If there was a prize for the most dramatically regenerated area of London, then Kings Cross would win hands down. Back in the 1990s it was a smoggy, clogged artery of the UK’s train network, famously miserable and full of the seedier side of life. Twenty years and millions of pounds later and the dual stations of Kings Cross and St. Pancras are now a suitably grand entrance hall to the capital. Whether disembarking from the Eurostar, preparing for a grand adventure abroad or looking for a great day out, the revamped Granary Square, classic Euston Road and still developing York Road now offer an excellent selection of amazing bars, shops, restaurants, museums and more. Keep reading to uncover the best things to do near Kings Cross.
1. Grain Store
This restaurant from award-winning French maestro Bruno Loubet is the jewel in Granary Square’s crown. The industrial space has been renovated and overhauled so that a wonderful open and light modern kitchen is there for all guests to see, framed by old brickwork. Whether popping in for a quick cocktail or delicious snacks the standard is always high. Whilst the main meals are quite pricey, the all-day menu features all sorts of tasty treats for under a tenner, including the stand-out vegetable chorizo ‘scotch egg’, fennel & aioli.
All day menu served Monday – Friday, Noon – 10.30pm / Saturday 3.30pm – 10.30pm. Granary Square, King’s Cross, 1-3 Stable St, London N1C 4AB
2. House of Illustration
House of Illustration is the UK’s only public gallery dedicated solely to illustration, with a creative programme of exhibitions, talks and events. Founded by Sir Quentin Blake and opened in July 2014 at the heart of the King’s Cross regeneration area, it is the place to see, learn about and enjoy illustration in all its forms; from advertisements to animation, picture books to political cartoons and scientific drawings to fashion design. Some of the country’s most renowned cartoonists and illustrators (many of which are displayed on the walls) host workshops and special events.
Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BH
3. Camley Street Nature Park
Two unique acres of wild green space right in the heart of London, this innovative and internationally acclaimed reserve on the banks of the Regent’s Canal is a place for both people and wildlife. CamleyStreet Natural Park was created from an old coal yard back in 1984. It is popular with all kinds of people seeking respite from the buzz of the city, as well as being a hub for London Wildlife Trust volunteers. The reserve has a visitor centre and provides natural habitat for birds, butterflies, amphibians and a rich variety of plant life. A perfect place to take green-fingered little ones on a bright spring day.
Opening Times: Winter 10am – 4pm, Summer 10am – 5pm. 12 Camley St, London N1C 4PW
Next door to Grain Store, Caravan adds a bit more bustle to its neighbour’s class. It’s the perfect place for a slap-up breakfast before heading out into the world, full of the most original ingredients to get you going for the day. There’s their version of a fry-up, classic or baked eggs with Merguez sausage and barbecued baked beans with chorizo. If you fancy something a bit more experimental then the courgette and corn fritters with chilli jam is a sure-fire zinger.
Opening Times: Monday/Tuesday 8am – 10:30pm; Wednesday/Thursday 8am – 11pm; Friday 8am – Midnight; Saturday 10am – Midnight; Sunday 10am – 4pm. 1, Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
5. The Greek Larder
As the new Kings Cross site has developed, its fringes have also begun to flower with excellent places like the Greek Larder. A dual delicatessen and restaurant showcasing Greek food at its fresh, delicious best. Founded by award-winning Theodore Kyriakou, they showcase the finest in Greek produce including cheeses, charcuterie, olives, Cycladic honey, pulses, traditional sweets and delicacies: the best from small regional producers.
Opening Times: Monday – Friday 8am – 10:30pm; Saturday 10am – 10:30pm; Sunday 11am – 4pm. ArtHouse, 1 York Way, London N1C 4AS
6. Star of Kings
Lively to the changes happening in the area, this great pub gave itself a makeover from its dingy past and it’s now reaping the benefits. If you want a burger and a pint there are probably few better places around Kings Cross. The cracking idiosyncratic menu includes the Kings (with oxtail chilli), the Elvis (with peanut butter and banana!) and the appropriately named vegetarian Morrissey. Meanwhile, downstairs has a low-ceilinged performance space perfect for comedy. It hosts the regular Comedy Grotto, where alternative legends such as Kevin Eldon, Simon Munnery and Mae Martin road test new gags, plus an array of excellent musical nights including London’s only Disney and Musicals club night: ‘Pure Unfortunate Souls’!
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 11:30am – Midnight; Friday 11:30 am – 1am; Saturday Midday – 1am. 126 York Way, London N1 0AX
For all the outstanding restaurants which have germinated around Kings Cross, its signature food hub is this pop-up. Although it’s closed during the rainy winter months, Kerb is one of the finest showcases for up and coming street food in London. With everything from Vietnamese Pho to damned if we know, there’s always a kaleidoscopic array of culinary delights here.
