Step Into the Borough
Islington is a sophisticated place, distance in only 30 minutes from the City of London, with a rich history and cosy homes, it has more cafes, bars and dinners than days of the year. If you consider being one of its residents, here’s our list with 20 simple steps to blend in.
Support Arsenal FC
Even if soccer is not your thing, you will never be a true Isligtoner, if you haven’t watched at least one game at the Emirates Stadium. The fourth-largest football stadium in the whole of England awaits you. Arsenal F.C. marks some significant moments in the world’s football history. Here are some ice-breakers when sharing a beer after the game:
- The fatal 13 is a digit of honour for the Gunners. It’s the highest number of FA Cup trophies ever won – an Arsenal’s record which is still unbeaten.
- Arsenal holds another crucial record as well. 49 – That’s the number for the longest run of unbeaten League matches, achieved between May 2003 and October 2004. They also hold the record for the longest top-flight win streak. Did we mention the 2005-06 season?! Back then, Arsenal set a Champions League record by going ten matches without conceding a goal.
- Arsenal has won 45 trophies in their illustrious history, among them you can count 13 LEAGUE CHAMPIONS and the record-breaking 13 FA CUPS.
- On 22 January 1927, their match at Highbury against Sheffield United was the first English League match to be broadcast live on radio.
- The world’s first ever live televised football match was broadcasted on 16 September 1937 – it was an exhibition game between Arsenal's first team and the reserves.
- The first edition of the popular BBC’s program Match of the Day, screened highlights of the Arsenal’s match against Liverpool, set on 22 August 1964.
- It seems that the media simply loves the Gunners. The first live public broadcast of a sports event on 3D television was held on January 2010 – it represented the Arsenal’s match against Manchester United.
Pay Some Respect to the Origins
In May 2008 the Islington Museum opened its doors for visitors in order to honour the borough’s past and to make its intellectual residents proud, through a number of exciting ways. The museum houses a gallery, covering nine themes on local and social history: childhood, food and drink, fashion, leisure, healthcare, radicals, caring, home and wartime. One of the most bizarre items on display is a bust of Vladimir Lenin, who used to live and work in Clerkenwell. Six days a week, you have the chance to expand your knowledge about the fascinating past and the promising future of the borough of Islington for free, since there’s no entry tax.
How the Ice Meets Boats, Without Sinking Them
We all know about the Italian gelato and simply love a good sundae, covered with chocolate syrup and decorated with sour cream – ice cream. The snack, which we crave during a hot summer day, despite wanting that gorgeous summer body. But did you ever wonder who’s to blame about this sweet dessert – well, actually you can learn the whole story on your own by visiting the London Canal Museum. Yes, you heard right. This unique building can reveal you not only the history behind London's canals, the cargoes that were carried, the people who lived and worked on the waterways, and the horses that pulled their boats, but offers tunnel boat trips as well and the opportunity to make ice cream the Victorian way.
Go for a Brunch, you Won’t Forget
The chances are you’ve watched the 1985’s classic called “The breakfast club”, well we’re not going to talk about it, but still you’ll find yourself on a rather unusual set if you choose the eponymous cafe for a good, old brunch. How does Drag brunch or Becky's Bottomless Brunch – sounds to you – well, we were confused as well but then suddenly remember that it’s 2019 and it was about time to spice things up. At Angels you can be a part of Boozy Bingo, while enjoying your meal. There are many delicacies on the menu but the real question is - Have you got the balls?
Visit the Heavenly Venue of the Gods
Union Chapel may be many things – a working church, a community centre, a charity drop-in centre for the homeless in Islington, a Grade I-listed building, a unique example from the 19th century Gothic revival style, but definitely its most impressive use is as a music venue, containing one of the finest organs in the world (especially made by Henry “Father Willis”). It was voted London's Best Live Music Venue by readers of Time Out magazine in 2002, 2012 and again in 2014. The amazing acoustics there are something amazing, which we simply cannot put in words. Union Chapel is an architectural jam, which every music lover should experience on his own.
Take your Date to the Palace
Hear the music play, fill your heart with art and enjoy a fancy dish – not necessarily in this order but still give the Kings Place a chance to dazzle you and your date, especially if you believe that you can’t make a first impression twice. As we all well know from Cabaret – What good is sitting alone in your room – start celebrating; your table’s waiting.
The Ink Remains
Find yourself wondering in front of the windows of “The family business tattoo”. We’re pretty sure that almost everyone has considered the idea to memorize a moment, an event or a person, to make it last forever by permanently imprinting it beneath the skin. Don’t rush it. Take your time to consider if and what you really want to carry everywhere you go, and remember this simple rule - it’s easy not to have any tattoos, but if you allow yourself even one – it won’t be your last for sure…
Dance is the Hidden Language of the Soul
Art will save the world – she said, that’s why it’s essential to have at least one friend who graduated from the Urdang academy for independent performing arts if you’re about to stay in Islington. Not only you’ll have the chance to enter into the artistic circles but you’ll be informed about every cultural event that’s worth your time, plus, you may have free tickets on the front row. And let’s be honest – who hasn’t wondered what would be like to explore the world of dance, while staying in bed… Don’t blame us for this – the credit goes to George Bernard Shaw, who famously said that Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
Have a Picnic at Highbury Fields
Highbury Fields is the largest open space in the borough of Islington. There are recreational facilities among its 29 acres of land but still, it offers numerous perfect spots to occupy with a blanket and a basket full of homemade dishes. Actually, the park started as a Christmas present for the residents of Islington. On 24th December 1885, there was one more reason for celebration – on this date, Highbury Fields were declared to serve forever as an open to the public henceforth. Pro tip – if you want to care for nature, you can become a part of Highbury Fields Association, founded in 1975.
