The Monopoly players amongst you will know The Angel, Islington as the 3rd cheapest property on the board. Fortunately for Islington’s residents, today this is merely a poignant sign of the remarkable boost to the area’s status since the game’s creation in 1934. With property prices superseding those of Chelsea and Notting Hill, beautiful Islington has become one of London’s most fashionable neighbourhoods.
For the aesthetically-minded, wandering around Islington is a pleasure in itself. Elegant rows of Georgian terraces rub shoulders with the scruffier pockets that are the result of wartime bombing and the significantly poorer inhabitants of a century ago. Yet, as with many of London’s fashionable districts, this diversity is key to its charm.
So what makes Islington so very desirable? ‘Everything you need is in one place’, explains Lucy, a Market Researcher who has lived in the area for 4 years. ‘Cosy gastropubs, late night cocktail bars, retro shops and high street stalwarts, theatres, parks…’ All this within a stone’s throw of the West End, trendy Shoreditch, bustling King’s Cross and leafy Highgate, making the area hugely accessible as well as self-contained.
Widely considered to be the spiritual home of London’s left-wing intelligentsia, the atmosphere is of cultured sophistication and independent thought. The majority of shops and restaurants are local and unique in feel. ‘Camden Passage sells everything from fur coats to vintage Chanel purses, and on the weekends there is a market selling antique jewellery, vintage clothes and art’ reports Lucy of this well loved, cobbled antiques village. ‘Although on Upper Street you can now find anything from upmarket independent stores like menswear shop Sefton to mainstream fashion brands like Reiss and Whistles.’
As with any area inhabited by ambitious, cosmopolitan Londoners, eating and drinking out in style is non-negotiable, and Islington does not disappoint. ‘Every visitor should sample burritos and frozen margaritas at Chilango – best in London’ confides Lucy. She also recommends Ottonlenghi, a chic café created by the eponymous chef (‘decadent looking cakes, enormous meringues and all the slices, brownies and tarts you could ever wish for’), and an ‘incredibly good Italian restaurant on Higbury corner called Trullo which does amazing handmade pasta and charcoal grilled meat.’ Yum.
(Image credit: WeLoveFood)
This combination of gloss and locality seems to be a running theme, and I am beginning to understand what lies behind Islington’s magnetism. Its appeal to urban artisans, professionals and bohemian academics is clear. But what about families? ‘Kids cycle along the canals and round Highbury Fields, where there is an area showing things like Punch & Judy’ Lucy tells me, ‘Many local properties are big – it would be a great place to grow up.’
And so we have it. Chic and cultivated with the eclectic frisson that is so sought after by Londoners, Islington provides the perfect blend of style, beauty, space and diversity to accommodate residents and visitors alike. When I win the Euromillions, I know where I’ll be house-hunting…
This was a guest post written by Sophie Stewart.Google+