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King’s Cross St Pancras is one of the most famous train stations in London, thanks in part to a certain wizardly franchise. But there’s more to this sublime architectural icon than a fictional platform and a boy with a lightning scar on his head.
It’s essentially two train stations in one, with St Pancras right next to King’s Cross, so their names are almost interchangeable, and it’s considered a single station. You should see how the station comes to life at Christmas time when it becomes one of the hot-to-trot spots to see the cheerful festive lights in London.
There are a bevy of delights both inside and out that await the inquisitive traveller, and even the regular local interested in exploring the area more closely. From eerie trees and trendy markets galore to artisan food havens, fountains, and iconic locations, King’s Cross has something for everyone.
So, without further ado, let’s discover some of the best things to do near King’s Cross St Pancras London.
It may just be a train station, but there’s nothing humble about it. Take a look at some of the exciting things you can do inside King’s Cross Station.
Whether you identify as a Potterhead or a nonchalant Muggle, it’s almost impossible to find someone who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter. Platform 9 ¾ is legendary for fans of the series, with a special plaque on the wall between platforms nine and ten at King’s Cross Station commemorating its fame.
Beneath the plaque is a trolley—complete with a critter cage—halfway through the wall where you can pose and grab a picture. It’s a popular stop, so it’s probable that you’ll have to wait your turn in a queue. If you don’t want to finish here, why not try one of the Harry Potter walking tours for a rounded fan experience?
Once you’ve completed your Potter pilgrimage, there’s a gift shop close by selling all sorts of wizardly merchandise set to thrill fans of any age.
Even if you’re not a fan, no doubt you’ll be intrigued by the weird and wonderful items on sale. You might even know someone who’d appreciate an authentic Chocolate Frog or box of Bertie Bott’s finest as a gift.
Attractions Inside King’s Cross Station
There are a couple of noteworthy and special things to see inside the station itself, one of which is The Meeting Place statue.
The Lovers Statue
Also known as The Lovers Statue, the original design of this beautiful artwork had the lovers kissing, though that was too riské for the British.
Instead, the figures rest their foreheads together in a tender and romantic manner. It’s just below the recreated Dent Clock, also a famous installation in the station.
Walk past the statue of Mr Betjeman and give your regards—he stopped the station from being knocked down in the 1960s.
One of the more contemporary installations is made from the Olympic Rings that hung in the station when London hosted the 2012 Summer Games.
They were taken down and cut to size to form seating fixtures outside the Southeastern high-speed platforms.
What better way to spend your transit time at St Pancras, King’s Cross Station than with a glass of champagne? Relax beneath the flood of natural light from the glass-topped Gothic roof above with a chilled glass from St. Pancras Champagne Bar by Searcys.
They have an impressive selection of both champagnes and sparkling wines to offer for all budgets and tastes. Their food options are similarly delightful. The sleek lines and colour scheme reminiscent of Tiffany’s are luxurious and inviting.
Sit back and sip on some bubbly at Europe’s longest champagne bar while you wait for your train to take you to a charming day trip location. It’ll help you relax from any undue travelling stress in style.
Beyond the boundaries of the station itself is a flurry of areas and activities begging to be explored. There are plenty of things to do near King’s Cross St Pancras Station London, and these are some of the best.
With 1,080 individual jets, the delightful dancing fountains of Granary Square are a spectacle to behold. Each jet has its own controlled lights and water pressure setting, allowing the fountain to become the stage for a unique aquatic show throughout the day.
A calm, choreographed waltz begins at daybreak, with more animated movements happening as the day wears on. As the sun sets, the multicoloured lights turn on and take the show to the next phenomenal level. 360 fog nozzles are sometimes brought into play to enhance the spectacle.
In summer, the Granary Square Fountains become an urban beach on hot days with kids dashing in and out of the cool waters. It’s one of London’s non-touristy experiences, so you’ll see many locals enjoying themselves here.
