Sometimes I’m amazed at how long I’ve been living in London. What often feels like a few months has actually been eight years, and the city has changed a lot in that time. When I first arrived, there wasn’t much to do around King’s Cross, but the area has been revitalized beyond recognition. Now I find myself there all the time to meet friends or just explore. So here’s a little guide to what’s new, from the best King’s Cross restaurants, bars, and cafes to the area’s prettiest squares, secret courtyards, and colorful streets.
The revitalization of this central London neighborhood started with the completion of the refurbishment of St Pancras train station in 2007, continued with the re-opening of the stunning Gothic Revival-style hotel next door, and went on with the development of neighboring King’s Cross station and its surrounding area. It’s all happened remarkably fast.
And now the construction is quieting down and the neighborhood is emerging from its makeover.
From the pedestrianized stretch of King’s Boulevard to the fountains in Pancras Square and Granary Square, there’s a lot more to bring locals and visitors to the area than there once was.
King’s Cross Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes
I’m one of the locals it brings. I find myself in the neighborhood a lot these days, whether it’s for drinks at one of the pubs or bars, or dinner with friends at one of the new restaurants in King’s Cross. I love having brunch at the outdoor tables at Caravan in Granary Square, and I’ve been looking forward to dinners at the new branches of Vinoteca and Granger & Co in Pancras Square.
Cocktails at the Booking Office Bar, one of my favorite travel-themed bars in London, are a regular occurrence, and I always love pressing the champagne button at Searcys in St Pancras Station. As for pubs, I have a special place in my heart for the riverside Canal 125, where I first met my boyfriend at an event last summer.
When I need a break from booze, I head back to St Pancras for tea at Fortnum & Mason’s sweet little cafe in the station.
King’s Cross Neighborhood
But despite the abundance of good King’s Cross restaurants, bars, and cafes, eating and drinking aren’t the only things to do there. Regent’s Canal cuts through the area, and there are plenty of colorful canal boats to browse along the Grand Union Tow Path. I love walking from Granary Square up to Camden on sunny Saturdays, taking in the waterside views along the way.
And speaking of the canal, the London Canal Museum is one of London’s secret museums. Tucked away on New Wharf Road, it offers insights into the history of the city’s waterways and their vessels. Nearby, the Pangolin London gallery showcases historic and contemporary British sculpture in a sleek space on York Way.
And a little further down the street are some of my favorite parts of King’s Cross. Hidden courtyards fill the area, drawing out my curious side as I duck my head into spaces showcasing a mix of old London and new. One such courtyard is Varnishers Yard, which reveals tapas bars, restaurants, and cafes with nice outdoor areas in between.
Just across Caledonian Road are streets like Keystone Crescent, which has some of the most colorful doors in London. They add welcome local and historic touches to the area, as if to remind us that despite all the new developments this is still a traditional neighborhood.
And thank goodness for that, because exploring different London neighborhoods has been one of my favorite things to do over the last eight years. I’m sure King’s Cross will look different in another eight, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for it.
What are your favorite places in King’s Cross?