Sometimes I totally forget to blog about experiences I had that might spark your interest. Like my short city trip to London earlier this year. Each time I go to London, I try to explore a different part of the city and go a bit of the beaten track. I’ve been to London so many times, that I don’t bother visiting the touristic places anymore, nor the high street (Oxford st), unless I have time left or need something from a particular store. But that is hardly ever the case, since there is so much to do and see in London. The architecture, street life, the museums and parks.
Ever since I was a child, I went to London once a year with my parents to shop, so I know London pretty well. But since I started blogging I have an extra incentive and advantage : I have London-based blogger friends! Especially Tina (her blog is Colourliving) is my best resource, because she always gives me a detailed itinerary of a specific area with all the great shops, coffee places, and must-sees. So, to be honest, I have to credit Tina for this shopping guide, because without her I wouldn’t have found some of these great shops in the Islington area.
To go to Islington you take the tube to Angel metro station and take a right at the exit. From there it’s one straight walk, with a couple deviations into side streets. (all photos are taken with my iPhone 4S) First stop is:
The Coffee Works Project
The Coffee Works Project is a charming coffee house where you can indulge in a good cup of coffee, pastries, quiche and sandwiches. It has a living room vibe and there is also a secret garden in the back. – 96-98 Islington High Street
One of my favourite perfume shops in the U.K. I have been using their lavender perfume, hand soap and hand lotion.for years now. Penhaligon’s boutiques are like stepping into a time capsule and entering an 19th century perfume shop. I love it! – 112 Islington High Street
Studio One Twenty
Studio One Twenty, a charming little shop with fashion for kids and women, and small home accessories and stationery is Penhaligons neighbour. The mini-conceptstore curates products from independent designers, and vintage accessories. 120 Islington High Street.
Next is Camden Passage! Here you’ll find a lot of antique shops, charming boutiques and lovely coffee places. The cobbled streets and market stalls make you forget you’re in a metropolitan. The store fronts are like local shops in small villages and lure you in.
Kipferl should actually be your first stop, or starting point since it’s a breakfast and brunch restaurant. It is a little piece of Austria in London. They serve typical Austrian dishes like Wiener Schnitzel, from the eponymous Vanillekipferl to the classic Sachertorte ‘mit Schlag’ (with cream) and from herbal Almdudler lemonade to a peppery Gruener Veltliner wine. The concept of Kipferl is based on the Viennese coffeehouse, where the kitchen is open all day and you can sit on your own with a ‘kleiner Brauner’ reading newspapers for hours. Their coffee is the best, a real must-try. – 20 Camden Passage
Paul Young Chocolate
Paul Young Chocolate is an adorable little shop with beautiful chocolates, most like real art pieces. Some have surprising flavour combinations. – 33 Camden Passage
SMUG was my favourite shop in Camden Passage. It’s a 2-storey lifestyle shop with home decor accessories, stationery, toys, books, and kitchenware.
I also loved Hexagone, a lifestyle shop with solely French brands. The owner is from France and very passionate about the products. He can tell you the story behind each brand and product. It soon became clear to me that all the products are hand-picked and curated with care and quality in mind. From gorgeous posters and prints, to toys, home decor items and furniture. This is a shop you don’t want to miss. 12B Camden Passage
We continue on Upper Street, where our first stop is…
Abigail Ahern is one of Britain’s best interior designers, a book author, design teacher and shop owner. I follow her blog rigorously because she gives such good advice and tips for decorating. Her shop is boasting with elegant and luxe products and furniture, lavish plants and high quality textiles. A store not to be missed. – 137 Upper street
Fig & Olive
To rest your feet and fill your tummy you go to Fig & Olive. I went for tea and cake but you can also have breakfast or lunch here. The decor is light and charming. – 151 Upper Street
Folklore is a home and lifestyle shop with a variety of items and based on a simple idea that better living is possible through design. The products are of high quality and craftsmanship, with simplicity and functionality at its core. Beautiful textiles, wooden and enamel kitchenware, and timeless pottery are part of the collection. 193 Upperstreet
Twenty Twentyone is a furniture and lifestyle shop, another gem on Upperstreet. They have the very best design-led furniture, lighting and accessories. As the name suggests they combine classics from the twentieth century with progressive contemporary work. – 275 Upper Street
For yummie pastries, salads or a lunch or dinner go to Ottolenghi. I didn’t have time to try it, but read and heard nothing but raving reviews from friends. 287 Upperstreet
In the side streets of Upper street you’ll also find nice shops like e.g Aesop in Cross street or Aria on Barnsbury street, another lifestyle shop.
There are many more shops in Islington, and if you have time left you can also combine this part of the city with Clerkenwell.
You might also like the London shopping guides: Bloomburry, Shoreditch part 1 or Shoreditch part 2