You’ll be hard-pressed to keep from stepping into the waters yourself. It’s one of the best free things to do near King’s Cross Station.
Location: 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AB
If you haven’t heard of this trendy shopping extravaganza and dining den yet, it’s about time you did. Set against restored railway arches, the modern additions to the old brickwork make for a delightful architectural experience.
Opened initially in 2018, the spot now boasts over 50 stores and restaurants to the delight of shoppers and foodies everywhere. You’ll find clothing stores, chocolatiers, flower shops, artisan jewellers, homeware stores, and so much more scattered in between the pretty arches.
Undoubtedly, it’s one of the best places to shop in London. And that’s not to mention the restaurants.
Delightfully colourful Mexican restaurants and chic outdoor grills with a forest of greenery and stunning views of Regent’s Canal. You could spend an entire day at this location and not get bored, and all only a 5-minute walk from King’s Cross station.
Whether it’s date night, mate’s night, or you simply have time to kill between train transfers, Coal Drops Yard is the place to go.
Location: Stable St, London N1C 4DQ
This is one of the more charming things to do around King’s Cross, especially for book lovers. Whether you’re seeking your next epic literary adventure or browsing for a book to read on the train, this quaint barge-turned-bookshop will have you sorted.
This 1920s Dutch canal boat is located on Regent’s Canal and is open seven days a week from noon until 19:00. Occasionally on weekends and bank holidays, the shop plays host to performers on its rooftop stage.
Jazz musicians will soothe you with their smooth melodies, and poetry slams will have you beating bongos in appreciation of the talent before you.
Location: Regent’s Canal Towpath, London N1C 4LW
One of the best spots to grab your lunch in the city in Granary Square, KERB is a collection of food trucks that operate from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm Monday to Friday.
It’s true that their opening times are fleeting, but the food is so spectacular it’s worth making an addendum to your diary just to include a visit here.
The list of vendors rotates so there’s always something different on offer. One day it’s gnocchi and poké bowls, the next it’s Korean Mexican fusion and calamari.
Even puds and other enticing desserts like green frozen yoghurt make it onto the line-up. The surprise is part of what keeps this pop-up feeling fresh.
There’s also plenty of alfresco seating available, so you won’t have to eat your hard-earned meal on the go.
Location: Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4BT
Located on the 11th floor of The Standard Hotel, this bar has some iconic views of St. Pancras’s clocktower just over the road. From this vantage point you can get beautiful views of the cityscape as well, especially at sunset.
The contemporary furniture on top of the verdant AstroTurf flooring makes for a fun and appealing place to indulge in some drinks and snacks. And there’s plenty of both. Half their menu is dedicated to cocktails, wines, and champagnes.
With the other half of the including plenty of Mexican-inspired aperitifs like nachos, tacos, and refried beans, you’ll be fully fed. It’s one of the best things to do near St. Pancras, especially for a selfie with the clocktower.
Location: 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG
Are you looking for somewhere a little less urban to help you unwind? Nestled against the banks of Regent’s Canal is Camley Street Nature Park, an oasis of lush greenery in the bustling city.
Visiting this wildlife reserve that was once a wasteland is one of the peaceful things to do in King’s Cross, London. It’s a mixture of wetland, grassland, and woodland with ponds. It’s also home to many of nature’s creatures.
Expect to see butterflies, birds, and friendly amphibians when taking a stroll through this pleasant paradise. The main path has an accessible surface, while other footpaths are covered with wood chips. Some steep steps on the southern end will take you to the viewpoint on the canal.
Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor Centre and café before you leave.
Location: 12 Camley St, London N1C 4PW
The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is so sumptuously Victorian you’ll have a hard time keeping yourself from taking two dozen selfies in front of it. If you’re an architecture buff and were wondering what to do around King’s Cross, a visit to this hotel is a must.
The bright colours and striped archways are astounding, and the interior decor has a slightly Moroccan feel. The boutique bars are another story. They are dripping in opulence, rich lighting, and plush fabrics, making them some of the most Instagrammable places to be.
