Originally just a busy rail hub, this north London neighbourhood is a destination in its own right, all focused around the beautifully redeveloped former train goods yards which sit alongside the Regent’s Canal. Not only is the area well served by fashion store branches, but also features independent retailers and charity shops, along with some even on the water itself.
If you can drag yourself away from the shops, you’ll be full to bursting with the number of restaurants and food markets on offer. For a taste of culture, there are several established museums and some newer entrants to visit.
So whether you’re waiting for a train, staying near King’s Cross or just passing through, here’s what you can get up to and where you can grab a bite to eat.
Check Out King’s Cross Station
Yes, this London train terminus is home to that famous wizard’s secret train platform, or at least photo op location that you don’t even have to buy a ticket to visit. While you’re queuing up for that, take a minute to enjoy the sweeping, canopy-style steel ceiling that covers much of the concourse, or visit one of the many pop-up events that often take place in the station.
Have Breakfast Or Lunch At Granger & Co
This little spot just off King’s Boulevard between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations serves up a brunch so good, it may well be worth missing your train for. Part of an Aussie-inspired international chain, this branch’s pastel colours and massive windows really channel the sunshine, coupled with a menu high in flavour, but remarkably low in guilt. Grab a seat outside if you can for extra people-watching goodness. Yes, Granger & Co.’s walk-in only policy may mean there’s a queue, but that’s no excuse, just get a friend to wait in line while you enjoy the Birdcage swing that sits just opposite the restaurant.
Explore Granary Square
Packed with pop-up cinemas, food markets, cafes, restaurants and bars all focused around a massive fountain, Granary Square is now one of the busiest and most exciting open spaces in London. You’ll be spoilt for choice between its canal-side events, concerts and other major events that take over the square throughout the year.
Shop At Coal Drops Yard
If one beautifully restored industrial spot isn’t enough for you, well King’s Cross has another ace up its sleeve in the form of Coal Drops Yard. Housed in former Victorian industrial warehouses, you’ll find independent boutiques, plenty of places to eat and the occasional pop-up shop or installation all hidden among the arches, just next to the canal. Stick around for its busy calendar of events, featuring live music, craft workshops and food festivals.
Visit The Free British Library
Don’t let the rather plain redbrick building put you off, this cultural powerhouse will have you reaching for a bookmark in no time. If their permanent collection showcasing two millennia of texts with everything from Shakespeare to the Beatles isn’t enough for you, the venue also hosts some of the most interesting literary and historical temporary exhibitions in the capital. If you’re feeling rather studious, explore their collection or take a study break in the quiet confines of the Reading Rooms, overlooked by possibly the largest set of books you’ll ever set your eyes on in the form of the King’s Library Tower. Finished your last chapter? Then take a break from the books and King’s Cross itself with a moment in the peaceful library courtyard
Go To The Wellcome Collection
They say you should treat your body like a temple – well this place is a temple dedicated to the body, more specifically its health. A breath of fresh air on the London museum scene, you’ll be challenged by thought-provoking temporary exhibitions dealing with subjects you’d never have imagined. On top of that there’s an intriguing permanent collection of medical artefacts amassed by the museum’s founder, Sir Henry Wellcome.
Stock Up On Books At Word On The Water
No stroll down the Regent’s Canal is complete without a stop off at Word On The Water, a secret treasure trove of pre-loved, or second-hand, books. If you’re lucky enough you can also catch one of the poetry readings or live music performances they regularly stage.