Cafes and culture
Places like Islington and Stoke Newington brag a pleasing mix of hustle and bustle and green space. On Islington’s cosmopolitan Upper Street, stylish bistros line up against old-world pubs and contemporary cocktail spots. Also, the district’s Farmers’ Market was actually the first to be set up in London, launched in 1999 by food writer, Nina Planck. Today it pulls in big crowds each Sunday, with 30-plus stalls piled high with fresh produce.
Stoke Newington gives East London’s edgy postcodes a run for their money, with its vintage stores and Art Deco cinema. And close-by Highbury is sleepier than its neighbours, with a great line in gastropubs and a much-loved namesake park.
This North London area offers lots for culture buffs, too. Settle in for a dazzling performance at the Sadler’s Wells dance studio or the Almeida theatre. And in the summer, don’t miss Stoke Newington’s literary festival, dubbed ‘one of the best book bashes in the UK’ by pop culture website, The Quietus. 18th century Abney Park cemetery, one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries, is another must-visit. The burial ground of famous figures such as Salvation Army Founder, William Booth, it doubles as a nature reserve and offers workshops in things like stone carving.
Nearby Finsbury Park is best-known for its 46-acre expanse of the same name. This is another creative big-hitter, thanks to the Park Theatre and a reputable performing arts centre for young people.
North London’s sports stars
Arsenal supporters can count Emirates Stadium as a neighbour in Holloway, just north of Islington’s Upper Street. This suburb has a plethora of quality pubs, which, naturally, overflow with red shirts on game days. Opt for a flat at the Drayton Park Apartments and you will be next door to the stadium, which has been rated as one of the best places to live in North London.
Move north to Tottenham, meanwhile, and brilliant days out can be had at Spurs’ home stadium on White Hart Lane. N17 is celebrated for its diversity – head to Seven Sisters Road for a conga-line of flavours – from Italian antipasti to Greek grilled meats. Or hit Seven Sisters Market for a taste of Latin America.
Places like Alexandra Palace, Wood Green and Highgate have real family appeal, with good schools, leafy parks and Victorian and Edwardian housing. Highgate, in particular, offers spectacular views over the surrounding countryside, with a hilltop setting on the fringes of Hampstead Heath.
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