London Guide: Here’s my guide for things to do in Highbury Islington. Located in London N5, Highbury is a leafy North London area in Islington. It’s situated close to Finsbury Park, Holloway, Islington, Canonbury, Newington Green, Stoke Newington and Barnsbury. It’s an area you wouldn’t necessarily visit unless you are a fan of Arsenal Football Club or you were passing through. It’s a calm and somewhat respectable neighbourhood now but a long time ago it was quite different. If you’re looking for things to do in Highbury Islington, places to eat in Highbury, restaurants in Islington or vintage furniture shops North London then check out my area guide.
Highbury Stadium Square
Things to do in Highbury Islington
The number one thing to do in Highbury is to watch an Arsenal football match live. The amazing Emirates Stadium is located in Drayton Park and it’s quite awesome. I’m not into football myself but even I’ve attended a couple of matches which were fun. With a capacity for over 60,000, this stadium is pretty impressive and is the third biggest football stadium in the UK after Wembley and Old Trafford. The building work was completed in July 2006. If you are a big fan you can book yourself on a stadium tour which takes you behind the scenes. There is also a museum on-site where you can find out more about the club’s history. The closest station is Drayton Park but you can still walk from Arsenal Tube Station, Highbury and Islington or Holloway. Address: Emirates Stadium N5 1BU.
The old stadium is worth visiting. Nestled in between terraced houses, two of the former stands were developed into apartments called Highbury Stadium Square. The football pitch has become a communal garden. The red and white Arsenal team colours are evident throughout the complex. I loved that the old stadium was located in between the streets of houses, it was quite special. The closest station is Arsenal. Address: Highbury Stadium Square N5.
Highbury Stadium Square
Opposite Highbury and Islington station you’ll find the lovely Highbury Fields. This is a flat open green space with amenities including a playground, netball courts and tennis courts. The Highbury Fields Leisure Centre is located here which has a gym and swimming pool. It’s a lovely green space to walk through in the summer. The houses facing Highbury Fields are stunning so do take time to admire these as you saunter past. Also, make time to look at the Boer War Memorial which is located near the Leisure Centre. Address: Highbury Crescent N5 1RR.
At the end of Highbury Fields, you reach the beautiful Christ Church Highbury. It seems as though you are strolling through an idyllic country village. Address: 155 Highbury Grove N5 1SA.
Christ Church Highbury
Opposite the church is a striking clock tower which was erected in celebration of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897.
Things to do in Highbury Islington | Gourmet Food Shopping
At the end of Highbury Fields, you come across a little foodie strip called Highbury Barn. In 1865 there was a large dancing platform, theatre and music hall located here. Apparently it was pretty wild and riotous which led to locals complaining and a court case in 1871 ending the Barn’s dancing license. Today it’s very different thanks to the smattering of upmarket food shops. Along Highbury Park, you have Godfrey’s the premium butcher shop which is famous for their Lincolnshire sausage recipe. On the other side of the road is Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocers, a family run business selling quality fruit, veg, herbs and some flowers. All located at Highbury Park.
You’ll also find La Fromagerie, a premium cheese shop with a cheese room. They also have a few seats so you can order coffee and posh cheese on toast for a treat. There is also an Italian deli here, Da Mario selling pasta, olives and other lovely treats. If you carry on down the hill you will come across a big organic fruit and veg shop called Seasons and Blossoms. All located at Highbury Park.
Things to do in Highbury Islington | Dine Out
In terms of restaurants in the vicinity, these are quite spread out. If you come out of Highbury and Islington station and turn right, you have all the restaurants on Upper Street, N1. If you turn left out of the station you are in ‘LoHo’ which is Lower Holloway and many new independent eateries are springing up along this strip. If you head straight across the road but don’t go through the park, you’ll find St Paul’s Road with more eateries.
Meal at Iznik Turkish Restaurant
In terms of actual Highbury restaurants, head through Highbury Fields to the foodie strip of Highbury Park / Highbury Barn. You’ll find the Highbury Barn Tavern which serves breakfast, all-day menu, match day menu and Sunday lunch. The meat is from Godfrey’s the butcher just across the road. You will find a fish and chip restaurant called The Beach Hut and Iznik, a Turkish restaurant. For afternoon tea and cake pop into Highness Cafe and Tea Room. All located at Highbury Park.
Brunch at Highbury Arts Club
Keeping on Highbury Park heading towards Finsbury Park you will find the Highbury Arts Cafe where you can get a great breakfast at the weekends. During the day you can order Square Mile coffee and in the evening its tapas with organic wines and entertainment including live music and comedy. Continue on and on the opposite side of the road, you’ll come across Ink@84 Bookshop where you can browse the books while drinking Nude coffee. Next door is Frank’s Canteen where you can get a great weekend brunch or Sunday roast. All located at Highbury Park.
Brunch at Frank’s Canteen
Continue down the hill and there are two branches of Cinnamon Village cafe and coffee house Butler and Booth. Highbury Park becomes Blackstock Road where you’ll find one of my favourite restaurants, Little Sardegna, a very cosy Sardinian eatery which is perfect for a romantic evening meal. Address: 170 Blackstock Road. If you continue on you reach Finsbury Park. If you turn into Mountgrove Road, you’ll find a little strip of shops. Finks Salt and Sweet is a deli cafe serving posh cheese and meat plates, coffee and wine. Address: 70 Mountgrove Road N5 2LT.
Things to do in Highbury Islington | Browse the Vintage Furniture Shops
Along this route, you’ll come across some great independent homes and interiors shops. Located behind Highbury Fields is the Clarissa Hulse shop which is attached to her studio. Here you can browse cushions, bedding and plenty of pretty home accessories. Address: 29 Corsica Street N5 1 JT. The other shops of note are Out of the Attic, a lovely antique shop selling everything from Italian chandeliers to European glass vases. Address: 195 Blackstock Road N5 2LL. Next door is Gathering Moss selling rustic wooden furniture and adorable objects for the home. Only open at the weekend from 11 am until 5 pm. Address: 193 Blackstock Road N5 2LL. A little further on there is a great mid-century modern vintage furniture shop selling sofas, sideboards, coffee tables, lighting and decorative objects. Address: 87 Blackstock Road N4 2JW.
Out of the Attic Antiques Shop
Along Mountgrove Road you’ll find Bennett and Brown selling vintage furniture from the Arts and Crafts movement to mid-century modern. Address: 84 Mountgrove Road N5 2LT. You will also find my beautician here, a small place called Tiny Hair and Beauty. The owner offers Dermalogica facials, massages, pedicures, manicures and more. If you Carry on along this street, you get to Clissold Park.
If you are going to explore this area have a look at Wikipedia Highbury Information where you can read about the interesting history. Check out when Arsenal is playing a football match at home if you want to avoid the crowds!
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.
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