All aboard the friendly low-level bus that passes the Drovers Centre.
The 393 from Clapton Pond to Chalk Farm (Morrisons) doesn’t always take the most direct route but it stops at some useful locations – including the tubes at Highbury & Islington, Holloway Road, Kentish Town and Chalk Farm – and goes past loads of estates. Here are some highlights:
STOKE NEWINGTON CHURCH STREET is out of Islington but a good start point for your 393 journey if you’ve just enjoyed a walk through Clissold Park or Abney Park Cemetry. If you are looking out of the right bus window (north/west) the first six or so stops are leafy enough to enjoy the change of seasons.
At HIGHBURY NEW PARK (Riversdale Road) the 393 loops back on itself and passengers have to put up with speed bumps. The road is a long avenue of London plane trees passing Highbury New Park Care Home, the many homes of Highbury Quadrant (Crowfield House has its own stop) and the GPs at the Miller Practice. Look out for the wind turbine at rebuilt Highbury Grove School.
The best cafés at HIGHBURY CORNER, reached without a tricky road crossing, are Maison d’Etre and at the Estorick Gallery.
The Estorick Caffè is currently being refurbished and will reopen in January 2017.
On HOLLOWAY ROAD alight at St Mary Magdalene Church for Freightliners Farm or Central Library. After Holloway Road tube you’ll see the old white-tiled cinema, now Wetherspoons’ The Coronet, where Islington Age UK often meets for a cuppa, lunch and even IT tips. On this east side spot the sign for the old Jones Bros, next door to Waitrose.
The bus doubles back again along CALEDONIAN ROAD. On NORTH ROAD spot the ivy baskets fixed to the old omnibus station (now workspaces), Pleasance Theatre and the clock tower at Caledonian Park. Then it’s the Goodinge Health Centre stop, by the Co-op, which is opposite our Drovers Centre. Why not pop in and see what’s happening?
After crossing CAMDEN ROAD you leave Islington and in 10 minutes could be at Kentish Town tube. This area’s quite like Nag’s Head with banks and high street shops. Another passenger told me she was off to catch the 214 (towards Highgate Village) so she could spend the afternoon at Hampstead ladies’ swimming pond. Now there’s an idea – a stroll on Hampstead Heath.
From CHALK FARM (towards CLAPTON POND) the 393 takes a slightly different route from KENTISH TOWN because of the one-way systems. So you’ll go back into Islington after passing rowan tree-lined Brecknock Road (famous for Bumblebee’s whole food supplies). Then it’s over CAMDEN ROAD and in minute or two you’ll be outside Drovers Centre at the Goodinge Health Centre stop.
After NORTH ROAD the bus swings left into HILLMARTON ROAD passing St Luke’s Church (not to be confused with St Luke’s Community Centre near Old Street). You pass the Arts Factory and HM Prison Holloway on CAMDEN ROAD. Here buses have a dedicated lane so move reasonably swiftly, even in rush hour, to turn right into HOLLOWAY ROAD. If you want to visit the Nag’s Head use the stop outside M&S, close to Morrisons. The stop after this is The Coronet – which still look like a cinema inside – and which may even be your destination.
The 393’s turnaround is much further on, at Clapton Pond in Hackney. Some people love to ride a bus from end to end. Most of us are more pragmatic, and just want to get really close to where we want to be. Whatever you choose – have a safe trip.
BUS KNOW HOW
- If there’s no electronic info at your bus stop, showing when the next buses are due, text 87287 for a real time schedule.
- The 393 has audio visual info about the next stop – see the display on the back of the driver’s cabin.
- The 393 has space for one wheelchair and a buggy. Wheelchair users have priority over buggies.
- Anyone living in London can have a Freedom Pass giving free bus and tube travel from their 60th birthday.
- Using the bus to entertain grandchildren? Play i-spy by searching for classic London sites – a red double-decker, 393 driver swap (at Highbury Grove), big stone church, library (the 393 passes Central Library and one at Kentish Town) and a dog walker.