How to spend a day in King’s Cross, north London’s most exciting neighbourhood
Our new microguides collection is impressed by the gradual journey motion, encouraging travellers to chill out their tempo and take a deep dive into one specific neighbourhood in a well-loved metropolis. Slightly than a whirlwind itinerary which goals to hit up each must-see attraction, these compact, close-up guides encourage you to zone in, take your time and really discover like an area.
Everybody will let you know that King’s Cross has modified past all recognition prior to now few many years. I’ve had loads of cab drivers smile fondly whereas reminiscing about how “it was once filled with prostitutes, y’know?”, as if harkening again to a happier time.
This space, operating from the Euston Street up York Means so far as the rail tracks and looping again down through Camley Road and Midland Street, was once a little bit of an city wasteland. As of late, it’s effectively and really shaken off its former seedy rep; an enormous quantity of funding has been pumped into the world, leading to one among central London’s finest eating, bar and buying scenes, all inside putting distance of one of many capital’s finest related stations (you’ll be able to even hop on the Eurostar when you tire of N1 and, extra broadly talking, the UK).
I’ve counted myself as an area for a lot of the previous decade, and even in that point I’ve seen it repeatedly evolve, with new occasions and companies arising on a regular basis. Right here’s spend a day or so exploring one among London’s most up-and-coming areas.
Hand around in Granary Sq.
Granary Sq. is the beating coronary heart of this new growth, and one among my favorite locations in London. Why? As a result of amid all of the locations able to take your cash – bougie bars, small plates eating places, a Waitrose that’s so posh it has a daily jazz evening – there’s a house that’s utterly free to sit back out in. In addition to benches and a number of tables and chairs which locals come and sit at year-round, bringing their very own bottles of wine, there are three central grids of fountains. In the summertime, it’s a delight to look at youngsters operating via them and having the time of their lives; within the winter, they’re typically lit by multicoloured lights and look reasonably stunning. There are additionally the large Granary Sq. steps main right down to the canal, the last word place to fulfill mates and folks watch (or catch a free movie from in summer season when a brief cinema display is erected).
Take a look at the art work
One of many issues that injected a shot of cool into King’s Cross was the choice to maneuver the campus of the world famend Central Saint Martins artwork and vogue faculty right here, flooding the world with a bunch of avant-garde, inventive sorts. Bridging the hole between college students and guests, the varsity’s hooked up Lethaby Gallery showcases chosen works from graduating BA and MA college students alongside work by workers, alumni and exterior associations. Admission is free.
Get your flex on
Health studio Body is the sort of institution that makes you are feeling just like the Instagram model of your self you aspire to be – continuously clad in Lululemon athleisure-wear and sipping a inexperienced juice – the second you step within the door. It’s this sense that compels me to, once in a while, shell out for one among their stylish train lessons at £16 a pop. There’s an enormous vary to select from, together with yoga, pilates and barre, however I’d advocate hitting up one among their “Occasion Exercises” for some precise enjoyable – choices embrace Previous Skool Bangers, Music Video, and 90s Dance Cardio.
Stroll alongside Regent’s Canal
The Regent’s Canal towpath is correct there, simply begging to be strolled. Head westwards alongside it and inside 20 minutes you’ll come to Camden Lock and its famed road meals stalls. Keep on additional and switch proper off the canal on Gloucester Avenue and you’ll take a stroll up close by Primrose Hill and admire the fabulous views. (OK, you’re not in King’s Cross any extra, but it surely’s price it.)
Again to nature
It’s quickly closed whereas present process drastic refurbishment to its customer centre, however Camley Road Pure Park, a pocket-sized nature reserve tucked away within the coronary heart of King’s Cross, is a delight. It’s managed by the Wildlife Belief and options woodland, grassland and wetland habitats that present a habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and flora. It’s slated to reopen on 13 October; admission free.
See some well-known graves
Tucked away from the hustle off Camley Road, you’ll discover St Pancras Gardens. In addition to the attractive St Pancras Previous Church, it boasts a graveyard with some reasonably putting components. See when you can spot the ultimate resting place of Financial institution of England architect Sir John Soane, a monument in honour of ladies’s rights champion Mary Wollstonecraft (who was laid to relaxation right here however whose stays had been later eliminated), and the reasonably eerie Hardy Tree – an odd stacking of gravestones round a tree that’s believed to have been created by creator Thomas Hardy.
This beloved chain of upscale Indian eating places has a department in King’s Cross, and there’s no finer place for a brunch or dinner with a standard “Bombay café” twist. It’s extremely well-liked within the evenings, however head there round 10am and there’s often no drawback getting a desk for an egg naan and cup of refillable home chai.
