camden passage shopping guide

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier this month Time Out got in touch asking me to write an area guide for North London specifically focusing on Camden Passage. It appeared in yesterday’s Time Out and here’s my uncut version.


I opened my shop here because

I’m a local Islington girl and have always loved Camden Passage’s pedestrianised street. I remember spending my pocket money in the antiques market when I was small. Now as an all-grown-up interior stylist/shop keeper I think it’s the perfect location to avoid the chains of Upper Street yet still be in the heart of Islington. I’m lucky enough to have 3 floors of shop which is pretty hard to find in the area, and a lovely area it is.




The area is great at Christmas because

Camden Passage offers the original, stylish and savvy Christmas shopper, of any age, everything they could wish for: design and gift shops like SMUG, Hexagon and Odyssey where you can pick up something well made, useful and beautiful; Paul A Young’s gorgeous chocolate shop and the new cheese shop by Pistachio & Pickle for expertly handmade sweet and savoury treats; to die for vintage clothing at Fat Faced Cat and Annie’s; Loop for all the wool your trendy sister or lovely Granny could hope for. And lots of places to stop along the way for a bite to eat and a coffee.




For a break/pitstop, go to

CoffeeWorks has the best coffee and rather fabulous brownies – if you haven’t already pick up one from Paul A Young. I usually go for their fresh OJ or a fresh mint tea if I can get a seat. I also love a lunch at Frederick’s. Their 2 or 3 course set menu for lunch is delicious, good value and portions are a sensible size so wont hinder your shopping plans.


People tend to buy

Our woollen blankets are the hot favourite with customers at this time of year. They’re 100% British wool, British made for SMUG and only £47. Most people buy two – one as a gift and one for themselves! Our hand screened SMUG exclusive Napkin Box Set is rather popular too. Thornback & Peel have hand screened the entire thing for us – box and all! Inside you will find 2 Guinea Pig linen union napkins – 1 duck egg, 1 putty and 2 Pineapple linen union napkins – 1 peach, 1 mustard. Totally exclusive to SMUG and perfect for Christmas dinner.




For a one-stop shop, got to

The SMUG Christmas SHOP upstairs on our second floor is full of new designers work for under £20. Perfect for stocking fillers and Christmas gifts. Think geometric paper tree decorations, hand screened hankies, cherry wood engraved bow ties, colourful hand screened sail boat plushes for your little ones, man-friendly scented candles, handmade stationery and coasters with drawings of dogs on them!




When I’m not here, I shop at

I live just by Clissold Park so when I’m near home and looking to shop local for a gift I like to pop to nook on Stoke Newington Church Street. I also love The Peanut Vendor on Newington Green for vintage homeware and furniture finds.




People don’t know it, but

Present & Correct is a little hidden gem of a stationery shop. Not too far from SMUG on Arlington Way, Present & Correct is full of beautifully styled stationery pieces – old and new. It’s a dream of a shop.




Budget option

The Antiques Market itself – best on Saturdays – is full of vintage bargains. Lovely old brooches, letterpress stamps, kitchen linens, ceramic ornaments, tins – I love old tins – and lots more can be found.


Blow out option

twentytwentyone isn’t technically Camden Passage – it’s Upper Street – but it is the best design shop in Islington in my opinion. Over the last year or so they have tripled in size and are looking all the better for it. Most things are upper scale budget-wise but if you can afford them your purchases will be enjoyed for years to come.


And when you’ve really had enough

St Mary’s church on Upper Street is open every day for a little sit down, reflection and a moment’s peace in all the Christmas retail chaos.


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