Monday, 5 December 2011

Feeling Festive in Camden Passage, N1

Deck the halls Comrades - 'tis the season to be jolly! With Christmas approaching faster than Rudolf in a Ferrari, it's time to get into the festive spirit, knock back a few jars of mulled wine and crack on with the Christmas shopping. And if you want to go somewhere a bit more magical than the hell that is Oxford Street, then why not pop along to Camden Passage in Islington for something different. In fact Islington in general is one of my favourite places to shop, with Upper Street being full to the brim with fantastic shops, boutiques, delis and cafes. But tucked just parallel to Upper Street, Camden Passage is a whole new world full of vintage, antique and gift heaven.

I went for a wander along there last week on a dark, chilly winter's afternoon and it looked so pretty with all the street lamps and Christmas lights glowing in the fog. In fact, it felt almost Dickensian and I swear I spotted Tiny Tim selling antique maps...

Camden Passage is home to a plethora of wonderful shops and stalls selling everything from African Waistcoats and posh perfume, to vintage petticoats and retro milkshakes.

And for those who like a good rummage, just off the Passage, you'll find Pierrepont Arcade where some serious antique dealers spend their days selling their specialist wares. 

Here are a small selection of my favourite places in and around Camden Passage:

Annie's Vintage Clothing 12 Camden Passage (the creme de la creme of vintage shops)
Paul A Young 33 Camden Passage (purveyors of London's best handmade chocolates)
The African Waistcoat Company 33 Islington Green (for your individually tailored African waistcoats)
Penhaligons 110 Islington High St, Camden Passage (upmarket perfumers est.1870 selling expensive pong)
Issy's Milky Way 39 Camden Passage (1950's style cafe serving great shakes)
The Elk in the Woods  37 Camden Passage (lovely little rendez-vous for good eats & drinks)
Home & Pantry 114 Islington High St, Camden Passage (shabby chic shopping with your cappucino)
Smug 13 Camden Passage (quirky gifts, accessories & homeware) 
Frederick's Camden Passage (an Islington gem that's been serving great food & cocktails since 1969)
Get Stuffed 105 Essex Rd, N1 (for all your taxidermy needs)
69 Colebrook Row (unusual cocktails hidden in a cool little back street bar)

Once I arrived at the other end of Camden Passage, I went for a short stroll up Essex Road and peeked through the window of Get Stuffed (probably London's most re-known taxidermist), where I caught sight of a load of white rabbits really getting into the Christmas spirit. 

And talking of Christmas spirit, if you fancy a post-shopping Christmas tipple, then I highly recommend stopping off at the intimate 69 Colebrook Row (the bar with no name), for one of their excellent, pioneering cocktails. Ho ho ho!

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