Welcome to Islington: Upper Street 

  • By The Alchemist About Town
  • 27 Aug, 2016

About Town

Pic from bbc.co.uk

Islington is not just for the champagne socialists, whichever way you lean, it offers something for your weekend:

Welcome to Upper Street.

Upper Street is Islington's high street. There is an abundance of restaurants and bars, many fashionable shops, pubs, and theatres.

The hilltop village of Islington originally consisted of two streets in addition to the High Street: Upper Street and Lower Street, which diverged from the High Street at Islington Green and both date back to at least the 12th century.Henry VIII hunted duck in the ponds off Upper Street, while Walter Raleigh lived in Upper Street and owned a pub in Lower Street, since renamed Essex Road.

St. Mary's Church, Islington, was rebuilt in 1754 and dominates the Islington skyline and is still in full use today.

The Little Angel Theatre is a children's puppet theatre in a former Temperance hall, behind the church.

Directly opposite St. Mary's Church is the King's Head Theatre, founded in 1970, the first pub theatre in the UK, located in the back room behind the bar at the King's Head pub.

In the 18th century Upper Street started to be redeveloped from an agricultural to a residential area and it became later notorious (late ninetheen century) for its night-time entertainments. In 1870, Charles Dickens described the area as "amongst the noisiest and most disagreeable thoroughfares in London."

Food and drinks

Practically every other door in Upper Street is either a pub, a restaurant or some kind of eatery, a mix of well know chain-brands and smaller independents, too many to mention; there is certainly something for all tastes and price brackets.

A couple of gems worth mentioning for me:

Casa Manolo  , a tiny bit of Spain in the heart of Islington, offering eating-in as well authentic products for sale ( jamon iberico, Yum :-p ).

Udderliscious Ice Cream , an independent ice-cream parlour toward the Highbury end of Upper Street, making utterly deliciously scrumptious ice cream; they often experiment and they even do flavour requests ( yes, that's right). You have to try it.


Screen on the Green , love love love this "experience" cinema, offering a mix of independent, foreign language, culture, classics and the latest blockbusters movies (and you can drink a nice glass of red whilst enjoying the movie too, priceless). Star Trek Beyond   is showing now.

The Little Angel Theatre  , 3 Little Pigs currently on.


Twentytwentyone  , new and vintage meet in this design store beloved by architects, designers and other trendies (or people who want to be trendy). Quality, beautifully-designed homeware is carefully sourced and advice on investing in classic retro furniture available.

Little Paris , for the lovers of French home deco, Little Paris offers a time trip through an eclectic range of vintage and unique furniture, curiosities, contemporary fashion and home accessories directly sourced from France. The shop is constantly restocked, so it is worth popping in regurlalry.

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