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Explore Islington's Upper Street

Home > London > Walks | Outdoor | Free | Day Trips
by Lynn Bradshaw (subscribe)
An English and IT teacher, and would-be writer, living in north London. I like to spend my free time travelling, visiting new places, taking photographs and cooking.
Published May 3rd 2013
A little stroll through Islington
Highbury and Islington Station

Explore one of the most interesting areas of London. Islington is easily reached by rail and tube and is a feast for the eyes. Bet you can't put your camera away.

Highbury and Islington Station is where the London Underground and the Victoria Line meet. It is a lively and vibrant district which has a village (albeit an eclectic and expensive) feel about. The area is bursting to the seams with designer shops, recycling and upcycling shops, eateries, drinking dens, reclaimed buildings, theatres, galleries and parks. What is there not to love about this part of London? I am going to take you on a little architectural tour of one section.

Explore Upper Street

When you arrive at the Highbury and Islington Station, go through the barriers and then turn right. Go along side the Famous Cock Tavern on to Upper Street. You are now at Highbury Corner. Turn right and go down Upper Street towards Highbury Gardens, then retrace your steps.

Buildings to look out for:

The town houses of Compton Terrace. The gardens in front are open to the public and a popular place to take in the rays and eat lunch.
Crompton Gardens, Islington
Compton Street Gardens

Union Church, an imposing structure designed by James Cubitt in the Gothic revival style and built in the 19th century. On the right hand side look out for House of Wolf, with its interesting façade.

Union Church, Islington
Union Church, Islington

The imposing Tyndale Mansions block of flats follow.

Islington Town Hall on the left: a seriously grand looking building.

The architecture and the shops along Upper Street is really interesting. Some of the buildings have been recycled for a completely different use, such as The Old Parrs Head pub on the corner with Cross Street, which is now a boutique.

Whilst walking keep an eye out for old shop signs peeking out from the newer signs. There pubs along Upper Street do not conform the flat pack interiors which were popular a few years ago. Each one has décor interesting enough to entice you in for a quick look.

Part of the pavement is around 1m above the road surface. This dates back to the days when animals were taken by road to reach the Royal Agricultural Hall and was to prevent pedestrians getting splashed by mud.

Keep a look out for the Workers Café with its traditional greasy spoon look. It is a reminder of the radicalism that was a part of Islington life in the 70s and 80s.

The Grand Union pub is a listed building and worth stopping to admire the façade.

Further down the King's Head Theatre has an interesting olde worlde interior.

Kings Head Theatre, Islington
Kings Head Theatre, Islington

Down Cross Street you can see the Crown & Anchor which was closed in 1998 and is now a residential building.

Down Florence Street you can find the Florence Tavern which was built around 1858 and has been a pub since 1860 (). Unfortunately, it is currently being refurbished but check out the tiling on the outside.

Continue to Highbury Green then retrace steps to the Railway Station.

For more information on the area visit
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Where: Upper Street, Islington
Cost: Free
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union chapel is UNION CHAPEL dear
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