Hidden gems to visit in London Islington

Islington will always be a very special place to me. It’s where I lived when I first started to work as a jeweller and I lived in Islington for many years before I moved to Tunbridge Wells with my young family and opened my jewellery shop and workshop in The Pantiles.

Catherine Hills at Gill Wing, Islington

The first gallery to sell my jewellery after I graduated from The Royal College of Art was Gill Wing on Upper Street, Islington. Gill found me through the Chelsea Crafts Fair and came to visit me in my Clerkenwell studio. This year marks twenty years since Gill Wing first showcased my jewellery in London and it’s the thirty-year anniversary of the gallery. To celebrate I dressed their window in green to represent May’s birthstone emerald, which also happens to be the stone for a 30th anniversary. Green felt like the perfect choice as the first green leaves of spring are all around and so much of my work is inspired by nature. I also took over Gill Wing’s Instagram account, you can take a look here.

Vintage map Islington and Highbury, London

Here are some of my favourite places to visit in Islington.

Antique and vintage shops in Islington

Camden Passage Islington

I love to wander around the antiques market and vintage shops on the corner of Pierrepont Row and Camden Passage and up the Holloway Road. Some of my favourites include:

vintage china Caroline Carrier, Camden Passage Market

Number One Caroline Carrier  1 Pierrepont Arcade, Islington London N1 8EF
Vintage china teacup heaven for twenty years and counting.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Camden Passage Market Islington

Four and Twenty Blackbirds    12 Pierrepont Arcade, Islington, London N1 8EF
The most wonderful collection of vintage fashion.

second mano islington pre-loved clothes

Seconda Mano    114 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN
My favourite old haunt for pre-loved clothes. (Its below Giovanni Hair & Beauty!)

D A Binder Islington vintage shop fittings

D. & A. Binder    101 Holloway Rd, Islington, London N7 8LT
An Aladdin’s Cave of traditional and antique shop fittings on Holloway Road. I could spend hours here (and frequently do).


Other great places to visit in Islington

Screen on the Green, Upper Street Islington

Screen on the Green     83 Upper St, Islington, London N1 0NP
This indie cinema is now part of the Everyman Group but still maintains its charm.


Corner of Dagmar Terrace and St Mary's Churchyard, Islington
The Most Beautiful House behind St Mary's Churchyard
This wonderful house on the corner is just near the Little Angel Theatre on Dagmar Terrace. It’s so unusual and photogenic that I can’t believe it doesn’t feature on Instagram more.

Pilates Central Islington

Pilates Central    Colebrooke House, 10-12 Gaskin Street, London N1 2RY
Where I started Pilates, when my daughter was little, and where I went during my pregnancy with my son.


Tallulah Islington lingerie shop

Tallulah Lingerie     65 Cross Street, Islington, London N1 2BB
Sadly my favourite dress shop on Cross Street has now closed but it’s still well worth a visit. Tallulah sells the most beautiful underwear.

Angel Flowers Islington website

Angel flowers      60 Upper street, Islington, London N1 0NY 
A fabulous flower shop where I bought my tiny strange wedding posy all those years ago.

Rothschild & Bicker, Cross Street Islington

Rothschild & Bickers     62 Cross Street, Islington, London, N1 2BA
I was pleased to discover that Rothschild & Bickers have now opened an Islington showroom. Their skilled craftspeople hand blow all of their lights to order.

Eating and drinking in Islington

Pistachio & Pickle, Liverpool Road Islington

Pistachio and Pickle Dairy    6 Camden Passage, Islington, N1 8ED
A relative newcomer Pistachio & Pickle is a cheese shop inspired by Islington’s history. In the mid-19th Century Islington was home to 'Laycocks' a large dairy farm that supplied around 170 dairy retailers. Stop by for breakfast at their cheese bar.

Rheidol Rooms, Rheidol Terrace Islington

The Rheidol Rooms     16 Rheidol Terrace, London N1 8NS
This is one of my favourite spots in Islington and I’m so pleased it’s hardly changed in the last twenty years! The Rheidol Rooms is just around the corner from where I used to live and a proper caff in a peaceful spot.


Duke of Cambridge, Islington

Duke of Cambridge     30 St Peter's St, Islington, London N1 8JT
This has always been a great pub but it now serves the most wonderful organic vegetarian food from Riverford.

Gallipoli, Islington

Gallipoli Café & Bistro    102 Upper St, Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QP
This popular Turkish restaurant is consistently good and has now opened a second branch, also on Upper Street called Gallipoli Again.

Antonios, Upper Street, Islington

Antonio’s Restaurante    Rear of 137 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 1 QP
A long-time favourite, this family owned Italian restaurant tucked behind Upper Street serves wonderful Calabrian food.

Island Queen pub, Islington

The Island Queen    87 Noel Rd, Islington, London N1 8HD

A great pub with a beautiful façade and cosy interior. The perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon after a stroll around the shop or along the nearby canal.


And of course…

Catherine Hills Jewellery, Gill Wing Gallery Islington

Gill Wing Jewellery     182 Upper St, Islington, London N1 1RQ
A wonderful gallery of contemporary jewellery featuring over sixty artists. I love the fact that all of Gill Wing’s small team are qualified jewellery makers.

Discover how you can design your own necklace with my new Pollen Pod Charm collection here.