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Union Chapel

Compton Avenue, Islington, London N1 2XD

This magnificent Gothic chapel is one of London’s most unusual and intimate concert venues. Built for an already long-established Nonconformist congregation in 1877, it’s still a working church, with a strong ministry to the homeless. It also plays host, however, to an eclectic and intriguing array of performers ranging from the likes of Elton John and Bjork, both of whom have used it to record close-up gigs, to a stream of indie, folk and world-music groups. The acoustics are superb – it holds a full-sized organ – while the octagonal auditorium ensures everyone gets a good view. And yes, you do get to sit on wooden pews. As you’ll soon see if you venture off in search of the bar, it’s a bigger complex than first meets the eye. Subsidiary rooms are used for some smaller-scale shows.

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