Islington was once a Middlesex village, originally inhabited by the Saxons, was one of many pastoral manor areas that was eventually absorbed by the City of London as it expanded beyond its original borders. At one point, the borough was a provider of water for parts of London and a major trade route thanks to Regent’s Canal. In the present, there are plenty of exciting things about Islington, from its home to the fictional 12 Grimmauld Place in the Harry Potter Series, as well as being the location for Nail Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and Nick Hornby’s About a Boy. You can find many interesting places to go in the borough and here are five of our favourites. Let us know your own in the comments.
A pedestrian thoroughfare just off the Upper Street, Camden Passage is perfect for an afternoon stroll and some shopping. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, the market is out in full force, though you can also find a market in Pierrepoint Arcade on Sundays and Mondays, as well as a book fair on Thursday and Friday. The antique shops along the passage are a big draw for most people and there are many cafes, restaurants, and pubs to choose from if you’re feeling a bit hungry.
The Crystal Maze
Easily one of the best game shows of the 1990s, The Crystal Maze saw Rock Horror creator Richard O’Brien have two teams competing to collect as many time crystals as they could throughout the four parts of the maze. The Crystal Maze in Islington takes this premise and has turned it into team-building exercise in the vein of the puzzle room craze. A team of up to eight people move through the four zones (Futuristic, Medieval, Aztec, and Industrial) playing games and collecting crystals, with each crystal giving the team more time to collect golden tickets in the Crystal Dome. Tickets are available to purchase.
London Canal Museum
Regent’s Canal was a major feature of commerce in Islington for years. The London Canal Museum is dedicated to remembering this history, educating visitors on the trade that flowed down its waters as well as the culture that developed. You can take a look inside a canal boat and study the art that became known as “roses and castles” that decorated them. Afterwards, feel free to walk the canals yourself and take in the years of history and present beauty of the area.
The Screen on the Green
Today, it seems hard to imagine that cinemas used to show only one film at a time, and at the Screen on the Green, this still takes place. Everyman Screen on the Green hosts both new films as well as cinema classics and you have to pay attention to the schedule to know when your film is available. Its exterior is famous for its red and green neon, while the interior features better seating than most of its competitors with comfy chairs, foot stools, and couches. There’s also a fully-stocked bar so you don’t have to watch your film thirsty.
Home to London Arsenal F.C. since 2006, you can find more than just a football match on its grounds. The “Arsenalisation” of the stadium took place in 2009, further revamping it to spotlight as much team spirit as possible, this includes the “Spirit of Highbury”, a shrine to all the club’s past members. You can also take a stadium tour that on both match and non-match days includes the Director’s Box, home and away changing rooms, players tunnel, pitchside, and much more. A Legends tour provides access to all these areas, but with the added benefit of a former player relating his personal knowledge and experience with the team. You can also tour the Arsenal Museum and experience the club’s history from 1886 to the present. If you can, be sure to plan for a match day when things get really exciting.