I heart Kings Cross

Kings Cross has finally turned a new leaf and stories from the area are full of new restaurants, arts events and openings.

Kings Cross has finally turned a new leaf and stories from the area are full of new restaurants, arts events and openings.

A title like ‘I heart Kings Cross’ would have been inconceivalbe a few years back. Kings Cross in London was perhaps a part of the city where you had to go now and then to catch a train but otherwise you would try to avoid it at all cost. Kings Cross wasn’t nice. It was dirty, it was unsafe, it had nothing to offer.

Times have changed and Kings Cross is proving to be one of the most vibrant new parts of London. And why would it not be? It is in a fantastic location connected by transport links to all over London, the UK and even Europe thanks to the Eurostar train service that links England with France and Belgium. Kings Cross is in the heart of London and just a short walking distance from numerous great neighbourhoods like Marylebone, Farringdon, Angel and Bloomsbury. However, Kings Cross is not anymore just a crossing point but a destination in its own right. That is why I heart Kings Cross and I have numerous places to recommend to make the most of the area going through a transformation.

The newly renovated Kings Cross station now stands proud in the heart of London.

The newly renovated Kings Cross station now stands proud in the heart of London.

Where to eat in Kings Cross?

The Granary Square behind the Kings Cross station is home to the Central Saint Martins arts school but also a location for two cool restaurants, Caravan and Grain Store. The both restaurants serve non-fuss eating in a trendy ambiance.

Granary Square

Granary Square is home to the Central Saint Martins arts school but also the location for two cool restaurants, Caravan and Grain Store.

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Caravan offers a fusion of flavours from all over the world. Like its name, Caravan, the restaurant is a journey through different cuisines, styles and cultures. I adore the food in Caravan, just like in its sister restaurant in Exmouth Market. Just don’t go there for a weekend brunch unless you are really early because the place is very popular and the long queues can spoil your mood. Evenings when you can book a table are much better options.

Grain Store‘s menu is like from a French bistro but the decor and space is very otherworldly. Every part of the restaurant is filled with unique details, different set ups for small and large groups of diners. A huge kitchen and a bar area in the middle of the restaurant make you feel like you are taking part in a huge, French family feast. The food is very innovative and tasty. I also recommend the sunny terrace in the summer and virgin cocktails like ‘Roman Redhead’.

I love Grain Store's summer terrace for Sunday brunches

I love Grain Store’s summer terrace for Sunday brunches

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Grain Store’s decor and space is very otherworldly. Every part of the restaurant is filled with unique details.

For breakfast and small teats I go to a French bakery Aux Pain De Papy. It has a few chairs for eating in, but I prefer grabbing a traditional baguette and pretending for a moment that I’m in Paris. For an afternoon tea I like to pop in to Fortnum & Mason in St Pancras Station or to Drink, Shop & Do which is a fun, quirky cafe on Caledonian Road.

"Fortnum and Mason's goods have always been well-travelled, and now they can accompany the modern-day traveller, too, throughout the UK and across the Channel" - quote from owners for choosing St Pancras as store's newest location.

“Fortnum and Mason’s goods have always been well-travelled, and now they can accompany the modern-day traveller, too, throughout the UK and across the Channel” – quote from owners for choosing St Pancras as store’s newest location.

Drink, Shop & Do is a quirky little cafe, dance bar, craft centre, shop...

Drink, Shop & Do is a quirky little cafe, dance bar, craft centre, shop…

Where to drink in Kings Cross?

When in mood for a really decadent experience, I head over to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. The Booking Office Bar and Gilbert Scott are amazing for their nice cocktails and, more  importantly, for the historic atmosphere, fantastic decor and courteous service. If you get tempted to find out more about the tremendous  building, book yourself in a tour of the hotel or hit St Pancras Spa downstairs. The spa is one of the most luxurious you can find in London and really interesting for its oriental decoration, tranquil atmosphere and exotic treatments.

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St Pancras Station

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Entrance to the grand St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

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Gilbert Scott Bar

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Grand staircase at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

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For younger and more casual atmosphere I like to stop in 06 St. Chad’s Place and in the summer my favourite is the Filling Station. Filling Station’s summer terrace  offers a variety of programme from light shows to outdoor cinema. Even on a normal night, the atmosphere is excellent thanks to its bohemian feel.

