would like to escape the hustle and bustle of London’s cityscape, embrace the 2.8 hectare nature reserve nestled away in the Gillespie Park Ecology Centre. With its award winning education centre, care and attention is taken towards the various habitats that encompass the surrounding environment and are home to a wealth of wildlife; including 244 species of plants, 94 species of birds and 24 types of butterflies. Allow yourself the time to wander through the woodland and meadow areas, soaking in the atmosphere, and giving time for reflection, peace and quiet from your daily routine.
Islington offers a wide scope in variety of restaurants and Ottolenghi is no exception. Expect brunches that are plentiful and flavoursome, filled with deliciously home baked muffins that resemble the style of our American cousins baking, and alternative breakfasts that are healthy and nutritious. Salads are of abundance and fusion dishes served in the evening, are elegantly composed and taste divine, prior booking is always recommended. Another firm favourite is the Almeida, where the French cuisine is delightfully intertwined with British inspired dishes and offers organic sophisticated cuisine in a prestige setting, a restaurant reserved for special occasions.
I love the fun colonial explorer themed bar, Hoxley and Porter, which blends vintage attire, printed wallpaper and uniformed staff, to create the ambiance of a traveller from a period long ago, bringing nostalgia to all that visit here. Their incredible inspired West Indian cocktails are filled with made in house liquors and are a notch above the rest. For an acoustic night that will enchant and spell bind you, head to the Union Chapel. The traditional gothic architecture is stunning, as the space uplifts the acoustics of the performers that play here, making the event a more memorable one because of the surroundings you are in, as well as the quality of sound.