Neighborhood Guide to North London

(original article from Liberty Travel, where Megan covered London in a 4-part London series.)

It’s been nearly four years since I first stepped foot in London, yet the city still feels like an old friend. Upon landing at Heathrow Airport after a sleepless red-eye from DC, I couldn’t wait to hop on the Tube and find out where I was going to be living for the next four months.

After a stressful experience on the Tube during rush hour and with a laughable amount of luggage, I finally gave up and made my way to the taxi line. As we drove the short distance from Kings Cross Station to my new home in Islington, I started to second-guess my decision to study in London. I was imagining some sort of Notting Hill neighborhood and I wasn’t seeing anything close to a Hugh Grant film.

Although disappointed at first with my Islington flat, I soon fell in love with the diversity of artistic influence in the surrounding neighborhoods of North London. After a few nights exploring the Angel area of Islington, I quickly discovered that I was living in a pretty desirable place. In fact, the area was a sought-after location for the young British community that had a special interest in underground music and an unquenchable thirst for cider.

Not too far from the Islington london neighborhood is the love-it-or-hate-it Camden, although I only know people who love it. Camden is home to an eclectic sort. You’re bound to see lots of leather, piercings and of course bars. During the day, Camden Market is a popular hangout for the hipster and non-hipster alike. Tourists certainly flock to this area, but many of them leave as night falls, so experiencing Camden nightlife is not to be missed.

If you closed your eyes and tried to visualize a place geographically close to Camden but completely opposite in style, Primrose Hill would pop into your mind. Many tourists end up skipping Primrose Hill on their fist trip to London simply because it’s a bit out of the way…or so they think. Many assume the area is inconveniently located but if you get off at Chalk Farm stop, there’s a shortcut that gets you to the hill in less than five minutes.

The view from Primrose Hill remains my absolute favorite in all of London. It’s also an ideal spot to plan a picnic with friends or perhaps a romantic wine and cheese night with your significant other. Take the long route back to the station and stop in the many boutiques, restaurants and bars lining the desolate streets.

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Leave a comment


  1. Katherina September 3, 2011  8:23 am Reply

    This comes very handy - I just moved to London 2 days ago! I'm only moving to my permanent residence in 2 weeks or so... but it's actually nearby Islington!

  2. Megan September 3, 2011  12:00 pm Reply

    Glad this helped! You are going to love Islington!

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  4. Abby October 20, 2011  2:23 pm Reply

    Really great photos! That first one of the water is so chilling, and then I love the colors of the next one wow.

  5. Anonymous October 22, 2011  1:48 pm Reply

    Islington looks absolutely idyllic while it looks like there's never a dull moment in Camden!

  6. Claire October 22, 2011  7:47 pm Reply

    I'll be staying with a friend in Islington in December and love Camden, always something to do there!

  7. Peter Heck October 24, 2011  4:38 am Reply

    Funny and timely. We just had dinner with a girl last night that told us that we HAD TO visit Primrose Hill. Considering we live just 10 minutes away, we probably should do it :)


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