Our Future's Orange: Highbury and Islington

Photo: Highbury Clock, from the Highbury Fields Association

Monday's opening of the East London Line extension to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington is an opportunity for us to dust off and update our series of reviews of stops along the line.

Highbury & Islington tube station exits on to the opposite end of the Upper Street from Angel, where the theme bars and shopping enclaves give way to a more diffuse, varied set of attractions.

That’s not to say that the station’s not handy for many of Upper Street’s more popular venues, like The Grand Union (153 Upper Street), The Hope and Anchor (207 Upper Street – the reviews for which read like a BC debate – no-one can agree whether it’s too down-market, too upmarket, full of genuine geezers or been irredeemably gentrified) or the mother ship of the wonderful Ottolenghi empire (287 Upper Street). It’s also the right end of Upper Street for its mini-theatre district, including the Almeida (Almeida Street), “London’s Little Opera House” at the Kings Head Theatre (115 Upper Street) and the beautiful, tiny Little Angel Theatre (14 Dagmar Passage), which specialises in productions for children.

But from Highbury & Islington station, the interesting stuff fans out in all directions. The handsome nearby streets are home to some great places to eat and drink: Just the other side of the roundabout from Highbury & Islington station is the legendary comedy pub, The Hen and Chickens Theatre Bar (109 St Paul’s Road) or go west up Barnsbury Street for The Drapers Arms (44 Barnsbury Street), down Liverpool Road for the outstanding French restaurant Morgan M (489 Liverpool Road) or Compton Avenue for the uniquely beautiful music venue, the Union Chapel. Someday, all churches will be like that.

To the north lies Highbury Fields, the biggest green space in Islington. It’s broad, flat, beautifully-maintained, lined with Georgian and Victorian terraces and all set about with London Plane trees. Beyond that lies London Met University and Arsenal’s home, the Emirates Stadium, which is a stadium which almost any other Club would envy, not least of all, Spurs.

More East London Line destinations:


Forest Hill

Crystal Palace

Shoreditch High Street

Rotherhithe, Canada Water, Surrey Quays