things to do in islington

Last Updated on: 28th June 2024, 12:02 pm

As I walk through Islington, I’m drawn in by its lively atmosphere. It’s full of independent shops, bustling markets, and cozy cafes. This area in London is perfect for a fun day out or a chill weekend.

Islington’s treasures range from the quaint Camden Passage to the beautiful Regent’s Canal. The area is rich in culture, with places like Sadler’s Wells Theatre for dance lovers. You can also relax in Highbury Fields with its great spots for a picnic.

I love exploring Islington’s literary spots like the Charles Dickens Museum. The area’s also alive with vibrant street art. This art reflects the local community’s creative vibe.

Islington welcomes all, whether you’re new to London or know it well. Its mix of attractions promises lots of fun and surprises. Let’s explore and uncover Islington’s treasures together. If you’re looking to explore more charming areas in England, check out our guides on things to do in Bridlington and Southport.

Table of Contents

Things to Do in Islington

1. Explore the Hidden Gem of Camden Passage

Hidden behind the lively Upper Street, Camden Passage is a vintage lover’s dream. It’s a secret gem in Islington. Walk through its Georgian alley, lit by gaslights and fronted by old houses. You’ll find vintage shops, antique stores, and foodie spots.

Discover the Vintage Boutiques and Antique Shops

In Camden Passage, every Wednesday and Saturday, markets come alive. They offer everything from antique art to unique clothes. The alley is also dotted with small, special shops. Here, you’ll find timeless pieces and handmade items.

Don’t miss these top shops:

  • Gill Wing Jewellery, celebrating its 30th year. It highlights unique pieces by local makers.
  • The Japanese Gallery, offers a rich collection of Japanese woodblock prints, both old and new.
  • Loop, London’s knitting heaven, has a vast yarn selection.
  • Sir Plus, a brand making eco-friendly menswear from surplus materials.

Indulge in the Culinary Delights of the Area

After shopping, Camden Passage has plenty for foodies. There are cosy cafes and international eateries. The Breakfast Club is great for brunch, while Frederick’s serves fresh, local food since 1969.

Camden Passage Islington

Looking for unique vintage finds or a charming spot? Camden Passage promises both. Immerse yourself in its history, culture, and food for a memorable visit. For more cultural adventures, consider visiting Hastings, where you can explore unique museums and historical sites.

2. Wander Along the Scenic Regent’s Canal

Get away from the busy Islington streets and start a calming trip along the Regent’s Canal. This waterway dates back to the early 19th century. It’s a peaceful place right in the middle of London. Walking or cycling by the canal brings a mix of old and new. You’ll see boats, quaint houses, and the calm water of the canal.

Enjoy a Relaxing Stroll or Cycle Along the Towpath

The Regent’s Canal towpath is perfect for walking or cycling. It’s 8.6 miles long, from Little Venice to Limehouse Basin and the Thames River. You’ll go through many places like Maida Vale, Regent’s Park, and Camden. Choose a leisurely walk or a brisk cycle. This path is a quiet break from city life.

Stop for Refreshments at Waterside Pubs and Cafés

Take a break at the canal’s pubs and cafés. The Narrow Boat Pub is waterside, serving good drinks and food. Then, there’s the Island Queen, serving the community since 1848. Join their list for a free Bloody Mary. These places are great to relax and enjoy the canal.

Regent's Canal in Islington

A walk along Regent’s Canal can be 1.5 to 3 hours. It varies on how long you explore the markets and shops. You might find Word on the Water, a bookshop on a boat, and Culpeper Park, a garden. The path goes to lively areas like Angel and Hoxton. You’ll see plenty of pop-up places and street art.

Want a calm wander, a refreshing cycle, or a break for a drink? The Regent’s Canal in Islington is a charming getaway. Dive into its history and warmth. You’ll find many surprises along its route.

3. Attend a Show at the Renowned Sadler’s Wells Theatre

Located in Islington’s heart, Sadler’s Wells Theatre is top-class. It’s known for dance, theatre, and music shows. These shows draw you into their world. You feel close to the act in its 325-seat venue.

The theatre’s ticket prices are friendly. They compete well with the West End. You can grab your tickets from the Ticket Office. It’s open six days a week, from noon to 6 pm.

