How to spend a day in King’s Cross, the most exciting area in North London

Our new series of microguides are inspired by the slow commute movement, encouraging travelers to slow down and dive deep into a particular neighborhood of a beloved city. Rather than a whirlwind itinerary that aims to see all the must-see attractions, these compact, up-close guides encourage you to focus, take your time, and truly explore like a local.

Everyone will tell you that King’s Cross has changed beyond recognition over the past decades. I had a lot of taxi drivers who smiled affectionately as they remembered how “it was full of prostitutes, you know?” As if they were stepping back to a happier time.

This area, stretching from Euston Road to York Way to the railroad tracks and back down via Camley Street and Midland Road, was once an urban wasteland. These days he is well and truly shaken by his shabby old rep; a huge amount of investment has been poured into the area, resulting in one of the best dining, bar and shopping venues in central London, all within a striking distance of one of the best connected stations in the capital (you can even board the Eurostar if you have enough of N1 and, more broadly, the United Kingdom).

I saw myself as a local for much of the past decade, and even during that time I saw it continually evolve, with new events and new businesses popping up all the time. Here’s how to spend a day or two exploring one of London’s most promising areas.

Make

Exit on Granary Square

Granary Square is the beating heart of this new development and one of my favorite places in London. Why? Because of all the places that are ready to take your money – candle bars, small plate restaurants, a Waitrose so chic that it hosts a regular jazz night – there’s a totally free space to hang out. As well as benches and several tables and chairs that locals come to sit on year-round, bringing their own bottles of wine, there are three central fountain grids. In summer it is a pleasure to see children running through them and having fun like crazy; in winter, they are often illuminated by multicolored lights and are quite beautiful. There are also the giant steps of Granary Square leading down to the canal, the perfect place to meet friends and people watch (or watch a free movie in the summer when a temporary cinema screen is erected).

The fountains of Granary Square are a popular spot

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Discover the work of art

One of the things that made King’s Cross cool was the decision to move the campus of the world-famous Central Saint Martins art and fashion school here, flooding the neighborhood with a bevy of guys. avant-garde creatives. Bridging the gap between students and visitors, the school’s Lethaby Gallery features selected works by undergraduate and masters graduate students, as well as work from staff, alumni, and external associations. Free entry.

Put your flex

The Frame Fitness Studio is the kind of establishment that makes you feel like the Instagram version of yourself you aspire to be – constantly dressed in Lululemon sportswear and sipping green juice – from the moment you step through the door. door. It’s that feeling that forces me, every now and then, to fork out for one of their trendy £ 16-a-pop exercise classes. There is a huge range to choose from, including yoga, pilates, and the barre, but I recommend you try out one of their ‘party workouts’ for some real fun – options include Old Skool Bangers. , 90s dance music video and cardio.

Walk along the Regent’s Canal

The Regent’s Canal towpath is right there, begging to be strolled. Head west and in 20 minutes you’ll reach Camden Lock and its famous street food stalls. Continue further and turn right at the canal exit onto Gloucester Avenue and you can walk to nearby Primrose Hill and take in the fabulous views. (OK, you’re not at King’s Cross anymore, but it’s worth it.)

Stroll along the Regent’s Canal

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Back to nature

It’s temporarily closed during a drastic renovation of its visitor center, but Camley Street Nature Park, a pocket-sized nature reserve nestled in the heart of King’s Cross, is a delight. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust and includes forest, grassland and wetland habitats that provide habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and plant life. It is scheduled to reopen on October 13; Admission fee.

See some famous graves

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Camley Street you will find St Pancras Gardens. In addition to the beautiful old St Pancras Church, it has a graveyard with some pretty striking features. See if you can spot the final resting place of Bank of England architect Sir John Soane, a monument in honor of women’s rights champion Mary Wollstonecraft (who was buried here but whose remains have been removed later), and the rather odd Hardy Tree – an odd pile of tombstones around a tree believed to have been created by author Thomas Hardy.

To eat

Dishoom

This beloved chain of upscale Indian restaurants has a branch in King’s Cross, and there’s no better place for brunch or dinner with a traditional ‘Bombay Cafe’ touch. It’s incredibly popular in the evenings, but get there around 10am and there’s usually no problem getting a table for an egg naan and a refillable cup of homemade chai.

Granger and company

Choose from small plates, bowls, burgers or, uh, plates, at this stylish Australian restaurant. I’m a big fan of the shrimp burger and black lentil dahl.

