12 Killer Things To Do In King’s Cross St. Pancras
Home to Eurostar – which is set within the magnificent St. Pancras station – King’s Cross is often many people’s first impression of our beloved capital. And what was once a bit of a grubby and rundown area in days gone by, it’s now been completely revitalised due to a massive redevelopment project in Coal Drops Yard which has seen a whole gamut of shops, bars and bougie restaurants pop up all over the shop. So, without further ado, here are 12 killer things to do in King’s Cross – and no, posing for a photograph at the fake Platform 9 ¾ doesn’t feature. Though we’re not judging if that’s your bag…
1. Walk through the psychedelic King’s Cross Tunnel
Kicking off this roundup of the best things to do in King’s Cross and the area surrounding it is the King’s Cross Tunnel – a 90-metre long tunnel featuring an ‘art wall’ made entirely of LED lights, which are used to showcase a whole host of eclectic artistic commissions.
It links the stations with the shops, bars and eateries of Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square, and has even been used as a catwalk during London Fashion Week. Better bring your iPhone to this one then…
📍1 Pancras Square, London, N1C 4AG.
The aptly-named Word on the Water has been bobbing on the waters of London since 2011, and like the pirate ships of old, it’s hauling some sweet booty. Except instead of gold coins and purloined treasures, this place is carrying a whole lotta books.
London’s only floating bookshop, this is the place to come if you’re looking for some R&R right by the canal. Rifle through the shelves outside, or head inside for stacks of books on a huge range of subjects, warmed by a cosy stove. Where else are you going to have the chance to read Austen on a 1920’s barge? Clue – nowhere!
📍Regent’s Canal Towpath, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4LW
3. While away the hours in the sunshine at the Granary Square steps
Speaking of Regent’s Canal, there’s another spot for you to really enjoy it – and that place in question is the Granary Square Steps. Carpeted in green during the balmy summer months, the steps form a natural amphitheatre, ideal for outdoor arts, music gigs, live sports and cinema screenings.
It’s incredibly popular, so you might need to fight your way through throngs of lively punters post-work – particularly when something like Wimbledon is showing – but it’s well worth the hassle. What’s not to love about meeting a group of mates when the sun’s shining with a bag of cans by the canal?
📍Grand Union Towpath, London, N1C 4AB.
Sticking around Coal Drops Yard, you’ll find Queer Britain, which as the UK’s first ever national LGBTQ+ museum, is well worth a visit. Opening back in May 2022, it’s a celebratory, representative, and informative spot, and has been designed to allow the country’s queer communities to find an in-depth record of their past, all the while looking to their future too.
The award-winning ‘We Are Queer Britain!’ exhibition is definitely worth a visit when you’re here. Arriving shortly after the museum’s opening, it marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride March, and is described as ‘a diverse and rich array of artefacts that culminates voices, objects and images from the worlds of activism, art, culture and social history covering over 100 years of queer life’.
📍2 Granary Square, London, N1C 4BH.
5. Scoff schnitzel at the German Gymnasium
Offering various set and à la carte (apologies for the cultural confusion there) menus, German Gymnasium is the perfect place for almost any occasion… particularly for a damn good schnitzel, thank you very much.
The impressive building was England’s very first purpose-built gymnasium, but is now an up-market eatery specialising in German cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant itself breathes grandeur and the food is sehr, sehr gut! There’s also a whole host of German draught beers on tap – Prost!
📍King’s Boulevard, London, N1C 4BU
6. Chill out with an Aperol Spritz at Big Chill’s rooftop bar
A great spot if you’re looking for a bevvie or two, Big Chill is a lively spot spread over three floors which also has a bangin’ roof terrace too. A colourful space, it’s full to the brim with bright and comfy chairs, vintage signage and little pots of plants and herbs.
The drinks are served out of sheds, there’s a dedicated Aperol Spritz bar and bottomless brunch is served at the weekends. They’ve also got street food favourites Chuck Burger in residence here, as well as DJs spinning tunes at the weekends. So, basically, it ticks all the boxes! They’ve also got a sister venue in Brick Lane if you’re out East way.
📍257-259 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NL.