The cafe at Sadler’s Wells, Fox Garden Court, offers a range of tasty foods. Prices start from £7.50. It’s open before and after shows. A great place for a snack or a drink.

Visiting is easy. Just a 250-metre walk from the Angel tube station. Also, nearby stations of Farringdon and King’s Cross/St. Pancras have step-free access. For cyclists, there are bike racks and hire points just outside.

For a remarkable cultural experience, Sadler’s Wells is a must. It’s a place where dance lovers and those new to the arts can enjoy live shows. Dive into London’s rich arts world here.

“Sadler’s Wells Theatre is a true gem, offering a diverse and world-class programme of dance, theatre, and music that constantly surprises and delights.” – The Guardian

sadler's wells theatre islington

4. Relax in the Tranquil Highbury Fields

Get away from the city’s noise and calm your mind at Highbury Fields. It’s a peaceful green space in Islington. This big park is perfect for a relaxing picnic, a quiet walk, or some fun outdoor activities.

Enjoy a Picnic or Outdoor Activities in the Park

Highbury Fields is a relaxing place to enjoy nature. Bring a tasty picnic and sit on the green grass under the shade of trees. For those not wanting to sit still, there’s walking or you can play sports like football, tennis, or do yoga.

The serene air and lush greenery of Highbury Fields help you forget about being in a city. It’s the place to be for some quiet time by yourself or for an active day out. There’s something here for everyone.

Highbury Fields

Since the 1700s, Highbury Fields has been loved by the people of the area and visitors alike. It has lots of things to do, from tennis to playing at the playground, for both sports fans and families.

The park is not just about activities; it’s full of beautiful plants and trees. They look different through the year, and you can spot animals like squirrels and birds. It makes the place feel calming and close to nature.

Looking for a quiet break or a place to have some outdoor fun? Highbury Fields in Islington is ideal. Discover this amazing spot and see how many ways there are to enjoy it.

5. Discover the literary history of the area at the Charles Dickens Museum

Islington is rich in literary history. A top spot to delve into this is the Charles Dickens Museum. It’s in a Georgian townhouse where Dickens lived. Here, you can get a special look at his life and works. Dive into the universe of Britain’s famous writer. Find out about the area’s strong links to literature.

The museum is full of items from Dickens’ life. You can roam freely through the well-preserved rooms. Discover the things that mattered to Dickens every day. From his desk to his library, every part is a piece of history.

Being in the museum helps you understand the area’s literary past. Islington’s streets and spots have been home to many famous writers and poets. By visiting this museum, you’ll see Islington’s hidden literary places. You will truly understand the fascinating tales of this lively area.

charles dickens museum islington

“The one great principle of the English law is to make business for itself.”
― Charles Dickens, Bleak House

If you adore Dickens or want to learn more about literary history, the Charles Dickens Museum is perfect. It takes you back in time to the charles dickens museum islington. Here, the literary heritage islington shines.

6. Discover Street Art at Whitecross Street Market

In the heart of Islington, London, you’ll find the exciting Whitecross Street Market. It’s known for its changing display of colourful street art. This market has been around since the 17th century and is loved by local and global artists. It turns the area into a lively artwork everyone can enjoy.

Walk through the market to see stunning murals, installations, and graffiti. Artists like Conor Harrington and Urban Solid show dynamic pieces. Others, like Otto Schade and Inkie, share more thoughtful works. There’s something for everyone, reflecting the area’s creativity.

Every year, Whitecross Street Market hosts a big street art festival. More than 25 top artists come together to show their skills. This event lets visitors watch the creation of new artworks. Pieces by famous artists like Piro, Epok, and Eko from Bristol make the market’s art trail rich and diverse.

But the art doesn’t stop with the festival. The market’s streets are always full of art, thanks to talented people like Perspicere. You can find the largest thread art portrait in the world here, among many other works. It all makes for a fantastic outdoor gallery.

Are you a fan of street art or just love discovering new creativity? Then, a trip to the Whitecross Street Market should be on your list. Dive into Islington’s whitecross street market islington scene and enjoy the street art islington. Don’t miss out on all the things to do at whitecross street market.

