The Borough of Islington – Different But in a Good Way

Islington’s Upper Street

Islington is the second smallest London borough and yet the diversity it offers has turned it into an attractive living area for a wide range of social groups. From students and young professionals to families and celebrities – everyone wants to get their bite from Islington. Although it takes only a half-an-hour walk to get to the city’s central parts, the borough is well-linked to all of the key areas in the English capital thanks to the great number of tube stations which are located in near proximity.

Home of some of London’s most desirable districts

Islington’s Upper StreetThe district of Islington N1 is one of the trendiest and most stylish spots in London. That, however, was not always the case. Just a few decades ago, the area was a highly unpopular suburb which lacked the vast green open spaces which can be seen in nearly all other parts of the UK capital. Well, Islington is still not as lush as one might expect it to be. Nevertheless, now it has many public squares which seem to make up the fact that there are scarcely any big parks on the district’s territory. The must-go place in Islington is Upper Street which features not only pretty cafes and clothing shops but also old pubs and even antique stores. While during the day, Islington may appear like a peaceful and quiet district, it transforms into a vibrant party hub as soon as the sun comes down.  The abundance of restaurants, bars and clubs attracts people from nearby districts every night.

Another affluent area in the London Borough of Islington is Highbury N5. Even though it lacks the busy nightlife scene of Islington, this is a place that has its own selection of unique restaurants and bars. The truth is that Highbury has always had a special power over people. That is probably why it is featured in so many books and films. Emma, one of Jane Austen’s best novels, is set namely in this area. Thackeray’s famous Vanity Fair also makes references to Highbury. If you have paid attention to one of the first scenes in Four Weddings and a Funeral, you will spot that it, too, was filmed in the district.

On the rise

Emirates StadiusThe borough has witnessed some major regeneration and redevelopment over the last few years. Therefore, the districts of Islington and Highbury may soon get some fresh competition. Holloway N7 is one of the up-and-coming areas in Islington. It already managed to steal the football crown of Highbury when in 2006 the district’s Arsenal F. C. moved to Holloway’s Ashburton Grove which is now known as Emirates Stadium. That had a very positive effect on the development of the area as it welcomed an impressive range of coffee shops, residential projects and restaurants. Nevertheless, the district still preserves most of its old-days style, which make it even more interesting. A great part of the local population consists either of university students or of young professionals. This is mainly due to the fact that one of the campuses of London Metropolitan University is set in Holloway. Also, the district’s residential market is relatively affordable.

A multicultural borough

The population of the London Borough of Islington is very multicultural. While that is a fact which applies to all the districts that are part of it, areas like Clerkenwell EC1 and Archway N19 stand out from the rest. Archway is home to one of the biggest Irish communities not only in London but in the country in general. Although the Irish presence was much more significant in the past, it can still be seen all over the district. Take a walk on the local streets and you will soon come across classic Irish pubs. One can even get different Irish newspapers in Archway since they are available at most newsstands.

Clerkenwell, on the other hand, is nicknamed the Little Italy of London. It all started back in the mid-19th century when a couple thousand Italian immigrants arrived in the area and started to settled down and open businesses. Well, most Clerkenwell’s Italian population has already moved to other parts of the city or the country but there are still a few Italian restaurants and companies that continue to operate in the area.