4 best places for walks in Islington this Spring
A stroll or hike anyone? There are lots of interesting walks around Islington. Now the snow has subsided, it’s time to venture outdoors. We’ve selected some gems for this spring.
Getting to know Islington (2.5 miles)
Start at King’s Cross, and map your way to Edward Square, an open space that was saved from developers by campaigning residents. As well as checking out the native hedge that will be coming into leaf, look out for the murals, especially the one which commemorates a group of campaigners, known as the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
Turning out of the square, stroll past the shops of Caledonian Road, sampling their wares and relishing local life. Pause outside Pentonville Prison, before taking the back route to Arsenal’s famous Emirates Stadium.
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Complete the walk by going less than a quarter of a mile further to an oasis of ecological calm, Gillespie Park. The biggest nature reserve in Islington, it claims to be as large as four Arsenal pitches. Here, watch the nesting birds, keep your eyes open for rare wild flowers, and enjoy a well-earned sit down after your ramble.
This heritage walk starts at Highbury & Islington Underground Station and takes the scenic route to the Angel Underground Station before meandering through the glorious gardens hidden in the back streets behind Sadler’s Wells Theatre. As well as enjoying the spring bulbs, keep your eyes open for the unexpected. Countless famous people have lived in these squares over the centuries. Modern sculptures have been installed, and one square, Canonbury Square, even plays host to a small vineyard. In Gibson Square, a building that looks like a classical temple conceals a ventilation shaft for the Victoria Line. A little further on, Barnsbury Wood is simultaneously the smallest local nature reserve in London and the largest area of woodland in Islington. By the time you get to the Nautilus Garden, you’ll have earned a rest under its pergola before going for a drink nearby.
Islington Canal Walk (2.5 miles)
The Islington canal walk isn’t quite Amsterdam or Venice, but aficionados love it. Before heading along the towpath, visit the London Canal Museum to prepare yourself for what you’re about to see. On route, pause at City Road Basin. Here you can take a boat trip, go fishing, hire a pedalo, or simply watch the world go by. A little further on, you’ll come to The Narrowboat Pub, but if you can hold out until you’ve walked the whole way across the borough, you’ll be able to reward yourself at the historic Island Queen, tucked away in the back streets north of the canal.
Local history walks
Islington’s history is so rich that local historians have developed walks for many of its small corners, but for spring, try the New River walk in Canonbury. From Highbury New Park, make your way to St Paul’s Shrubbery and saunter along the New River Walk itself. On leaving, for a great finale to your afternoon, call in at the Esoterick Collection of Modern Italian Art before finishing the walk at the extraordinary octagonal Union Chapel.
Of course, these aren’t the only walks around Islington. Islington Council has collated a fully comprehensive list of long and short walks for those who want a complete guide to walking in Islington. And if you’re looking for themed walks, name your topic. Wildlife walks, street art walks? Islington’s a great place to walk.