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Union Chapel
Compton Avenue
London N1 2XD
+ 44 (0) 207 226 3750

Closest station: Highbury & Islington

Opening times:
Daily from 9.30am, closing times vary

Look at website to get involved with Margins Project

Islington's concert church

Regardless of one's religious belief, sitting in the pews of Union Chapel is a spiritual experience. There is something about the massive gothic building that inspires reflection and inner tranquillity.

Situated at the top of Upper Street, Union Chapel was built in 1877 and the main chapel is a Grade I listed building.

Daylight music

Union Chapel is not just a working church. The old Victorian building in Islington also serves as a music venue and a homeless centre. The acoustics in the building make it an ideal venue for concerts, even being awarded Time Out's Live Venue of the Year in 2002.

As I sit in the wooden pews, under stained glass windows, the sounds of the free concert I stumbled in on, circle around the structure and fill the entire space. The resonance in Union Chapel is better than any other concert venue that I've been to.

Every Saturday until the end of April, the church provides free concerts from up and coming as well as established artists. Many of the performers who played at Daylight Music years ago have now gone on to become successful record selling artists, such as Laura Marling.

Nighttime fun

Union Chapel also offers evening concerts throughout the week and a comedy show once a month. You can relax at the bar upstairs or try some homemade food from the Margins Union Café, next to the bar.

The café serves tea, coffee, cakes, and homemade hot food. During my visit, I was spoilt for choice with an impressive selection of quiches and salads plus giant sausage rolls and barbeque chicken.

Music with a cause

All profits from the café go to the Margins Project based at Union Chapel. The project gives support and services to people facing homelessness in London.

Every Sunday, the project serves hot meals to 180 people, and throughout the year, Union Chapel is a refuge where people can find shelter and emotional support.

Stepping into Union Chapel is not just a pleasant way to relax your mind; it is also a way to give back to the community.

Alexia Dellner