5 of the best things to do in Islington

Curve bridge over the canal in Camden town

Islington is a district of inner London that sits north of the City and River Thames, and east of Camden and Soho.

It is popular with professional couples, students, and up-and-coming creative people. But what can you get up to in this vibrant borough?

Watch a movie at Screen On The Green

Address: 83 Upper Street, N1 0NU. Nearest Tube Station: Angel (Northern Line)

London has many quirky cinemas and Screen On The Green is one of the most notable.

With just one screen, movie choice is minimal and they only host three or four showings in a single day. But fans of arthouse films will struggle to find a more unique setting in which they can enjoy the latest independent releases and classic movies.

Forget traditional flip-down seats, instead, moviegoers sit in plush two-seater sofas with footrests. There’s a genuine old school theme, with the cinema’s red and green neon facade and barrel vault ceiling making it a distinctive and eye-catching part of Islington’s Upper Street.

Originally opened in 1913, the Screen On The Green is also one of Britain’s oldest continuously operating cinemas.

Take a tour of Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium

Address: Hornsey Road, N7 7AJ. Nearest Tube Station: Arsenal (Piccadilly Line)

Islington’s 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium has been the home to Arsenal Football Club since 2006 and there are various ways to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Gunners’ ground.

A self-guided audio tour, narrated by Bob Wilson, who won the FA Cup and First Division with Arsenal in 1970-71, takes you into the Directors Box, home and away changing rooms, players’ tunnel and pitchside. No advance booking is necessary and the entry fee includes free access to the Arsenal museum, Arsenal-branded headphones and tour certificate.

To make your Emirates tour all the more memorable, Lee Dixon, who helped Arsenal to four Premier League titles, will show you around, sharing his thoughts on the current squad, playing days, and maybe even some gossip from within the Arsenal camp.

Other ex-players available for tours include Nigel Winterburn, Perry Groves and Charlie George, while the VIP Legends tour involve Ray Parlour and Martin Keown.

Take a stroll down Camden Passage

Address: N1 8EA. Nearest Tube Station: Angel (Northern Line)

This narrow pedestrian walkway is famed for its many antique shops and antique market, which is held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and dates back to the 1960s.

Curve bridge over the canal in Camden town
It’s a great place to visit if you want to remember your time in London with a one-off collectible that is truly something different to what you can get at any other souvenir seller. The passage also boasts many inviting cafes, restaurants and traditional pubs where you can meet and relax with friends.

You run the risk of bumping into some famous faces down Camden Passage too. Rod Stewart, Emma Watson, Kate Moss, Barbra Streisand, Will Young and Billie Piper have all been spotted down here over the years, and it is a regular shooting spot for BBC TV’s ‘Cash In The Attic’ and ‘Bargain Hunt’.

Chill out in a park

Islington is blessed with many glorious outdoor spaces. There’s nothing as vast as the 350-acre Hyde Park near the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel, instead, Islington boasts lots of smaller but just as lush green spaces like Holford Gardens, Myddelton Square Gardens, Spa Green Gardens, Spa Fields Park, Barnard Park, Highbury Fields and Claremont Square.

Any of these open areas are worthy of a relaxing picnic or gentle stroll.

Go to a gig or show

The borough also boasts a thriving arts scene with legendary live music venues and performance spaces.

Union Chapel (Compton Terrace, N1 2UN) is a gothic-style 19th-century congregational church that doubles up as a drop-in centre for the homeless when it isn’t staging gigs for Elton John, Beck, Björk, Ryan Adams, The Civil Wars, Thurston Moore, former Kinks member Ray Davies and actor Hugh Laurie.

There’s also the Garage (20-22 Highbury Crescent, N5 1RD) and the 800-capacity O2 Academy Islington (16 Parkfield Street, N1 0PS), which is housed inside the Angel Central shopping centre. Both are well-established venues on the circuit for up-and-coming bands and top-notch tribute acts.

For theatre, there’s the Pleasance Theatre (Carpenters Mews, North Road, N7 9EF), which is worth exploring if you’re keen to try witness a memorable boundary-pushing production. The theatre regularly holds ‘work in progress’ sessions in a bid to provide a platform to new, emerging talent.