7. Grab a cuppa or and a charcuterie board at Fork Deli
This lovely London deli-cum-café is located right in the heart of Bloomsbury just a stone’s throw away from King’s Cross tube, and they serve up some of the meanest toasties, paninis and soups you can find anywhere in Central. Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in a whole host of mouth-watering cakes and freshly-baked pastries – from gluten-free chocolate cake to traditional Portuguese pastel de natas – and they source all their ingredients and sourdough breads from local producers.
And the best thing of all? The staff are super friendly, and they double as a wine bar, so you can while away the hours from day to night, swapping cups of coffee and emmental and ham sandwiches for carafes of vino and cheese and charcuterie boards – fancy!
📍85 Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AL.
8. Survey the views from atop The Standard
It’s safe to say you can have a pretty good time at The Standard, a luxe five-star hotel set right opposite St. Pancras station. You can hop from the hotel’s chic ground floor bar up to their gorgeous rooftop hangout – which opened back in Summer 2021 and from where you can enjoy some of the best panoramic views in the whole of London.
But the cream of the crop we think is their newest addition Sweeties – a glitzy cocktail bar, disco, and late-night lounge with floor-to-ceiling views of that spectacular station. This one really hits the spot – a good date-night spot perhaps?
📍10 Argyle Street, London, WC1H 8EG.
Another one of the best things to do in King’s Cross is a visit to the plush Porte Noire, which is owned by none other than Luther himself – the myth, the man, the legend Idris Elba. Located within the iconic Gasholders, it’s named after the actor’s established wine and champagne brand, and offers around 800 different wine bins for you to choose from.
While wine and Champagne make up most of the menu, some top-end spirits will also be on offer. Plus, if you get peckish, there’s a full French brasserie-style menu to tuck into, featuring the likes of an Oeuf Meurette – a classy Burgundian plate of poached eggs with red wine sauce and slow cooked beef cheek – best followed by a plate of cheese. Oh darling!
📍Unit A Gasholder 10, 1 Lewis Cubitt Square, N1C 4BY.
10. Join the queue for the ever popular Roti King
Now we love a BYOB here at Secret London – I mean, who doesn’t, particularly within a cost of living crisis – so we knew that Roti King had to be on this list. A tiny, cult Malaysian spot, it’s situated right across the road from Euston station, and specialises in unforgettable roti canai – a flatbread of Indian origin that is extremely popular in both Malaysia and Singapore.
They’ve also got the ‘Nasi Lemak’ – steamed coconut rice served with peanuts, fried anchovies, cucumber, egg, sambal and spiced fried chicken – which is pretty much to die for, and some mean noodle and curry dishes too. All the food here is halal-prepared, but a word of advice – it gets very busy here, so be prepared to queue.
📍40 Doric Way, London, NW1 1LH.
11. Dabble in class at Searcys St. Pancras Champagne Bar
Searcys St. Pancras boasts the title of ‘Europe’s longest champagne bar’ at an impressive 98 metres, all set above St. Pancras station terminal. Sit yourself down on a heated leather seat, admire the beauty of the station’s architecture, and press a button for Champagne (yes, quite literally).
Undoubtedly one of the best (and bougiest) things you can do in King’s Cross, you can even add some Jersey Rock oysters to your banquette to really up your game. Perfect if you’re hopping aboard the Eurostar to Paris. When in Rome…
📍Grand Terrace, St Pancras International Station, N1C 4Q.
12. Enjoy some peace and quiet at the Calthorpe Community Garden
Rounding off this list of the best things to do in King’s Cross is paying a visit to the Calthorpe Community Garden – a green oasis right in the heart of the neighbourhood which has been connecting residents to Mother Nature all the way since 1984.
It’s a secluded spot which offers the perfect respite from getting away from the hustle and bustle of London Town. They’ve also got a wide range of classes on here too, such as therapeutic horticulture, cooking classes and sport. It’s well worth checking out!
📍258-274 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8LH.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best things to do in King’s Cross. From landmark museums to bougie bars, this neck of the woods has plenty going for it, so why not make the trip and see what you can tick off!
Also published on Medium.