Newest Review: ... is packed full of multi-million pound houses with 70's council flats right next door. It is not a very affordable place to live if you're a... more
Islington - where chains and independents come together
Member Name: BumpyBump
Advantages: Always something to do and somewhere to go
Disadvantages: It's been priced out of all reasonable wage-earners affordability
I lived in Angel, Islington for over a year, and I worked there for almost three, so I know the place quite well. Islington is a London borough that was pretty well considered a no-go zone thirty years ago. My, how things have changed. In that time the property prices have shot up, the shopping has improved and there is now a really great social scene. Transport links are also amazing, with Angel, Kings Cross and Highbury and Islington tube/train stations being located quite closely together.
Islington is one of those places where the rich and poor really do live side-by-side. It is packed full of multi-million pound houses with 70's council flats right next door. It is not a very affordable place to live if you're a middle-wage earner. You either need to be pretty wealthy to be able to afford a decent flat/house, or you need to be so poor that you qualify for social housing. Anything in between, and the best you'll be able to afford is a grotty room in a flatshare or a studio flat over a kebab shop. Because of its mixture of residents, Islington has a lively and diverse feel to it. You get people from all walks of life around Islington, and although there is the odd beggar, the place feels quite safe to walk round.
Angel is really the main draw to Islington. It has the stylish N1 centre where you'll find a few chain stores (Oasis, HMV, Karen Millen & FCUK for example), restaurants (Yo! Sushi), the Vue cinema, a couple of pubs (inc. Wetherspoons) and the Carling Academy where they host gigs and nightclub events. Across the road is the antiques market where you can find anything from jewellery to furniture, and the quaint Camden Walk where you'll find a variety of shops selling things like rare art prints, to childrens clothes and general bric-a-brac. For a less commercial night out you can try the Screen on the Green cinema - a one-screen retro treat & a couple of quid cheaper than the Vue.
Food-wise, Angel has all the chains; Nando's, Pizza Express, Ask, Caffe Uno, MacDonalds, Domino's....the list goes on. If you go further along Upper Street Highbury and Islington you'll also find more independent pubs, bars and restaurants, as well as expensive retro furniture shops. There is also the Almeida Theatre about a five minute walk from Angel tube which is always showing something cultural/controversial for a reasonable price (tickets start at £8, although that is for a restricted view).
All in all it is very easy to spend your entire social life in Islington without ever feeling the need to leave. I absolutely love it - it's just a shame I can't afford to buy a flat there.
Summary: Great place to spend time & amazing place to live (if you can afford to)