Attend a Wedding at The Old Finsbury Town Hall
You simply can’t miss this gorgeous red brick jam of the Revival Renaissance but there’s only one way to fully experience the magic of The Old Finsbury Town Hall – a wedding ceremony. So the next time you hear that someone is considered to tie the knot, be especially careful if the happy couple is considering the Magnificent Art Nouveau vintage décor building as a venue. Your bucket list will never be fully complete, until this significant point is marked as accomplished.
Have a Meal at The Wilmington Public House and Dining
It’s all about quality. Here you can enjoy dishes, which look terrific even with no filter add. Maybe it’s the attitude, maybe the ever-changing menu or the fresh, local ingredients used to make every dish special or maybe the whole 19th-century atmosphere of the venue somehow contributes to the taste – we’re not quite sure what the exact reason is but still we’re not leaving this venue behind. Plus, you can choose from 14 draught beers and ciders, and 5 changing guest ales, with a focus on London cask producers.
Climb the Canonbury Tower
The past of Canonbury Tower is filled with tales of impressive residents, unsolved mysteries, urban legends and even a royal conspiracy theory, If you consider to call yourself a true Islingtoner, we strongly advise you to spend some time on the archives or at least to take a guided tour through the dwelling history, which stretches back around 500 years. Even if you haven’t heard the rumours, well-kept beneath the four walls, it’s definitely a must to climb on top of the tower and give yourself the chance to see the fascinating 360-degree view, that will reveal itself in front of your very eyes.
Lose Yourself in Italy
No, we didn’t skip the geography classes and we’re aware that Italy is a country on its own – we’re not Americans after all, but according to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “We are all pilgrims who seek Italy”. Why don’t you start by visiting the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art - the only gallery in the United Kingdom devoted to modern Italian art? Once Mark Twain wrote that “The Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo”, well we can’t promise that you’ll have the chance to see his masterpiece, since the core of the collection are Futurist works, but it also includes figurative art and sculptures dating from 1890 to the 1950s. Innovators such as Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, Luigi Russolo and Ardengo Soffici are all represented here, accompanied by works, created by Giorgio de Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Sironi and Marino Marini. The museum contains six galleries, an art library, a cafe and a bookshop. As the famous Italian proverb says - “If you can’t live longer, live deeper” take a glass of wine and explore the art.
Spend the Night at the Egg
Should you decide to enter the nightclub, you’ll definitely need some fried eggs afterwards, probably a whole gallon of water and don’t forget to bring an Aspirin – you’ll thank us later. A venue like no other, Egg London continues to push the boundaries. The Victorian warehouse in Kings Cross offers a variety of spaces indoors and outdoors, along with a 24-hour license so don’t even think about leaving before the dawn.
Headbang at O2 Academy Islington
Formerly known as Carling Academy Islington. This music venue is the home of rough rock and metal sounds to bang your head to. Still, crowd-surfing and drink-throwing result in bidding you goodnight and ejecting you from the venue, so basically be nice and don’t do anything stupid, and don’t forget to bring the common sense with you when attending a show at O2 Academy.
Own a Unique Piece From Camden Passage
The picturesque car-free Islington’s street is known for its antique shops, markets and its array of independent shops, cafes and restaurants. During the week it hosts an antique market, a book market, a farmer’s market (selling a range of locally grown organic foods) and a market with an eclectic mix of vintage & retro clothes, pictures, vintage luggage, interesting one-off items, collectables and bric-a-brac. Still, the antique market is what made this venue so popular among Londoners. From the opening of its first antique shop in the 1960s, the Camden Passage has grown to a total of 200 dealers nowadays. Most of the traders are specialists. They really know their stuff so just chatting with them can be very informative as well as a lot of fun. Strive to find the bargains; prices can be high so haggling is essential.
Although there are quite many stock goods, some services are not covered by the local market. So should you ever need any help when it comes to taking care of your residence, Royal Cleaning operates in Islington to make your home neat and tidy.
Tell us a Story From The Garage
No, we’re not asking about your first car, probably the first hangover would ring the right bell in this case. Another live music and club venue that you have to visit. With a story dating back to 1906, this former villains meeting point is now an all-day bar, which hosts numerous concert by household names in rock, hip-hop and pop.
Score 20 at FabricXX
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Fabric XX – that’s why through the year there will be 20 special party events to help us memorize this special birthday. The club is known for its purpose-built, three-room layout and world-class sound systems. If you’re looking for electro sound – you’ve just found the right place to lose it up as Jeff Mills said – “Techno is everything you haven’t imagined yet”
The Show Must go on
… and here it does for more than four centuries. Welcome to Sadler’s Wells Theatre - the world's No.1 venue dedicated to bringing the very best international and UK dance shows to the London audiences. Since 1683 this cultural hub is here to delight you, which makes it the longest ongoing entertainment facility in the UK, after the Theatre Royal. The present Sadler’s Wells Theater is almost an entirely new building, which opened to the public on the 11th of October 1998 for the sixth time in its rich history. If you hesitate to buy a ticket for a show or just go to a movie remember the quote from the French poet Charles Baudelaire - “The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.”
Catch a Movie at Everyman Screen on the Green
As we mentioned a movie, the taste of freshly made popcorn emerged in our mind. We are ready with our next venue in Islington, which every resident of the borough has visited at least once - Everyman Screen on the Green. The Screen On The Green is a single screen cinema, which eliminates the well-known question we all ask ourselves, while in line – What to watch. The current building was opened in 1913, which makes it one of the oldest continuously running cinemas in the UK, nowadays it screens British films and cult classics.