7. Visit the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

Step into the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art for a unique cultural experience. It’s in a beautiful old Georgian townhouse in Islington, London. The collection focuses on the best Italian art from the early 20th century. You’ll see amazing pieces by famous Futurist and Modernist artists.

Explore the Unique Gallery Housed in a Georgian Townhouse

Inside, there are six rooms filled with beautiful art. You can see both permanent displays and changing exhibitions. These show the detailed work and new styles of the artists from the Futurist and Modernist movements in Italy.

After exploring the art, relax in the pretty café. It has a lovely garden outside. Enjoy a drink or a snack and think about the amazing art you’ve seen.

The Estorick Collection is a great place for anyone who loves art or culture. You can support them by becoming a member. This gives you unlimited access to their exhibitions. Membership options vary in price, so there’s something for everyone.

To visit, call +44 20 7704 9522 or check out their website. There you can find out about exhibitions, events, and when they’re open. Dive into the world of Italian Futurism and Modernism at the Estorick Collection. It’s a true gem in the heart of Islington.

8. Shop ‘Til You Drop at Angel Central Shopping Centre

Looking for some shopping fun? Go to the Angel Central Shopping Centre. It’s in Islington, right at the main spot. You can find all kinds of shops here – from big names to independent ones. And there’s more than shopping. You can enjoy lots of events and fun things to do.

In June 2023, the Do Good Festival will bring happy times to Angel Central. There will be free craft lessons for the kids. Also, on 10th June, the UNIQLO Tate Play Workshop and a Block Printing Workshop will brighten your day.

What else is happening? On 17th June, Bella Gonshorovitz will be there. Also, enjoy the MUJI Community Market. Don’t miss the sewing class on 15th June. Lone Design Club will shine from 17th May to 22nd June. And there’s plenty more during special environment weeks.

As Christmas nears, Angel Central will buzz with festive cheer. From 9th to 17th December, there’s crafting and fun for little ones. Plus, fancy tattoos, face painting, and even acrobat jugglers on 9th December.

Angel Central is a top place for many reasons. It welcomes everyone to Islington, offering the best of shopping and fun. Looking for fashion, cool gifts, or just a good time? This place is perfect for it all. If you love dining and shopping, don’t miss our guide on Kensington and Liverpool Town Centre, where you’ll find a plethora of options.

9. Savour the Flavours of Exmouth Market

Exmouth Market, in Islington’s heart, is alive with food adventures. It’s a busy place full of unique coffee shops, eateries, and food stalls. These places offer their own twist on dishes from around the world and special homemade foods.

Walking through the market, delicious scents will fill the air. You’ll smell warm pastries, food cooking on grills, and fresh coffee brewing. You can enjoy a big English breakfast, tasty Thai meals, or a brilliant espresso. There’s something for everyone’s taste at Exmouth Market.

Indulge in the Diverse Culinary Offerings of This Lively Street

Black Bear Burger is a key spot on Exmouth Market. Known for its growth from a weekend spot to many London spots, it’s a local favourite. They focus on fresh, top-quality British meat for their delicious burgers. Fans love the Miso burger, brisket spring rolls, and wings in a special BBQ sauce.

If you’re into international food, Exmouth Market is perfect. It has Vietnamese bites, Spanish tapas, Italian pizza, and French treats. Even Gambian dishes are ready for you. Small plates cost £3 to £5, while mains range from £10 to £20. A meal for two usually clocks in at around £31.

For a snack or a long meal, Exmouth Market delivers. You can have a drink like Flying Dog: Doggie Style Pale Ale or Biddenden Kentish Cider with your food. This makes the Exmouth Market experience perfect.

Near Farringdon and Angel stations, getting to Exmouth Market is simple. It’s a great place to taste Islington’s varied food scene. Whether you live nearby or are just visiting, come and try the amazing food on this lively street.

10. Experience the Charming Union Chapel

Step into the captivating Union Chapel in Islington, London, for a one-of-a-kind cultural journey. It’s a Victorian Gothic landmark that’s more than just about service. It’s a much-loved place hosting music and comedy shows all year round.

