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Love local this Valentine’s Day - Islington

Love your neighbourhood shops and restaurants this Valentine’s Day and choose something unique and impactful.

Islington Council and My Virtual Neighbourhood have joined forces to produce a gift guide featuring dozens of local makers and shops to suit all budgets and there isn’t a petrol-station bunch of flowers in sight.

The benefits of shopping local are well documented; more of the money you spend circulates within the community than when you shop with a big chain and that boosts employment and makes for colourful high streets with much more soul.

Here are some Islington highlights. It’s just a selection of the amazing array of gifts in the borough. Please check out the gift guide for more inspiration.


An affordable way to show someone they mean something to you – receiving a card makes us feel more connected and less alone. Marby and Elm in Exmouth Market have a brilliant selection of letter-pressed cards, designed in-house. As well as having a plenty of gifts to choose from, I Only Popped in for a Card’ in St John St has fabulous cards and gift wrap.

Flowers and Plants

Dansk Flowers in Upper Street is offering a stunning bouquet of 12 pink roses. They have lots of other beautiful bunches to choose from too.

The Archway Planter has a fabulous selection of house plants. Founded by Tiffany Dent, the company offers online delivery (perfect if you’re sending a gift) or you can browse their stall at The Junction Market.

As well as a selection of very unique bouquets, Angel Flowers offers more traditional bouquets of red roses . How about choosing flowers that last this year – Botanique Workshop on Exmouth Market have lots of lovely dried bouquets to choose from. Untitled Flowers offers beautiful bouquets as well as scented candles and ceramics.


Neighbourhood boutique The Wearer sells jewellery designed as an expression of your individuality. Check them out for statement pieces made by small producers with ethically sourced stones.

Looking to pop the question this Valentine’s Mcaul has lots of special rings to choose from.

Other local jewellers with a good selection of Valentine’s gifts include Gill Wing, Dinny Hall, Stephen Einhorn, and Posh Totty Designs.


Wickpy offer make-your-own soy candle kits – it’s a lovely activity and they include only natural, vegan ingredients.

Kipferl on Camden passage are selling Sachertorte cakes shaped like a heart and with sweet writing – or, if your looking to make an even bigger gesture, check out their Valentine’s hampers.

Why not treat someone you love to a brilliant book from an independent store? Upper Street Bookshop, Housmans (Caledonian Road) and Bookbar in Finsbury Park are all worth a browse.

The Pantry Underwear (find them in Islington Square) has a beautiful range to suit all shapes and sizes. If you’re daunted by the idea of choosing for someone, why not treat them to a gift card?

A fabulous array of quirky gifts has been curated by The Map giftshop in Archway. Choose between quirky mugs (perfect for the Harry Styles, David Bowie or Dolly Parton fans among us), beautiful textiles and homewares and pampering products. In fact their website has five pages dedicated just to Valentine’s Day!

If you’re after a box of chocs with the wow-factor head to Copperhouse in Chapel Market for yummy vegan chocolates or Paul A Young in Camden Passage for fresh handmade chocolates with flavours that will tantalise even the tamest tastebud!

Is your loved one a cycling enthusiast? Balfes Bikes and Velorution on Essex Road have a good selection of clothes and accessories.


Ray Stitch offers sewing courses from its Essex Road store – if the person you love has always longed to learn the art of quilting (or something else), this could be the perfect considerate gift!

The Beginners’ Pottery courses for at Islington Arts Factory look really fun and consist of 14 hours tuition over four sessions. Why not book as a couple and spend some time connecting as you create!

The Almeida has the world premiere of Women, Beware the Devil this February . Set in England in 1640, with war brewing Lady Elizabeth is striving to protect her family’s legacy and ancestral home. She elicits the help of Agnes, a young servant suspected of witchcraft.

The Screen on the Green is showing Living on February 14th. Starring Bill Nighy, it’s the story of a civil servant in the 1950s who responds to his terminal diagnosis by rescuing the petition for a children’s playground from bureaucratic limbo. Earlier in the day, the cinema is getting nostalgic, with a screening of Pretty Woman.

Borough Kitchen is hosting a fresh pasta cooking class in Islington Square this Valentine’s Day (6.30pm till 9.30pm) teaching you and your date how to make a three-course dinner from scratch.

Eating out

Loads of Islington restaurants pull out all the stops for Valentine’s with special taster menus. For inspiration, visit the Islington Life website for a list of independent restaurants neighbourhood by neighbourhood.



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