The Hardy Tree in St Pancras Gardens

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Beer and Burger

For something more fast food but still trendy, Beer and Burger has, well, beers and burgers. But the beers are artisanal, obviously, and the burgers have descriptions like: “Two Aged Mashed Beef Patties, Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Mikkeller Saison, Chipotle + Maple Bacon Ketchup, Shoestring Onions + Dill Pickles, in a Bun. American iced. ” Attractive.

Arabica

Pick up a mezze feast at the Arabica which, unlike many local establishments, actually lets you book in advance (always a welcome feature). Select the chef’s tasting menu and you can try a bit of everything, with a glass of sparkling wine, for £ 37 per person.

The coal office

This collaboration between chef Assaf Granit and interior design studio Tom Dixon serves refined but delicious Middle Eastern cuisine: think octopus with Yemeni pancakes, Jerusalem pretzels, and a yellowtail ceviche with “Snow feta”.

Happy face pizza

I have to salute Happy Face, who saved more than an impromptu night at King’s Cross. They always have a table, the wood-fired pizzas are delicious and the prices are fair (£ 7.50 for a margherita).

Coal Drops Yard is the new shopping destination

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To drink

Vermuteria

A bar just for vermouth, you say? But of course! I thought I hated the fortified wine popularized by Martini before I came to this Coal Drops Yard waterhole, but they changed their mind with their expansive 40-course menu.

Vinoteca

If that’s the wine you’re after, head to this bright and airy spot on King’s Boulevard, which features an award-winning wine list.

Searcys champagne bar

Call me basic, but I still find ordering a glass of bubbly at the Searcys Champagne Bar on the top floor of St Pancras to be incredibly fancy. Additional points if you get one before taking the Eurostar to Paris.

The star of kings

Fancy a real pub? They’re harder to find than the fancy cocktail bars at these ends, but the Star of Kings (formerly the Cross Kings) has stayed the course.

Word on the Water is a floating library

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Little creatures

This Australian brewery makes its own craft beers on-site at its London home on the edge of Lewis Cubitt Park, served alongside ‘local breweries inspired by the British beer scene’.

Redemption rotisseries

Get your coffee with a social justice side at this Coal Drops Yard cafe – it’s the ‘World’s First Coffee Company in Prison’, helping offenders reintegrate into society by training them in professional roasting and roasting skills. barista.

Shop

Canopy market

Every Saturday and Sunday, an entire market thrives in the space next to Waitrose, with independent stalls selling everything from vintage brooches and bespoke ceramics to mushroom and truffle risotto and freshly made churros.

Word on the water

This houseboat turned bookstore is a local favorite, parked on the canal between York Way and the Granary Square footbridge.

Coal Drops Court

The final piece of the King’s Cross puzzle, consisting of shops and places to eat and drink, is fun to browse, although many shops are prohibitively expensive. Highlights include the upscale Boutique by Shelter charity shop; Wolf and Badger Homeware, Beauty and Fashion Department Store; and suppliers of dried flowers Roseur. If you’re looking to try but not buy, head to Samsung’s expansive flagship ‘experience space’, where you can try out all of their nifty gadgets (and, if you’re me, keep your nieces entertained for at least half a year). time; maybe Samsung should open its own line of nurseries?).

Renaissance St Pancras Hotel

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Boulevard du Roi

This pedestrianized street between Goods Way and King’s Cross Station is packed with top-notch boutiques, including & Other Stories, Sweaty Betty, Nike Central and Carhartt.

See

King’s Square

This event venue offers a huge, eclectic program of concerts, lectures, spoken word performances, comedies and even live podcast recordings, with reasonably priced tickets that can often be bagged for ten. of dollars.

Land of spirits

Café, bar and studio, Spiritland is a tribute to all things music, with a “world-class Living Voice audio system”. It often hosts events including DJ sets, talks, and album launches.

Each man

You can even watch a movie – King’s Cross has its own Everyman Theater, with table service and plush seating (though prices match).

Have a glass of cheeky sparkling before your train

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To stay

Saint Pancras Renaissance

For a bed that pushes the boat up for the night, book into the impressive Renaissance Gothic-style hotel at St Pancras Station. It’s a five-star with high ceilings and first-class furnishings – well worth taking a selfie on the iconic grand plunging staircase (made famous forever by the Spice Girls in the “Wannabe” music video).

Premier Inn

A friendlier option is the Premier Inn on York Way, where a comfortable, reliable bed and a familiar, reassuring environment virtually guarantees a good night’s sleep.

About Guillermo Russell

Guillermo Russell

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