Granger and Co
Choose from small plates, bowls, burgers or, erm, plates, at this trendy, Australian-owned eatery. I’m a giant fan of the shrimp burger and black lentil dahl.
Beer and Burger
For one thing extra fast-food-like however nonetheless stylish, Beer and Burger gives up, effectively, beers and burgers. However the beers are craft, clearly, and the burgers have descriptions like: “Two aged, smashed beef patties, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Mikkeller Saison, Chipotle + Maple Bacon Ketchup, Shoestring Onions + Dill pickles, in an American glazed bun.” Good.
Choose up a mezze feast at Arabica which, not like lots of the native institutions, does really permit you to guide upfront (at all times a welcome function). Choose the Chef’s Tasting Menu and also you get to strive a little bit of all the pieces, together with a glass of fizz, for £37pp.
The Coal Workplace
This collaboration between chef Assaf Granit and inside design studio Tom Dixon serves finnicky however scrumptious Center Japanese fare: assume octopus with Yemeni pancakes, Jerusalem-style pretzels and Yellowtail ceviche with “feta snow”.
Comfortable Face Pizza
I’ve to present a shout-out to Comfortable Face, which has saved multiple impromptu night out in King’s Cross. They at all times have a desk, the wood-fired pizzas are scrumptious, and the costs are spot on (£7.50 for a margherita).
A bar only for vermouth, you say? However in fact! I believed I detested the fortified wine popularised by Martini earlier than I got here to this Coal Drops Yard watering gap, however they modified my thoughts with their intensive 40-strong menu.
If it’s vino you’re after, head to this vibrant, ethereal spot on King’s Boulevard, which boasts an award-winning wine checklist.
Searcys Champagne bar
Name me primary, however I nonetheless discover ordering a glass of fizz from the Searcys Champagne bar on the highest flooring of St Pancras impossibly stylish. Further factors when you get one earlier than sashaying onto the Eurostar to Paris.
The Star of Kings
Need an precise pub? They’re more durable to seek out than swish cocktail bars spherical these ends, however the Star of Kings (previously the Cross Kings) has stayed the course.
This Australian-owned brewery makes its personal craft beers onsite in its London house on the sting of Lewis Cubitt Park, served up alongside “native brews impressed by the UK beer scene”.
Get your espresso with a facet of social justice at this Coal Drops Yard café – it’s the “world’s first prison-based espresso firm”, serving to offenders reintegrate into society by coaching them in skilled roastery and barista abilities.
Each Saturday and Sunday, a whole market springs up within the house subsequent to Waitrose, with impartial stalls promoting all the pieces from classic brooches and bespoke ceramics to mushroom and truffle risotto and freshly made churros.
Phrase on the Water
This barge-turned-bookshop is an area favorite, parked up on the canal between York Means and the Granary Sq. Footbridge.
Coal Drops Yard
The newest piece of the King’s Cross puzzle, made up of outlets and locations to eat and drink, is enjoyable for a browse, although lots of the shops are prohibitively costly. Highlights embrace high-end charity store Boutique by Shelter; homeware, magnificence and vogue emporium Wolf and Badger; and dried flower purveyors Roseur. If you happen to’re seeking to strive however not purchase, head to Samsung’s sprawling flagship “expertise house”, the place you’ll be able to check out all their nifty devices (and, when you’re me, hold your nieces entertained for at the very least half an hour; maybe Samsung ought to open its personal line of creches?).
This pedestrian road between Items Means and King’s Cross station has a complete host of top-tier retailers, together with & Different Tales, Sweaty Betty, Nike Central and Carhartt.
This occasions venue has a broad, eclectic programme of gigs, talks, spoken phrase performances, comedy and even dwell podcast recordings, with moderately priced tickets that may typically be bagged for a tenner.
A café, bar and studio, Spiritland is a homage to all issues music, with a “world-class Dwelling Voice sound system”. It typically hosts occasions, together with DJ units, talks and album launches.
You may even catch a film – King’s Cross has its very personal Everyman Cinema, full with desk service and plush seats (although it does include costs to match).
St Pancras Renaissance
For a pushing-the-boat-out mattress for the evening, guide into the spectacular, Gothic-style Renaissance lodge in St Pancras station. It’s a five-star with excessive ceilings and first-class furnishings – it’s price it simply to snap a selfie on the enduring swooping, grand stairway (made forever-famous by the Spice Women within the “Wannabe” music video).
A extra wallet-friendly choice is the Premier Inn on York Means, the place a trustily comfy mattress and reassuringly acquainted environment virtually assure a superb evening’s sleep.