At one time the area surrounding King’s Cross was associated with dingy late night bars and some of the city’s most untoward activities: Today though it couldn’t be more different. The unwelcoming bars and clubs have mostly gone and instead one of London’s newest and hippest area to hang out is developing. In the last few years this area has had an astronomical amount of money and creativity poured into it and the results are showing as interesting, classy and entertaining ways to spend your time in London are appearing. The British Library, the Welcome Collection, Central St Martin’s and the Guardian are all there now and it seems a fabulous new restaurant or attraction opens up every day. So, if you’re looking for a great autumn break, this could be just the answer. Book your ticket to London and we’ll fill you in on the best things to do in King’s Cross…
Soak Up Some Culture at Kings Place
One of the real triumphs of the newly developed area of King’s Cross is King’s Place. It’s a hub for music, art and food which is all found inside one award winning building. There’s a wide range of events going on there from the wacky to the wonderful – Perhaps join a Piano-Yoga class (Yoga for Pianists) or see some Classical Music, Folk or Jazz, or go to the regular Thursday evening Comedy night, Off With Their Heads. Also well worth a visit is Pangolin London, a wonderful gallery dedicated to modern and contemporary sculpture, as is the King’s Place Gallery which features regularly changing art exhibitions.
Visit the London Canal Museum
The canals are a fascinating part of London’s history and there is no better place to find out about them than the London Canal Museum. Today the canals are a place of leisure, with many Londoner’s using the tow path as a place to walk, jog or cycle, though once these canals provided vital transport connections for the city. The Museum gives an extraordinary insight into Victorian London when the canals were first created and you and you can take a look inside a narrow boat, learn about the cargoes carried on the boats and the horses that pulled them. The museum also has a genuine Victorian ice well where imported Norwegian Ice was stored after arrival before being sold to wealthy Londoners and even an early Ice-cream Maker! This is a lovely museum, a little off the beaten track and all the better for it.
See Platform 9 and ¾
If you’re a Harry Potter fan it will be a little hard to resist visiting this spot, where in all of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books the legendary Hogwarts Express leaves for wizard school. Of course, unless your own magical powers are up to scratch you won’t actually be able to take a train from the platform but you can enjoy taking a few snaps in the famous spot and taking in the impressive architecture of this huge station.
Explore the Oldest Christian Worship Site in Britain
Founded in 314 AD St Pancras Old Church is literally bursting with history. The church that you see today was actually rebuilt in 1837 but the site is itself is the oldest of its kind in Britain. The graveyard has become the final resting place for many famous people including, composer Johann Christian Bach and Mary Wollstonecraft, the ‘mother of Feminism’. In 1968 the Beatles even famously visited – for a photo-shoot! This is a fascinating spot and really is quite unlike anywhere else.
Dine Railway Style
If you are treating yourself to dinner out whilst you’re in King’s Cross we recommend Plum + Spilt Milk at the Great Northern Hotel, where Mark Sergeant (Gordon Ramsay’s protégé) cooks up Modern British cuisine in chic and lively surroundings. There’s a real buzz to this place as business travellers and locals, young, old and everyone in between gather to dine in the beautifully designed restaurant, which can be accessed from the station’s main concourse. Try the Moons Green charcuterie plate to start and follow it up with the fantastic Salt Marsh lamb shank hot pot. And whatever you do don’t miss pudding. The citrusy Lemon posset, or the very English Kentish Gypsy tart, or even the Baked Alaska? It doesn’t matter, they’re all delicious – preferably order them all!
Take a Walk
London’s Canal network links the city together in a way that takes you away from traffic and into another pace of the city. You’ll pass countless runners and cyclists and probably spot the odd heron and moor hen too. The stretch that takes you to Regents Park is lovely, it takes about half an hour and leaves you free to wander around the park on arrival. Once you are there you could visit the famous London Zoo, where last week 300 people streaked to raise awareness of the plight of the Sumatran Tiger!
Stay at the Gorgeous Great Northern Hotel
The Great Northern Hotel in St Pancras is London’s original Victorian Railway Hotel and it stands proudly right next to King’s Cross Station. It reopened this year after a huge £40m restoration project and is now looking better than ever. The hotel has 91 rooms, all expertly decorated, with free WIFI, in room entertainment and a ‘pantry’ on every floor where guests can help themselves to home-baked cakes and nespresso coffees. The hotel has a rather glamorous bar too, the GNH Bar and the restaurant (which was our foodie pick!) is great at all times of the day.
We hope all of this has given you some ideas for your next trip to London – we are always happy to hear if you have any great ideas too! A little tip for King’s Cross though – pick up a map as many of King’s Crosses spots are so new Google Maps hasn’t necessarily caught up yet, so you can’t rely on your smart phone! Enjoy.
This article is brought to you by the Great Northern Hotel, an iconic boutique hotel metres from St Pancras International and home to the Plum + Spilt Milk restaurant.
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