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
Member Name: ajaybee
Date: 18/04/01, updated on 18/04/01 (137 review reads)
Advantages: Nice bars, vibrant atmosphere
Disadvantages: So expensive!
Islington is an affluent pocket in north-east London, surrounded by areas probably best stayed away from - Hackney, Kings-Cross, Highbury and such. Islington itself though is lovely, especially in the summer.
Pay a visit to the huge number of bars on Upper Street - the main thoroughfare through Islington, on the A1 road out to north London, and you get a reasonable impression of how swanky the area is. Drinks will, in most cases, cost you a fortune. Stay in the Wetherspoon's!!. The bars and pubs are all very nice, though, and you can at least pretend you are living the high life (if you are like me a poor student!). Similarly, Islington's restaurants are classy, but very pricey. Clublife is limited, but The Elbow Rooms in Chapel Market, a bar/pool/club type effort, is worth a visit, it's extremely chilled inside.
In terms of shops, Islington has the usual bunch - Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Boots. Chapel Market concentrates on more independent stores, along with a daily market, which helps to add to the buzzing atmosphere on a nice day. Further indication of the wealth of the area is the huge antiques market, which appears to be very selective in its opening, and large number of antiques shops on the far side of Upper Street, a must-visit for antique collectors visting London, but an inessential element to the area for most others.
Islington's quite easily reached from Central London, being in zone1. The most central tube station is Angel (Northern Line changing at Kings Cross-St.Pancras), or for the northernmost part of Islington, Highbury & Islington (Victoria line). Highbury being of course the famous home of Arsenal FC, so avoid that one on a Saturday if you're not a football fan.
Generally speaking then there's few complaints about Islington. As with north London as a whole, being out alone at night is ill-advised, but in the daytime, and before closing time at the pubs (Islington has a distinct lac
k of clubs) it's a vibrant, if pricey, place.