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Fun Things to Do in Islington, London

Are you looking for the best things to do in Islington? It is one of London’s coolest and eclectic neighbourhoods. Although I am biased as it’s also been home for the past 14 years. The area’s vibrancy has also been a magnet for the creative types over the years including Emma Watson, Lily Allen and George Orwell to name a few.

What to Do in Islington

image of two girls wearing sunglasses outside on a bench in front of the window of MokaPot Coffee Shop

Close to the hubbub of Central London, Islington holds its own. Stroll down trendy Upper Street awash with great bars, restaurants, decent independent theatres and the rough-around-the-edges Caledonian Road and Chapel Market.

There is plenty to do in the area, but I will list my top picks of things to do. Islington includes some of the most unique spots in the capital, so let’s look at the most unusual sides to this North London borough.

Hidden Stroll – New River Walk

image of sima and two children on blue and red scooters under the tree on the new river walk

New River Walk is a little local secret and can be easily missed. The scenic man-made park follows the New River and stretches from Canonbury Road to St Paul’s Road.

Winding its way through residential areas, the linear park is full of character. From weeping willows skimming the water to the rippling little water to wooden bridges that you can cross, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were far from the city.

There are ducks and moorhens and plenty of birds who adore this leafy corner of Islington too. Benches are placed all along the walk, so next time take a seat, sit back, and admire the tranquillity.

Where is the New River Walk?

Canonbury Grove, N1 2JH

Modern Italian Art – The Estorick Collection

A grade two listed Georgian townhouse on beautiful Canonbury Square is home to the Estorick Collection. The gallery houses an impressive specialist collection entirely devoted to Italian art from the first half of the 20th century mainly consisting of Futurist works. There are also some figurative artworks and sculptures from 1890 right up to the 1950s.

view of the gardens in Estorick gallery in islington

Wander the six rooms and admire the permanent collections as well as their temporary exhibitions. There’s also a gallery shop and a licensed Italian café with outdoor seating in the back garden, lovely for a spot of lunch. This is the only gallery in Britain devoted to Italian modern art; it’s a gem of a find.

Where can you find the Estorick Collection?

39A Canonbury Square, N1 2AN

Vintage Heaven – Camden Passage

view down Camden passage in islington

Tucked away behind Upper Street is a vintage paradise known as Camden Passage. Walk down the Georgian Islington alley complete with gaslights, flat-fronted houses and all kinds of quaint boutiques, artisan food stores and restaurants.

Since the 1950s, Camden Passage has made a name for itself as one of London’s antiques hotspots. The markets are held every Wednesday and Saturday. You’ll find a manner of curios from antique jewellery, art, and clothes. Guaranteed you won’t leave empty-handed.

Where is Camden Passage?

1 Camden Passage, N1 8EA

Japanese Tea House – Kasute 100

This quaint little Japanese o-chaya (tea house) in Camden Passage is a great place for a little peace and quiet. Sip on an array of Japanese teas including yuzu, sakura (cherry blossom), sencha teas, caramel hojicha and many more.

view from a Japanese I-chaya in islington

Enjoy a pot with one of Enjoy a pot with one of their delightful Japanese cakes. Choose from the likes of matcha tarts, hojicha flavour tiramisu and delicious rice jelly cakes known as mochi. Even though it’s a tea house I’m partial to their matcha lattes served in large cosy cups. There is also an extensive selection of Japanese spirits on sale for takeaway including whiskeys, shochu and sake.

Where is Kasute 100?

100 Islington High St, N1 8EG

City Escape – Freightliners City Farm

view of the flowers in freightliners city farm

This charitable urban farm in Lower Holloway occupies 2.5 acres of land and is free to visit. Its name comes from the railway goods that were used to house animals.

Run by a volunteer management committee, it is the only city farm with a non-slaughtering policy. Expect to see a wide variety of farm animals, many of which are rare and traditional breeds including cows, sheep goats chickens.

There is an ornamental garden as well as a vegetable and kitchen garden, and a newly planted orchard. The Strawbale Cafe is open Thursday to Sunday and serves artisan teas, coffees, soft drinks, vegetarian lunches and farm baked cakes.

How to get to Freightliners City Farm?

