Quiet and secluded, you are more likely to find people sitting around and discussing a book along the canal in Islington than going out clubbing here. This area is extremely popular with those just moving to London thanks to the thriving property market, traditional homes, and newly built apartment buildings. The most coveted properties here are the elegant Georgian houses that line many streets, but they'll take a bit of luck (and a lot of money) to get one.
There are very few chain stores or restaurants in the area. Instead, each and every shop is unique. You can find the latest fashion trends at the boutiques that dot Islington High Street and Upper Street. Or explore the Camden Passage market, which is popular with tourists and locals alike, to see a great combination of collectibles, antiques, vintage fashion, gifts, and homewares.
The neighborhood has amazing dining options. Almeida is probably the most famous restaurant in the area and is consistently rated as one of the best in London. Locals boast that they have some of the tastiest Italian food around. You'll also find Mediterranean, Mexican, French, Turkish, and other cuisines, along with basics like a burger joint and casual breakfast spots. There are a number of pubs and cocktail bars here – some of the trendier ones are perched on rooftops, offering a great place to watch the sunset while you down a cold beer.
From a practical standpoint, Islington has several supermarkets and on weekends hosts the Islington Farmers’ Market, the first farmers' market in London. There are about thirty stalls every Sunday that sell delicacies and organic foods.
There’s a vibrant arts scene within Islington; theaters and galleries here showcase some of the best in all British dance, theater, and art. This single neighborhood has four well-known theters, including The Almeida Theatre, The King’s Head, The Tower Theatre, and Sadler’s Wells. Reading groups are popular in the area as well, both for children and adults. In fact, the neighborhood has some of the most active reading groups in all of London.
The City: 2.4 miles / 15-30 minutes by car / 20 minutes by transit / 15-20 minutes by bike
Canary Wharf: 5.5 miles / 25-40 minutes by car / 35-40 minutes by transit / 30 minutes by bike
Southwark: 3.9 miles / 20-45 minutes by car / 25 minutes by transit / 20 minutes by bike
Westminster: 4.2 miles / 25-45 minutes by car / 30-35 minutes by transit / 30 minutes by bike
Shoreditch: 1.7 miles / 10-15 minutes by car / 25 minutes by transit / 30 minutes by foot / 10 minutes by bike