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Highbury and Islington Local Area Guide

Highbury and Islington are about as close to the City as you can get without having to live in a flat, which is why bankers and lawyers wanting an elegant house and a quick commute are still queuing up to buy.

Over the past 20 years the area has become both more up market and blander as affluent professionals move into a part of London previously considered a bit arty and dodgy. In last decades, people born and bred in Islington have moved out and you’ve got the City bankers and lawyers coming in.

However, the Islington continues to be socially assorted. More than partially of their populaces reside in social housings, and state schools are commonly underprivileged. Luxurious terraces situate alongside dreary council estates. For several Islington enthusiasts, this edginess is a fraction of its attraction.


Highbury and Islington are frequently linked together as one area although architecturally, they are rather different. The Georgian style terraces with unique iron and fanlights railings, line up the squares and streets of Islington & Barnsbury to the west of the Liverpool Road. By comparison, Highbury is generally Edwardian and Victorian, with hard red-brick houses alongside Baalbec Roads and Calabria near to Highbury Fields.

The area draws:

Rich professionals (lawyers, bankers, politicians, and City workers); childless couples with two incomes and access to parental funds, first-time buyer, and wealthy international students.

Staying power?

It depends. Families with children often move further out to greener suburbs, such as Crouch End or Muswell Hill, nervous of Islington’s poor schools. Downsizers move about nearer into town to Bloomsbury or Clerkenwell.


Islington and Canonbury; a calm Victorian enclave by the New River, are commonly more costly than Highbury. Islington is about 10% more pricey than Highbury Prices depend on a host of factors such as views or modernization. You get larger residence in Highbury but those red-brick residence in infrastructures like Calabria are not everyone’s cup of tea —they can be a bit unwelcoming.

Flourishing areas:

The Tatty Essex Road was once Angel’s poor relation but no longer. People always used to think Angel stopped at the green but it’s stretching up Essex Road now. It’s quite busy and sometimes seedy; Holloway Road is convenient, with lots of buses and the Piccadilly line.

What’s new?

Innovative homes are presently taking shape alongside Islington’s canals and in the previous warehouses. The immense action is by the City Road Basin resting on the Regent’s Canal, where the dreadful warehouses were knocked down and the water stream space exposed to a public plaza. There are campaigns designed for two soaring blocks of luxury flats of 28 and 35 storey buildings by the south end of the basin.

Islington Green has had a facelift, with new sculptures and seating, and improvements to Angel are set to continue under the government-funded Angel Bid improvement scheme.


Islington’s secondary, attained worst on a few inner-London areas in GSCE league tables around this year and prosperous residents are transferring their children to private school institutions in Highgate, Hampstead, or at Central London. The top state performers however, are Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (girls), Central Foundation (boys) and St Aloysius RC (boys).

Shops and restaurants:

Upper Street has got smarter and duller over the past 20 years as hardware stores and second-hand bookshops are now turned into chains along the Angel Shopping Centre and in Upper Street. Although designer clothes boutiques and antique shops and still line the narrow streets of Camden Passage, and there are dizzying array of cafés and restaurants.

Green space/culture:

Islington is one of the most urban boroughs in London and green spaces are small and subtle. However, one of the most exquisite stretches of the Regent’s Canal (the longest tunnel) runs at the back of Duncan Terrace. Further to the North, the New River Walk tracing the route of the river that used to transport fresh water into London from Hertfordshire flows through Canonbury. Theatres include the King’s Head, at the back of the eponymous pub in Upper Street, and the trendy Almeida Theatre in Almeida Street.


This already well-connected area will get even better next year when Highbury and Islington’s new station on the East London line extension opens, linking to Shoreditch, Hackney and south London. Agents have already taken the new station into account in prices but it will be a useful addition to existing Northern, Victoria and North London line links.

And the local council?

Islington is Liberal Democrat-controlled and scores four out of four under Audit Commission performance scales.