I’ve been in Highbury for 10 years.

I grew up on Kensington High Street, then moved north. I used to have a place just off Upper Street with a boyfriend, and then we split up and I bought a house around the corner. It’s proper old London with a school, a laundrette and a nail salon.

I’m an Arsenal fan, I love the area, I love that it’s so close to central London and I find a lot of artists and designers are moving to north-East London and Finsbury Park.

Eating and drinking

There are so many, especially around Upper Street.

Western Laundry near Drayton Park has delicious seafood, natural wines, great sharing plates and really fresh food. It’s got an industrial feel, but it’s a great date spot.

Black Axe Mangal is famous for their squid ink flatbread with smoked cod’s roe. They do experimental food like prune doughnuts with pigs’ cheeks and things like that, with a different menu every day.

Farang is an amazing Thai restaurant near Clissold Park. It’s a really reasonable Michelin-starred restaurant that no one knows about.

There’s loads of pubs. The Smokehouse does big sharing meat plates and is really good for a Sunday roast. The Draper’s Arms is great, and so is the Gunner’s Arms. They are all Arsenal pubs.

Where I work out

I love cycling and running, and I like to run through Highbury Fields, then past the Arsenal Stadium and then loop round to Clissold Park.

Islington Square is a new shopping area and inside there is a Third Space Gym, which is really good and just opened. It’s got a pool, and it’s worth it just for the steam room.

To commune with nature

I’ve got two sausage dogs, so we do a lot of walking. I recently happened on the New River Walk, which is an aqueduct built in the early 1600s to bring water to London. It’s 28 miles long and now it’s a lovely footpath.

There’s lots of ducks and amazing old cherry blossoms, and they’ve put benches along the way so it’s kind of a secret garden.

Grocery shopping

Budgens opposite me, of course.

But on Highbury Road there’s a row of independent shops I take the dogs up to. There’s Bourne’s Fishmongers, and Frank Godfreys butchers.

Opposite those two there’s an Italian delicatessen Da Mario, which is good for delicious fresh antipasto bits, and artisanal cheesemonger La Fromagerie, which has a little cafe. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle, you can get lost, and they offer lots of tasters, so even if you don’t buy anything, you usually leave feeling full.

For a culture fix

The Union Chapel is a great music venue to find new people and bigger stars. It’s in this old church, and mostly by candlelight so it’s really romantic.

The Almeida Theatre is amazing. The last thing I saw was Tammy Faye, a musical with tunes by Elton John. Sadler’s Wells is really good for contemporary dance and ballet.

House of Hodge is a lovely charity bookshop. I don’t go to the cinema loads, but Screen on the Green has sofas and you can get pizza ordered to your seat.

Getting around

Highbury & Islington is there for the Victoria line. It’s on the Overground, not far from Hampstead Heath for wild swims and dog walks.

I’m not good at the bus, I’ve got no patience, so I mostly use Lime bikes to cycle to my office in South Kensington.

Dream street

Highbury Terrace Mews near Highbury Fields is full of fab houses. They are all very architecturally interesting, you feel like all the writers and poets must live there.

My dogs often run away nearby, and I have a good nose round there when I’m looking for them.

Something you only see in Highbury

The highs and lows of Arsenal. You know when there’s a game and you come out from the Underground and the whole area is buzzing.

What’s the catch?

If we lose, the energy is not good, and you can really feel it. But I still love it.

In three words

Buzzing, green, home.

Minnie Kemp is designer at Firmdale Hotels, which has just opened its new Warren Street Hotel in New York.


William Tyndale Primary School on Upper Street is rated outstanding by Ofsted, as is St John’s Highbury Vale CofE, while there are several others, too.

For secondaries, mixed schools St Mary Magdalene and City of London Academy are excellent, as are girls’ schools Highbury Fields and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, as well as Central Foundation for boys.

What it costs

Buying in Highbury

Average flat price: £679,280

Average house price: £1,817,180

Renting in Highbury

Average flat price, pcm: £2,490

Average house price, pcm: £4,210

Source: Hamptons & Land Registry

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