24 Hours in Islington
Islington is home to more restaurants than days of the year, Europe’s third longest escalator aaand the best football team in the world.
And with that, we’ve just whetted your appetite, improved your trivial knowledge, and lied.
But we promise not to tell porkies when bringing you the best possible way to spend 24 hours in Islington – a bustling centre for all things edible, drinkable and cultural.
You can thank us later…
All-day breakfasts tend to get boring by the afternoon, and leave you with no time to do anything else. So set aside an hour or so and choose a breakfast spot from one of the many available to you in the pedestrianized Camden Passage.
Have a Viennese start to your day at Kipferl, with semmel, jam & honey or, if you’re after more of a mouthful, opt for the Bauernfruehstueck, a classic stir fry of potatoes, onions, bacon and egg.
Alternatively, wake up by smelling the Coffee Works Project and choose a fresh pastry to go with your flat white. These are delivered by bicycle each morning by The Little Bread Pedlar. They’re gorgeous.
There’s also a branch of the ever-popular Breakfast Club. Membership entails heading there in the morning, ordering something with eggs, and eating it. No joining fees. Just tasty breakfast staples and lots of fun.
Take a stroll around Camden Passage and float between the independent shops and antique stalls. Start off at Smug, the brainchild of local girl Lizzie, who’s design-led store sells kitchenware, stationery and beautiful accessories before moving on to Paul A. Young’s award-winning chocolate shop. (Warning: consuming too many of their truffles may, strangely, cause clothes to shrink.) Then venture out onto Islington’s main drag, Upper Street, where you’ll find more quality grown-up shopping at Albam menswear as well as Twentytwentyone and Coexistence – two heavyweights in the designer furniture game.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch, so you’re going to have to pay for one. Spend your money wisely by heading to Bellanger – a grand-café with a thick Franco-German accent – for a tarte flambeé or a croque monsieur. Or for something a little less glossy, enjoy traditional Nordic cooking at Rok Islington, with wood-fired meat and pickles aplenty.
Chances are… it’s raining, so head to Everyman Cinema’s Screen on the Green for the latest green-screened blockbuster or a live broadcast from the National Theatre. If in-the-flesh action is what you’re after, waltz down to Sadler’s Wells Theatre – the world’s number one venue dedicated to international dance – to catch an afternoon performance of anything from ballet to hip-hop. Sit back and watch other people work up your appetite for dinner.
It’s about time you took advantage of the wealth of boozers tucked amongst the Georgian townhouses away from Upper Street. A good place to start is The Canonbury Tavern – equally fit for cosy winter nights by the fire and long balmy evenings in the beer garden. There’s also Islington’s first brew pub, the Earl of Essex, which is suitable for all your beer-drinking needs.
Known as ‘Supper Street’ to those that live there, Islington’s main road is so replete with restaurants it makes the simple task of choosing dinner tricky. So bypass it altogether and head north to Highbury Island where you’ll find perfect pasta at Trullo and proper rotisserie chicken at Le Coq.
For expertly made cocktails in an intimate setting seek out The Four Sisters Bar or 69 Colebrook Row (identifiable by its lantern outside). Otherwise have a more raucous time at The Winchester or Dead Dolls House where you can put a version of what you learnt at Sadler’s Wells into practice until 4am. For specific club nights and live music, there’s also Electrowerkz – a warehouse space where emerging dance acts play well into the early hours.
Now consider yourself fed, watered and cultured… sort of.
Liked spending 24 hours in Islington (at least virtually)? Then – crazy idea – you might want to check out some of our other area guides right here…