London in the summer? Be a Londoner, welcome to Islington

  • By The Alchemist About Town
  • 03 Aug, 2017

Summer in the City Guide - Explore the city

London has so much to see and so much to do with its myriad of museums, theatres, big events, music venues and events, opera, ballet, parks and so on that we, Londoner, and you, visitors, end up doing/seeing the same things , the usual touristy landmarks. 

So I thought I focus this month on a specific borough, my borough,  and " show you around" so to speak so you can experience London like a Londoner, a summer edit and an intimate travel blog from a friend with things to do, places to go,  a bit of history thrown in and my recommendations for the week.

Shall we start? Welcome to Islington.

Islington lies to the north of the city centre and is the second smallest London borough although very densely populated. It started as an overcrowded London suburb transformed into a neighbourhood of high-class status, home to the vibrant Upper Street, Camden Passage and Chapel Market and the residential areas around Angel tube station.

Islington is home to approx 200,000 people, a vibrant and lively part of the world and benefits from a wealth of restaurants, clubs, fringe theatres and community events: buildings that began as inns and defunct social houses have since been re-emerged as fashionable gastropubs, wine bars, and boutiques all very well serviced by many bus lines and nearby tube stations.

Some interesting facts:

  • The escalator at Angel stationis the longest of all London stations, at 60m, with a vertical rise of 27.5m.
  • Tony Blair, Colin Firth, George Orwell, Lily Allen and Boris Johnson have all lived in Islington.
  • The licensees for the board game Monopoly used to meet for tea in the Lyon’s Corner House in Islington. That’s why The Angel, Islington has a spot in the game.
  • Islington was the first London borough to receive fresh water via an aqueduct running from Hertfordshire to the New River Headreservoir. This is now the path of the New River Walk - very charming and very peaceful - perfect for some solitude.
  • Many suffragettes, including Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davison, spent time in jail at Holloway pris
  • The Islington Farmers’ Market ,London’s oldest such market has some 30 stalls every Sunday on Chapel Market, selling a variety of fresh produce, local delicacies and organic foods. I go every sunday and i get my fresh fruit and veg from there together with artisanal cheeses.


Recommended this week:

Food and drinks

The Alwyne Castle - a pub for all seasons with great outdoor space perfect for the summer sunshine;  I have chosen The Alwyne as  #MyBestMealIslington  for August ( review coming out this weekend) - Loved it.

Amorino  Ice Cream Shop, 110 Upper St -  delicious artisanal ice-cream. 

My favourite flavour - pistachio. The only comment here is: YUM!!! A nice ice cream whilst strolling up and down the every busy Upper Street , browing through the shops, is a must have.

The Bar with No Name,69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA, has shed its previous mysterious reputation and is now packed out every night with people dying to sample the expertly crafted cocktails

Art & Culture

The Estorick Collection   of Modern Italian Art is a small museum hosted in Grade II listed Georgian town house recently renovated and now with a bookshop and café,  six galleries and art library.   Franco Grignani: Art as Design 1950 - 1990  is the exhibition currently showing,  featuring around 130 paintings and works on paper, including  graphic design projects many of which are on loan from private collections and from the Manuela Grignani Sirtoli Archive ( 5 July- 10 September)

Up Against it: Islington 1967  - An exhibition exploring the impact of the Sexual Offences Act (1967) and the 50th anniversary of the deaths of the borough’s most (in)famous gay couple, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, on 9 August, showing at   Islington Museum   (22 July - 21 October)


Mrs Orwell     by Tony Cox 

" SO WHAT YOU WANT, IN A NUTSHELL, GEORGE, IS A MISTRESS, HOUSEKEEPER, NURSE, LITERARY EXECUTOR AND MOTHER FOR RICHARD?" fringe theatre at its best, showing at the Old Red Lion in St John's Street ( 1 - 26 August ) .

PS: They serve amazing pies in cooperation with Pieminister Award Wimming Pies.

That's this weekend sorted; see you next week to explore some more xxx

The People Alchemist Blog

By The Alchemist About Town 01 Jan, 2018
Je vous souhaite une bonne et heureuse année 2018
Tanti Auguri di Felice Anno Nuovo 2018
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and lucky 2018


Laura xxx
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A year full of joy, happiness, health and wealth  - Believe in Yourself, You Can #SmashYourCeiling

Cheers xxx
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