London is one of the world’s great urban centres yet its neighbourhoods feel like a collection of local villages. All unique with their own atmosphere, independent restaurants, shops and bars, and residents beaming with pride.
There’s nothing quite like cycling across the city to visit another neighbourhood, spending a lazy afternoon getting to know the nooks and crannies. But still nowhere beats your own backyard!
For Folklore that’s Islington. Known for its design stores, thriving arts scene, local coffee shops and diverse choice of restaurants, we thought we’d give you the low down and share some of our favourite spots.
Start your day with a late breakfast at Towpath Cafe on Regent’s Canal. It has been luring passing walkers and cyclists for three years with its waterside location, damn good coffee and tasty brunch menu. Watch and listen as the rain (or maybe even snow) pummels the canal!
Albam is worth a visit for men’s clothes. They use the finest fabrics in factories that have generations of expertise. You can find them on Upper Street and online.
Micycle is nestled between a crafts shop and butchers on Barnsbury Street, a leafy street lined with lovely Georgian terraces. A wonderful, local bike shop.
Flashback is a gem of a record shop on Essex Road. Specialising in vinyl, you’re bound to find something interesting if you’re patient with the crates!
If shifting through records doesn’t do it for you pop next door to Past Caring, a local vintage store offering a ramshackle collection of clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac.
Don’t leave Essex Road without visiting the treasure trove of independent food stores. There’s a fresh fruit and vegetable market, an old style bakery, a well known family butcher and one of London’s best fishmongers. An absolute must if you need provisions to cook at home later!
And of course Folklore is located centrally on Upper Street within a few minutes walk of all of the above.
Want to work those legs a little harder? Chapel Market is a daily street market near Angel station. London’s first ever farmers’ market is on every Sunday or you can just banter with the local traders during the week. Bring your negotiation skills!
Highbury Fields is definitely worth a stroll. The largest open space in the Islington borough will give you a real feel for local life. And there’s certainly lots of fun to be had for families.
There’s one for the adults and more importantly one for the kids!
Little Angel Theatre is the home of British puppetry. The 100 seat theatre stands side-by-side with a workshop, where all the new productions and puppets are developed, carved and constructed. A day out that the little folk will never forget.
The Almeida is Islington’s best kept cultural secret and an award winning theatre that plays regular host to a diverse range of British and international drama. Named after the street on which it’s located.
Tucked away on a quiet backstreet, The Island Queen is a quaint oasis of comfy seats, high ceilings and intriguing original features reminiscent of a classic London gin palace. A must if you’re feeling thirsty – and even more so if you’re a fan of board games.
If cocktails are your thing, then head for 69 Colebrooke Row. Officially known as ‘Bar With No Name’, this highly regarded spot is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Essex Road and Upper Street. It’s all about the expertly mixed drinks.
Trullo is a local star named after the beautiful white washed conical buildings so plentiful around the Puglian countryside. The kitchen is run by Tim Siadatan, one of the original recruits to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen project. Book ahead.
The Duke of Cambridge is another favourite. It opened in 1998 as Britain’s original organic pub with business values that remain the same today. Dishes are made from the best seasonal ingredients available while drinks are carefully sourced from independent producers. A breath of fresh air.
Screen On The Green is a single screen cinema that opened its doors in 1913. You can sink back into a two seater sofa with a nice bottle of red and something other than the latest blockbuster. Sign up to their newsletter and you’ll get the nudge to book before the crowds find out. Expect a full house all weekend.
Not only is Union Chapel one of London’s most unusual and intimate music venues, it’s also a working church and charity drop-in centre for the homeless. It was built in the late 19th century in the Gothic revival style and is now Grade I listed. Check out upcoming gigs here.