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Taking a Walk

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A stroll through gentrified north London and four urban villages – Stoke Newington, Highbury, Barnsbury and King's Cross

Picture a brightly lit place where smiley people zip about on bikes and scooters, joggers perspire beatifically, dogs ping about on considerate leashes and immaculate pavements lead to artisanal bakeries and rustic coffee shops. Inner London looks unreal to the outsider. Six years after escaping, I marvel at this shining city state, a world apart from my dowdy, rutted country. Anyone craving a taste of contemporary London could do worse than stroll from Clissold Park to King’s Cross at 8.45am on a weekday. It’s a walk through four urban villages – Stoke Newington, Highbury, Barnsbury and King’s Cross – which tell the story of Britain’s past forty years more eloquently than any historian.  Stoke Newington has changed the most since I pitched up in London twenty-odd years ago. Then it was a scruffy urban paradise of south Indian curry houses, Turkish grills and so many liberals that piles of Guardians...

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