Sheringham Rd, N7 8PF

Puppet Magic – Little Angel Theatre

Hidden in the back streets of Islington since the 1960s in a former Temperance Hall is the Home of British Puppetry. The 100 seat theatre stages high-quality puppetry based on popular children’s books and also hosts touring puppet companies from around the world.

view of the outside of little angel theatre in islington

Little Angel Theatre also runs a Saturday Puppet Club, the Crafty Kids Club, and school holiday clubs to help inspire the next generation of puppeteers.

Where is Little Angel Theatre?

14 Dagmar Passage, N1 2DN

Hidden Garden – Culpeper Community Garden

gates to the culpeper community garden cultivated by and for local people in islington

The multi-award-winning Culpeper Community Garden is a hidden oasis amidst the streets and estates in Islington. Named after the famous 17th-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, this garden was created in 1982 out of a derelict site.

Now it is one of the most peaceful places to go in Islington. Wander the organic garden, relax on the lawn, check out the ponds, smell the roses in the pergolas and admire the ornamental beds, vegetable plots, seating, and wildlife area. It contains 50 plots including 2 raised beds for disabled gardeners

Where to find Culpeper Community Garden?

1 Cloudesley Rd, N1 0EJ

Discover Islington Things to Do with a Local

How about seeing the vibrant places in Islington, London, with a guided tour by a knowledgeable local? Explore all the London borough of Islington points of interest like pretty church courtyards, hidden cobbled alleyways, art galleries, charming antique shops and wander the picturesque canal. Learn all the inside secrets and history behind some of the famous landmarks in the area.

Things to Do Near Islington

Islington is a bustling borough of London. It is situated in the North of the city and is central to the popular and hidden things to do in London.

Camden is right next door to Islington. It is famous for its British rock ‘n roll scene, buzzing markets and many pubs. Don’t forget about Regent’s Park which is also nearby Islington.’

If you are a sports fan, venture to Emirates stadium and take a tour of the grounds. It is only a short distance away from the centre of Islington. What to do about getting around? Luckily the underground is situated close to all the best sightseeing areas.

Unusual Places to Visit in London

Of all the unique places in London, Islington is by far the most quirky. It contains many hidden gems and secret places to visit in London. This is probably due to the fact that it is one of the most well-connected boroughs in inner London.

Do you agree with all the spots on this list? Let me know in the comments below if you find any more unique places to go in London that should be on this list.

sima
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16 Comments

  • Binita Shah 3rd June 2020 at 10:39 am

    This is such a fab list! One for when I come to visit to meet Ziggy!!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th June 2020 at 2:29 pm

      Yes, definitely!

  • Angie Silver 3rd June 2020 at 10:55 am

    Looks like I need to pay Islington a visit!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th June 2020 at 2:29 pm

      You do! I’ll show both you and Oscar around.

  • kerry 3rd June 2020 at 11:58 am

    Ok, so the tea house and vintage market are must see’s for me! Loved this little tour of Islington x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th June 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Kerry. Hopefully we can do it soon together.

  • Bejal 4th June 2020 at 6:10 am

    I came to Islington many years ago but definitely will be requesting a guided tour from you on my next visit. Love the sound of the Japanese tea house, Camden passage and outdoor spaces.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th June 2020 at 2:28 pm

      Let’s hope that day isn’t too far away.

  • Jan (@chimptrips) 4th June 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Looks lovely. So much green space – you must forget that you are in London!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th June 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Sometimes yeah, there are some really peaceful spots here.

  • Emmalene | A Brummie Home and Abroad 6th June 2020 at 3:42 pm

    I love focusing on a different area whenever we come down to London, especially those that are hidden gems away from the tourist trail! So I look forward to exploring Islington on our next trip (whenever that may be!) x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 12th June 2020 at 3:20 pm

      I hope your visit is not too far in the distant future. You’ll love the sights and sounds of Islington Emmalene.

  • Catherine 9th June 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I absolutely love Islington, I used to work near there (opposite Exmouth Market) and I have close friends who live on Upper Street! It’s such a cool area and so close to some really great restaurants.

    C x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 12th June 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Not far from me at all. We’ll have to meet up next time you’re in the area!

  • Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi 28th June 2020 at 12:10 am

    Islington is such fun, fascinating neighbourhood in London!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 1st July 2020 at 7:54 pm

      Love it, so much to do and see and also so close to the city.

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

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