This gorgeous hotel was also the backdrop for the famous music video “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, so fans will get a thrill from that.
To extend your pop culture experience, try this Disco Diva tour, where you’ll sing hit songs from the Spice Girls, Madonna, and more alongside a drag queen host.
Location: Euston Rd, London NW1 2AR
If the weather isn’t on your side or you fancy a mini sightseeing trip while taking a load off of your legs, this delightful boat ride is for you. In fact, this waterway has earned the nickname ‘Little Venice’.
For only £10 you can go cruising on a covered narrowboat, a perfectly dainty and charming way to journey along the 8.6-mile canal. The trip will take you beneath a 200-year-old tunnel in Islington, which is one of the longest that the UK can boast of.
It’s an hour-long trip one-way, two hours if you decide to make the return trip to King’s Cross. You can even choose to take a guided narrowboat tour to learn a little more about the history of the canals.
Location: Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make fresh bread from scratch or attempt some Korean cuisine? If you’ve been asking yourself what to do in King’s Cross and love food, this is it.
Located in the old produce store that would take overspill goods from the Billingsgate Market, the Waitrose Cooking School offers a variety of courses. Whether you simply want to perfect your macaron-making skills or learn inventive ways to make vegetarian street food, there are over 100 courses to choose from.
They vary in length from one hour to five hours and usually start at either 10:00 or 18:00. This gives plenty of opportunities for people to find something that accommodates their schedules.
If you have food allergies, it’s not a problem for the professionals at Waitrose. You can email or call and see if they can recommend a class that can be altered to suit you.
The classes have up to 20 participants working in pairs, so bring your partner or a friend for a fun and feisty adventure with food.
Location: Granary Square, London N1C 4BZ
The Canopy Market
If artisanal foods and beverages are what make you tick, then head over the river to the Canopy Market for a quick fix. You’ll find all sorts of delectable delights to appease your palate, from charcuterie to street food.
Massive burgers, samosas, Mexican tacos and churros, mulled wine, handmade pasta, and pad thai—are you drooling yet? The sights and smells may even inspire you to take a food tour, or simply explore London’s food markets yourself. It’s not only a place to grab some grub, though.
You can also pick up some ethically sourced Columbian coffee beans to take home, and shop for jewellery and custom clothes, ceramics, and art. It’s a truly ubiquitous market experience that is unmissable. Encased in a steel-and-glass covered market, it’s safe from any type of weather that may be hampering your day.
Location: West Handyside Canopy, London N1C 4BH
The contemporary and eye-catching architecture of the British Library outside King’s Cross Station will appeal to everyone, not just book lovers. With a collection that dates back as far as 3,000 years ago and over 150 million items, this icon of the city’s heritage is a cultural wonderland.
“Treasures of the British Library” is a free and permanent exhibition. It’s the best way to get a glance at some of the library’s greatest treasures, such as the Magna Carta, lyrics written by the Beatles, and Jane Austin’s notebook.
The King’s Library inside is a daunting spectacle, filled with historical manuscripts and books behind a glass enclosure to regulate temperatures and protect them. It’s a pleasant, quiet area to spend some time and grab a soul-warming coffee from one of the cafés that are scattered about the premises.
Don’t forget to catch a photo of the statue of Sir Isaac Newton in the library plaza.
Location: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
Near King’s Cross, things to do are aplenty. Stop by Ruby Violet for some phenomenal ice cream if you’re hankering for a sweet treat. It’s small-batch, free-range, and organic, and the flavours are heavenly.
From ‘hot cross bun’ to ‘masala chai’ or a classic ‘dark chocolate’ or ‘Italian lemon’, there’s a flavour for every palate. There are even vegan sorbets available. The flavours often change, so every visit has new and exciting flavour potential.
Their ambience is something special as well, with bright pink and sky-blue colours contrasted against exposed face brick. It’s a cheeky place perfect for a delicious scoop topped with their signature wafers.
