I’m back! And after feeling unwell and then some website drama (terrifying), it’s so great to be writing and posting again. Thanks to everyone who wrote such sweet get well messages – you’re the best!
I love curating guides to my favourite London areas, so I thought I would show you around some of my preferred Islington haunts. I have to admit, I generally keep away from Upper Street, which is full of chains and not very picturesque, but Camden Passage, a long thin alleyway close to the tube, is a different story. It’s stuffed to the brim with interesting shops, cafes and an antiques market and has been the setting for many a weekend stroll during my (almost) 10 years in London. One of my favourite bars, 69 Colebrooke Row, is close by too – the perfect place to relax after a walk along Angel’s canal.
++ Workshop London. This place has a fabulous collection of women and menswear, and is distinctive for its mixing of Italian heritage and design (all clothing is made in Italy) with a recognisably London flair. I particularly like their collection of accessories (and couldn’t resist the bright yellow TL-180 bag I’m wearing in this post as a sale bargain) and highly recommend dropping by if you’re on the lookout for unusual clutches, sparkly ballet flats, beautiful scarves or stylish sunglasses.
++ Smug. I love Smug for its fabulous collection of fun homeware and fantastic stationery. It has its own cafe too – perfect for resting weary shopper’s feet!
++ Loop. If you enjoy trying to make your own chunky knits come winter, then this is the place for you! Loop is a knitter’s heaven, with its amazing collection of yarns (I go for their range of Madeleine Tosh and Quince wools especially). The service is friendly and knowledgable, so don’t feel shy to ask for help, and remember – if you don’t have your own wool winder at home – they will wind any yarn you buy in the shop for you so make sure to ask!
++ Penhaligons. Always a great stop for classic, very British scents (Bluebell tends to be my choice).
++ Japanese Gallery. Boasts an incredible collection of Japanese prints at a range of prices. It’s well worth paying a visit just to browse though!
++ Antiques Market. A well-known sight in Camden Passage, the antiques market is a fun place to browse for vintage and novelty items.
++ Hexagone. A French lifestyle concept store that showcases beautiful items from France. It’s a great place to go if you’re in search of a gift or a distinctive piece for your home.
++ Frae. If you’re a frozen yoghurt fan, you will love it here! I have an especial weakness for their peanut butter flavour.
++ The Breakfast Club. I adore brunch, and a place that provides an extensive pancake menu will always get a thumbs up from me!
++ Kipferl. I’ve been going to Kipferl for years and years and I still look forward to their incredible Austrian cakes and coffee (although I rarely stray from my favourite of their cakes – the incredible Sachertorte). The Austrian wine they serve is a real treat, and it’s a super place for a light lunch too.
++ Paul A Young. For all the chocolate fans! I haven’t yet tried one of the much raved about brownies, and I feel I’m missing out.
++ Frederick’s. I haven’t been to Frederick’s, but it’s certainly on my list as the food comes highly recommended.
++ Pistachio & Pickle Dairy. This cheese shop specialising in the best of British cheeses is charming, and their selection is mouth-watering. I’m definitely going back for one of those hot melting cheese toasties soon! The Pistachio & Pickle Deli (close to the Almeida Theatre in Islington) is meant to be wonderful too – I’m determined to stop by next time I go to the theatre.
++ Ottolenghi. Located on Upper Street, but such a well-known establishment in Islington I felt I couldn’t leave it out, is Ottolenghi’s flagship branch. Dining in the restaurant isn’t inexpensive (the plates are tapas sized and add up quickly!), but it is a suitably decadent choice for a special occasion.
++ 69 Colebrooke Row. There’s a film noire vibe to this place which makes the stylish interior even cooler, but what I really love are the delicious cocktails (Death in Venice and Lipstick Rose come highly recommended by me!). The bar is tucked away down a little side street not far from Camden Passage, and it’s well worth making the effort to find it.
++ The Elk in the Woods. Situated in the heart of Camden Passage, this is a nice place to stop for a glass of wine or cocktail.
++ Regent’s Canal. For me, a huge part of Islington’s charm is its beautiful streets lined with classic Georgian townhouses. Once you’re finished with the delights of Camden Passage, break away from the crowds and turn off into the side streets to enjoy an amble through one of the prettiest parts of London. Even better, head for a stroll along Regent’s canal, admiring the brightly coloured boathouses and leafy willow trees as you go.
++ Almeida Theatre. This is one of my favourite London theatres: tickets are reasonably priced (pssst – those aged 29 and under can book best available seats for £19 on Mondays), and every show I’ve been to has always been excellent. There’s also a nice restaurant / bar within the theatre if you fancy a snack.
++ Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Seeing the English National Ballet perform at Sadler’s Wells is always a huge treat.
I hope you found this guide useful! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts – which are your favourite places to go in Islington?