Opening Times: Various – check website. Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA
8. Platform 9 3/4
If this is your first time in London and you’re a Harry Potter fan then this is an absolute must. It’s accompanied by a well-stocked gift shop next door, but the real fun here is seeing just how high you can jump whilst holding the trolley for that perfect ‘I’m heading for Hogwarts via magic’ photo.
Opening Times: Sunday – Friday 5am – 1:36am; Saturday 5am – 1:11am. Kings Cross Station, London N1C 4AP
9. Skip Garden Kitchen
In amongst the sophisticated bistros and pubs that have grown up, the Skip Garden provides some down to earth homeliness and fun. Whilst it’s been redeveloped Kings Cross has been jam-packed with skips, so this company decided to rescue and re-purpose them by filling them full of soil, seeds and – in time – delicious vegetables. Now they’re open and selling delicious super salads from their makeshift gardens, as well as scones, crumpets and refreshing teas.
Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm. Tapper Walk, London N1C 4AQ
After officially opening its doors in June 2017, 2Northdown has quickly become the go-to live venue for the best names in comedy, hosting the elite through to the newest of new. The team have worked hard to create a multi-purpose space to cater to a wide variety of intimate live events, private hires and even functions as a rehearsal space. The experienced industry-specialist staff help make every show as enjoyable as possible!
Opening Times: 9am – 11pm 2 Northdown St, London N1 9BG
11. The British Library
It may be stating the obvious, but a trip to London should always include the British Library. Don’t let this big, iconic venue bypass you as you enter London. In addition to its constantly bewitching statute of Sir Isaac Newton, there are always a variety of excellent exhibitions on subjects as diverse as the history of comic books, a spell-binding array of religious texts from centuries gone by to a history of erotic literature! For locals, the Library contains an excellent cafe and wraparound wi-fi – the perfect environment to grab a table and work surrounded by the finest thinkers bound up in paper and glue.
Opening Times: Monday/Friday 9:30am – 6pm; Tuesday – Thursday 9:30am – 8pm; Saturday 9:30am – 5pm; Sunday 11am – 5pm. 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
12. Wellcome Collection
A museum dedicated to medicine might sound as much fun as a trip to the GP for your flu jab, but the Wellcome Collection houses a fascinating array of oddities and curios, as well as a regularly changing main exhibition. The heart of the collection is a journey detailing the progress of medicinal science through the ages that should intrigue, disgust and relieve visitors that they’re living at the business end of modern times. Our favourite permanent exhibit is based around items collected by the bizarre Henry Wellcome himself. He was a man of many parts: entrepreneur, philanthropist, patron of science and pioneer of aerial photography. He also created one of the world’s great museums: a vast stockpile of evidence about our universal interest in health and the body. More than 150 years after his birth in 1853, this exhibition reunites a cross-section of extraordinary objects from his collection, ranging from diagnostic dolls to Japanese sex aids, and from Napoleon’s toothbrush to George III’s hair.
Opening Times: Tuesday/Wednesday, Friday – Sunday 10am – 6pm; Thursday 10am – 10pm. 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE
13. Drink Shop Do
A Frugl favourite. This arts and crafts cafe is designed to bring out the best in people. Accessible enough that families always feel welcome. Encouraging enough that even the most ham-fisted of people feel enthused to come and try their hands at something new. It’s also full of enough good humour that it’s a hipster-free zone! Pop down any night of the week to make Lionel Richie biscuits, giant Lego biscuits or play filthy dot to dot!
Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 10:30am – Midnight; Friday – Suday 10:30am – 2am. 9 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX
Meltdown is officially the first and only ‘eSports’ bar in London, the ultimate bar for gamers. This London bar is a retreat for gaming fanatics with strictly game-themed drinks and with all the latest and most popular games, there’s something for everyone. For the hardcore players there’s Starcraft and League of Legends on two battle style desks. If you’re into something a bit more casual there’s a few Xbox 360’s equipped with fighting games like Injustice and Street Fighter. There are even arcade controllers for the more old-school game fans. So whether you’re a hopeful button-basher or an artful gaming wizard, there’s everything you could wish for here.
Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 5pm – Midnight; Friday 5pm – 1:30am; Saturday 2pm – 1:30am. 342 Caledonian Rd, London N1 1BB
15. Bree Louise
If you’ve got a rhododendron bush beard, knitted lifeboatman jumper and love a real ale then this place will be your Mecca. With a constantly changing menu of guest ales and ciders, all of which pack a hefty punch, this excellent backstreet pub is a cracking place to get steaming drunk of a weekend.
Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 11:30am – 11pm; Sunday Midday – 10:30m 69 Cobourg St, London NW1 2HH