Stick around for a slice of ice cream cake with whisky toffee sauce, artistically arranged on darling dinnerware. If you’re in the mood for something warmer on those dreary London days, a frothy hot chocolate hits the spot, but a coffee will also do you justice.
If this sounds like the perfect place for you, there is no doubt that these other desserts in London will tickle your fancy.
Location: 3 Wharf Road, London N1C 4BZ
If you love a foam-capped pint and find yourself wondering what to do near King’s Cross, take a little walk to Little Creatures Brewery. It’s an outpost of the original Australian company, but the beer is just as good, especially their signature Little Creatures Pale Ale.
The decor is intensely chromatic and industrial in the best way possible, with a colourful atmosphere and plant creepers making their way up the wall.
You’ll find a healthy dose of pub grub on the menu too, with classics like burgers, nachos, pizza, and fried chicken.
The beer is what keeps people coming back for more. For a more comprehensive British pub-culture experience, give this historical pub walking tour in London a try.
Location: 1 Lewis Cubitt Walk, London N1C 4DL
One of the slightly eerie—and yet intriguing—attractions near King’s Cross is The Hardy Tree outside the Old Church. The site itself dates back to 314 AD, but the church was rebuilt in 1814.
It’s a charming structure to enjoy, but the real eye-catcher is the Tree—it’s an ash tree with hundreds of old gravestones encircling it in very close proximity. But just how did this spooky monument come to exist?
In the 1860s, what was then a graveyard was deemed to be in the way of the new railway line, so the graves were exhumed.
Thomas Hardy—who was working as an architect during that time before he became an author—decided to put all the exhumed graves beneath this one tree as a solution to the problem.
Over time, subsidence has caused the gravestones to move ever closer to each other, merging them into a spine-tingling monument to the dead that were reburied there. It may seem macabre but seeing the headstones gently hugging the base of the ash tree in a choreographed sunburst pattern is beautiful.
It’s also a poignant reminder of how nothing is left untouched by time. If ghosts and ghouls pique your interest, this ghost tour of London is right up your alley.
Location: London NW1 1UL
If unique art installations are your thing, then a visit to Gasholder Park and its unique curved mirror display is a must. The circular lawn in the centre is surrounded by a refurbished and converted Victorian gas holder, giving the park its name.
It’s the mirrors that attract the tourists, though—and the filmmakers. It’s a popular filming location, especially for ‘The Apprentice.’
Stop by for an Instagram-worthy travel pic, and then head on down the St Regent’s Canal to the Camden Markets for something fun to do in Camden.
You can also spoil yourself and take a walking tour of the markets and street art.
Location: London N1C 4AB
Home to a host of curiosities, The Wellcome Collection explores health, life, and art. The installations range from performance to visiting and permanent and are inherently intriguing.
You’ll be happily beguiled by curious exhibits on the air around us, what it means to be human in this century, and our dynamic relationship with plants. They also have impressive library collections that become a resource for just about anything, whether you’re an artist in search of inspiration or an academic seeking knowledge.
Perhaps you’re just curious about something you saw in one of the exhibits. In any case, the collections will have something of value to offer you. Admission is free, so you’ll be able to peruse these artistic and scientific testaments to human nature at your leisure without spending a penny.
The galleries are closed on Mondays but remain open from Tuesday through to Sunday.
Location: 183 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BE
As you can see, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in King’s Cross, whether you’re keeping busy between trains or spending the day there.
Fill up your cultural quota with a visit to the Wellcome Collection or the British Library or delve into the foodie scene and eat until you’re fit to burst.
The markets are always welcoming with their open doors bearing desirable artisan wares, and the scenic fountains beckon your attention when you pass by.
King’s Cross is a small area with a chic and trendy soul, so make it a point to stop by this bustling hub of London’s activity.
Do you only have a day to spend in London? Look at this article for the top things to see and do in 24 hours in London.