Attend Atmospheric Music and Comedy Gigs in a Victorian Gothic Setting

The Union Chapel is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its stunning architecture and unique ambiance make it a special place. Inside, the Grade I listed Victorian Gothic chapel shines with its details and history.

The venue boasts an original Father Henry Willis organ. It comes with a special hydraulic blowing system, adding to its charm. This organ is a crucial part of what makes the place’s atmosphere enchanting.

The chapel’s schedule is packed with music and comedy events, suitable for all cultures and tastes. Whether you like small gigs with new artists or big acts in comedy, there’s something for you. A visit to the union chapel islington promises memorable moments.

There are different ticket types available, some at a reduced price. This is great for union chapel islington members and those looking for deals. Furthermore, the first Wednesday of each month offers guided tours. These tours share captivating details about the chapel’s past and design.

The Union Chapel is also a core part of its community. It aids with homelessness and acts as a forward-thinking church. So, your visit supports more than just a venue. It backs vital community projects too.

“Stepping into the Union Chapel is like stepping back in time. The Victorian Gothic architecture and intimate atmosphere create a truly captivating experience that truly sets it apart from other venues in London.”

Conclusion

Islington is lively and full of fun in London. It has many local things to see and do. You can find quaint areas like Camden Passage and Regent’s Canal. Or you can visit famous spots like Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Estorick Collection.

There’s so much for everyone. Whether you like to shop, eat, or just walk around, Islington is a top pick. It truly shows off London’s very best.

Islington is also great for different activities. You can try indoor skydiving or go-karting. For those who prefer relaxed fun, there’s virtual reality or visiting historic sites. The area is known for its fine dining. You could enjoy a meal at Sketch in Mayfair. Or have fun trying street food at places like Borough Market.

Islington is also perfect for special occasions like birthdays. You can get custom-made cakes and find unique experiences. From the peaceful Highbury Fields to the lively Camden Passage, Islington has a lot to enjoy. It’s a special place in London that’s just waiting for you to explore.

FAQ

What are the top attractions and things to do in Islington, London?

Islington offers many exciting activities. You can explore Camden Passage’s hidden gems and walk along Regent’s Canal. Seeing a show at Sadler’s Wells Theatre is a must.

Relax in Highbury Fields or visit the Charles Dickens Museum. Marvel at street art at Whitecross Street Market or the Estorick Collection. Shopping at Angel Central and dining at Exmouth Market are also great choices.

What can I find in the charming Camden Passage area?

Camden Passage is Islington’s secret spot. It’s known for its vintage shops and tasty food. Take a walk down the Georgian alleys, visit the vibrant markets, and enjoy the local food.

What can I do along the Regent’s Canal in Islington?

Regent’s Canal is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride. Enjoy drinks at the canal-side pubs. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy Islington’s unique charm.

What can I expect at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre?

Sadler’s Wells is Islington’s famous theatre. It stages exciting dance, theatre, and music performances. This 325-seater venue offers an intimate experience of live entertainment.

What can I do in the Highbury Fields?

Highbury Fields is Islington’s green heart. Relax with a picnic, take a walk, or enjoy sports like football and tennis. It’s perfect for outdoor fun and relaxation.

What can I discover at the Charles Dickens Museum?

The Charles Dickens Museum gives a peek into the great writer’s life. It’s set in the Georgian house where he once lived. See his personal items and learn about his writing.

What can I see at the Whitecross Street Market?

Whitecross Street Market is a place for fresh food, crafts, and art. Walk around the stalls to see vibrant street art. The colourful murals and graffiti make this spot unique.

What can I experience at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art?

The Estorick Gallery focuses on Italian art from 20th-century. Explore its collections. Don’t miss the café with its garden, perfect for a break.

What can I find at the Angel Central Shopping Centre?

Angel Central is Islington’s shopping hub. It has big and small shops, offering a wide range of goods. The centre is also a place for fun events and entertainment.

What can I experience at Exmouth Market?

Exmouth Market is a hotspot for food lovers. Taste global cuisines, like artisanal bread and gourmet coffee. Enjoy the bustling market’s atmosphere.

What can I expect at the Union Chapel?

The Union Chapel is a unique mix of church and venue. It hosts music and comedy shows. Experience its special feel at a show there.