06 St Chad's Place is a great place after work for quick drink and bite

06 St Chad’s Place is a great place after work for quick drink and bite

Filling Station is in its element particularly in the summer when its terrace hosts events from outdoor cinema to light shows

Filling Station is in its element particularly in the summer when its terrace hosts events from outdoor cinema to light shows

What to see in Kings Cross?

The newly crafted arty atmosphere in Kings Cross has started to attract some cultural institutions to the area. My absolute favourite is the Gagosian Gallery where I went to see an excellent exhibition called “The Show is Over”. The gallery is dedicated to modern art and the huge, warehouse-like space creates an amazing stage for it.

I love seeing the openings of Gagosian Gallery when BMWs and Lamborghinis line up along Britannia Street. Not a sight you would have expected in the area a few years back.

I love seeing the openings of Gagosian Gallery when BMWs and Lamborghinis line up along Britannia Street. Not a sight you would have expected in the area a few years back.

If the weather is nice, I love taking walks along Regent’s Canal or hanging out on the Granary Square where there is often a food market or some other activities.

A walk or run along Regents Canal to Camden, Primrose Hill and beyond is absolute bliss.

A walk or run along Regents Canal to Camden, Primrose Hill and beyond is absolute bliss.

So, not bad for an area which was not that long time ago doomed and avoided at all cost. That’s the beauty of London though. A capability to see something beautiful in ugly and by developing it and breathing new air into it, there is a chance for it to become special again.

Contacts:

Caravan Kings Cross
Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4AA,United Kingdom
Opening hours: Mon-Tue 8am-10:30pm; Wed-Thu 8am-11pm; Fri 8am-12am; Sat 10am-12am; Sun 10am-4pm
Tel: +4420 7101 7661
E-mail: restaurant@caravankingscross.co.uk

Caravan Exmouth Market
11-13 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4QD, United Kingdom
Tel: +4420 7833 8115
E-mail: restaurant@caravanonexmouth.co.uk

Grain Store
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4AB, United Kingdom
Opening hours: Mon – Wed 11am-10.30pm; Thu – Sat 11am-12am; Sun 11am-4.30pm
Tel: +4420 7324 4466
E-mail: eat@grainstore.com

Aux Pains de Papy
279 Grays Inn Rd, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 8EB, United Kingdom
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 7am-6pm; Sat 8am-6pm; Sunday closed
Tel: +44777 16 13 779
E-mail: info@auxpainsdepapy.co.uk

Fortnum and Mason
St Pancras station concourse
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 6am-9pm; Sun 7am-9pm

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
Booking Office Bar
Gilbert Scott
St Pancras Spa
Euston Road, London, NW1 2AR, United Kingdom

06 St. Chad’s Place
6 St Chad’s Pl, Kings Cross, London, WC1X 9HH, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 9am-11pm

Drink, Shop & Do
9 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London, N1 9DX, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 9am–12am; Fri – Sat 9am–2am; Sun 10.30am-8pm
Tel: +44 20 7278 4335
E-mail: mail@drinkshopdo.com

Kings Cross Filling Station
Goods Way, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4UR, United Kingdom
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 12pm – 3pm and 6pm-10pm; Sat – Sun 12am-10pm

Gagosian Gallery
6-24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 841 9960

(c) Nordic Odyssey 2014. All Rights Reserved.

3 responses to “I heart Kings Cross

  1. What a fabulous guide to your neighbourhood Kristiina! I don’t know King’s Cross at all really, would love to do some exploring next time I’m home though, maybe you could give me a tour…? Love the sound of Aux Pain De Papy especially! I’ve been to Drink, Shop and Do before, which was really fun. And actually I also checked out the St Pancras Booking Office bar for the first time this Christmas – must see the rest of the hotel sometime! Fab post! Hope you have a lovely week!xx

    • Hi Elly,

      It would be great to give you a tour of the area! In the meantime, I’ll try to get a photo for you of Aux Pain De Papy. It is indeed a fabulous place and the service is fantastic! Thanks so much for your nice words!

      Kristiina

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