Relocating to London can be quite a bewildering process for the uninitiated. The Greater London area is made up of 32 distinct boroughs, all with their own unique identities. They each offer pros and cons that vary greatly depending on your needs. Whether you’re looking for a place with good nightlife or somewhere to bring up your family, your priorities are going to vary wildly, but how do you know where is going to suit you?
You have to think what you want out of your home, about transport concerns, budgets, schooling… the list of considerations is almost endless. So why not make it easy on yourself by getting Cornerstone to help you with your move to the UK’s capital. Take a look at our area guides to pinpoint the place that will suit you, then take advantage of our knowledgeable staff and time saving tech who can guide you the rest of the way to your ideal home.
Where do I begin?
Geography of Islington
Charles Dickens once described Islington being the place where “London started in earnest”. You can certainly see his point. The modern borough starts off with the relatively suburban towns in the north, like Highgate, Archway, Finsbury Park, Highbury, Finsbury and Tufnell Park. but quickly becomes more urban the further south you go as you head towards Islington town itself, Farringdon, Clerkenwell, Old Street and King’s Cross (which is also partially in Camden).
Islington is actually the third smallest borough in London and has a population of around 250,000 people. None the less, it has an awful lot to offer for people looking to live there that belies its relatively small size.
The borough has seen a great many changes over the years with some of the most drastic impacting the Kings Cross area. It’s had a murky past, but these days, after significant redevelopment, it’s actually now one of London’s most expensive places to live. Kings Cross is something of a hub for the tech industry, with Google and Meta both having offices there. The luxury apartments and pleasant entertainment venues are certainly a stark contrast to what used to be in the area just a few years ago. Kings Cross isn’t the only hub for tech companies in the borough though. They’ve also flocked to the Old Street area, which, as a result, has earned itself the nicknames Tech City and Silicon Roundabout. The Old Street area has also been frequented by graffiti artists, including the elusive Banksy.
Aside from newer developments in places like Kings Cross, the borough of Islington mostly offers housing types in the style of Victorian, Georgian, and Edwardian townhouses. It is common for many of the buildings to have been converted into separate flats which may have been upgraded to a more modern contemporary style. Houses which have stayed as their primary purpose housing families may have undergone modern conversions such as loft conversions to allow more bedroom space too.
Rent is substantially higher than in many areas of London, but the facilities in the borough and the quality of housing go some way towards justifying that. Although the borough has many more flats than houses, you can still find them with properties containing anything from 1-4 bedrooms.
Islington has fantastic public transport links, with tube and train stations across the borough including Highbury and Islington, Angel Station, Archway, Arsenal, Caledonian Road, City Road, Farringdon, Finsbury Park, Holloway Road, Old Street and Tufnell Park.
Kings Cross Station is perhaps the largest and busiest station within the borough. It has links to many of the London tube lines, as well as being the terminus for a plethora of countrywide trains. The borough of Islington spans both Zones 1 and 2 of the transport network, so, wherever you chose to live, it’s an easy commute for anybody working in the heart of London.
Eating & Drinking
Islington certainly isn’t short of places where you can go for a drink or dine out. Amongst the streets of the towns that make up the borough, you can satisfy your appetite by visiting restaurants serving cuisine from all around the world, from Italy to India.
There’s the usual array of fast food and chain restaurants as well as places to get a kebab after an evening in the pub. It’s not all about booze though. Nestled amongst the fabulous independent shops scattered all over the borough of Islington, you’ll also find lots of cosy, sweet independent cafes.. Arguably in this are of London, coffee could quite possibly oust the more traditional cup of tea!
The borough is a hub for many world-class theatres, including the Almeida Theatre and Sadler’s Wells Theatre. There are also plenty of venues at which you can see live music acts perform. Key amongst these are the O2 Academy Islington, the Islington Assembly Hall and the Union Chapel.
Whilst the southern part of Islington is mostly known for being pretty urban, there are still beautiful green spaces throughout the borough, especially in the more suburban north in areas like Highgate and Tufnell Park. The borough contains approximately 154 parks to explore including Highbury Fields and Gillespie Park. You can also take a pleasant stroll down Regent’s Canal.
Islington isn’t short of famous people who were either born in or lived in this borough. So many actors, writers and musicians have lived in Islington that it’s almost impossible to list them all, so you’ll be sure to bump into somebody famous should you move here. Highgate Cemetery is the resting place of a great number of important and famous people, so you’re also sure to find the graves whist walking through what’s also a conservation area.
Arsenal football club moved to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury in 1913, before moving again to the Emirates Stadium in in Islington, Holloway in 2006.
Islington has a number of markets scattered across the borough. Chapel Street Market, Archway Market, Exmouth Market, Stroud Green Market Camden Passage, Whitecross Street Market and Tufnell Park Market, along with a farmers’ market, can all be found across Islington.