Today, I’m going to share with you my tour guide for King’s Cross, London. The neighborhood has seen more change than any other area of the city’s center since I arrived in the UK and there’s a many things to do and see in the vicinity of King’s Cross and St Pancras stations for trains.
Sometimes I’m surprised by how long I’ve lived in London. What seems like a few months is actually more than a decade long, as the place has evolved quite a bit in the time.
When I first moved here I was a newcomer, there wasn’t much to do in King’s Cross, but the region has been transformed beyond recognition. Today, I am in the area all day long to make friends or take a stroll around.
Here’s a quick review of the latest happenings and the most popular King’s Cross cafes, restaurants and bars to the city’s most gorgeous parks, hidden courtyards, and lively streets.
Rejuvenation of King’s Cross
The revitalization of the central London neighborhood began with the finalization of the renovation of St Pancras International train station in 2007 and then the unveiling of the renowned contemporary Western Concourse roofing located at King’s Cross station in 2011.
The celebration continued with the grand opening of the Gothic Revival style St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. It’s among the most stunning historic structures in London today, and is an ideal hotel to stay in.
The metamorphosis continued as did the growth of the entire King’s Cross area. The whole process happened very fast, and it’s evolving at the time I’m writing.
From the pedestrian-friendly section from King’s Boulevard to the fountains in Pancras Square and Granary Square There’s more that draws tourists and locals to this region of London than it was previously.
King’s Cross Cafes, Restaurants and Bars
I’m among the residents it attracts. I’m frequently in the neighborhood lately, whether for a drink at one the bars or for dinner with a group of friends at one the numerous King’s Cross cafes and restaurants.
I love brunching at the tables outside on the terrace of Caravan at Granary Square, and I’ve enjoyed many evenings and afternoons with my friends at Vinoteca, German Gymnasium, and Granger & Co in Pancras Square.
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The cocktails at The Booking Office Bar, one of my top bars that is themed around travel in London is a common event, and I like clicking the champagne icon in Searcys located in St Pancras station.
This is not even taking into account the cost of drinks on the canal at The Lighterman as well as other bars that line the water.
If I’m in need of an escape from alcohol I go into St Pancras for tea at Fortnum and Mason’s lovely little cafe inside the station.
Things to do Things to Do in King’s Cross
Despite the many great bars, restaurants and cafes and drinking aren’t all there is that you’ll find within King’s Cross.
The Train Stations
Side-by-side train stations are worth a visit even when you’re not on a train. St Pancras International is one of the most stunning stations of London both in and out and has many excellent cafes and shops.
There are fun sculptures on its higher levels, too. It is considered to be one that is among the most beautiful spots in London.
King’s Cross is equally beautiful especially because of its stunning new roof. The tunnel is also underground that is lit with different colors, and is a popular spot for photography.
The most important thing is that King’s Cross station is home to Platform 9 3/4 of Harry Potter fame. People from all over the world visit to get their photograph taken with the statue of a cart that is pushed across the station’s wall.
Regent’s Canal cuts through King’s Cross and there are many colorful canal boats to be seen in the towpath.
There’s another one, Word on the Water, one of my top bookstores located in London. This boat-turned-bookstore is a great place to see on my self-guided London literary walk.
In the spirit of walking I love strolling through the canal starting from Granary Square up to Camden on warm days, taking in the views of the water along the route.
Shop in King’s Cross
There’s also a lot of shopping to be had in King’s Cross. From the stores that line King’s Boulevard to the Harry Potter Shop located in King’s Cross station, there’s plenty of options.
That’s not even talking of the arches from the railway that were restored within Coal Drops Yard, which are home to some of the finest designs and clothing shops in London.
King’s Cross Markets
There are some great markets as well. The hours of operation vary and you should verify before visiting.
The Real Food Market in King’s Cross is home to approximately 40 producers that sell top-quality, artisanal produce as well as prepared food items in the area outside the station on a weekly basis.
In Pancras Square, the Canopy Market includes stalls offering local products, specialty beverages, foods, and other artisanal items under an Victorian glass and steel roof that offers a welcome shade on the rainy day in London.
In Lewis Cubitt Square, KERB King’s Cross is an afternoon street food market featuring stalls that offer a variety of international cuisines and delectable sweets.
Parks and Gardens
KERB is situated near one of the most beautiful parks of King’s Cross, too. Lewis Cubitt Park is a rectangular lawn that is surrounded by modern design and sculptures all over. It showcases the new developments in the area and is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic in London.
In addition, Gasholder Park is a unique green space that is a canalside feature with the cast iron gas holder’s original frame set on the lawn in a circular shape.
Over the canal, Camley Street Natural Park is a nature reserve in the city located in King’s Cross. It has an open meadow of wildflowers and reedbed areas, wetlands and a visitor’s center.
Nearby, Saint Pancras Gardens show off the historical King’s Cross in the same manner that Lewis Cubitt Park showcases the modern aspect of the city.
This green space is complemented and includes the churchyard St Pancras Old Church, it is believed by a few to be among the oldest Christian worship spots in England.
The park also has an ash tree that has growing around piles of tombstones from the past. The tree is referred to as”the Hardy Tree and is said to be named in honor of the famous 19th century English author Thomas Hardy.
As part of his task as an architect’s assistant, Hardy was responsible for the removal of dead bodies from the churchyard while they were being removed as the St Pancras railway was being constructed in the 1850s.
King’s Cross Museums and Galleries
There’s more of history to be found in the museums, too. It is the London Canal Museum is among London’s most secret museums that is full of local history.
In a quiet corner of New Wharf Road, it provides a glimpse into the past and development of New York’s rivers as well as their vessels.
In Granary Square, the House of Illustration is a free public art gallery located in King’s Cross that was opened in 2014 by Sir Quentin Blake. The gallery is dedicated to all things illustrations and hosts rotating exhibits.
Nearby The Pangolin London gallery exhibits both modern and historical British sculptures in a contemporary area on York Way.
Courtyards, and Side Streets
A little further down the street, there are some of my favourite places in King’s Cross. There are hidden courtyards that line the streets that draw my attention to my curiosity as I look around in areas that showcase a blend of the old London and contemporary.
One of these courtyards one of these courtyards is Varnishers Yard. It houses the tapas bar, restaurant and cafes that have nice outdoor areas between.
In the opposite direction of Caledonian Road are streets like Keystone Crescent, which has some of the most colourful entrances in London.
They bring the welcome historical and local touches to the neighborhood in a bid to remind us that in spite of all the recent developments, it’s still a neighborhood that is traditional.
King’s Cross, London
Thank God for that as exploring the various London neighbourhoods is one of my favourite things to do in the past 10 years.
I’m confident that King’s Cross will look different in the next 10 years, and I’m eager to see what’s to come for the area.