King’s Cross is one of London’s most newly regenerated areas. With 50 new buildings, 20 new streets and 10 new public squares, it is a dynamic and exciting place to be. As indication, Google's UK office is due to move here in 2016, The Guardian newspaper headquarters are already here, and the Eurostar now connects London with mainland Europe.
King's Cross was named after a huge monument of King George IV in 1835, which stood where King's Cross station - designed by the architect Lewis Cubitt – now resides. Following the Second World War, this busy industrial district underwent economic decline and, by the 1990s, was in need of regeneration.
Eurostar: King's Cross and St Pancras International
St Pancras station is also a great place to pick up last-minute gifts, gourmet food, clothes and accessories from stores that include Hamleys, Neuhaus and LK Bennett. Stop off at Europe's longest champagne bar for a well-deserved drink afterwards!
King's Cross station has also recently been restored; prominent new features include the stunning extension of its arched glass roof and an open-air piazza.
Culture in King's Cross
Relatively cheap rents and a central London location make King's Cross attractive to artists and designers, attractions and cultural establishments:
- a major arts centre, Kings Place, next to the Regent's Canal hosts numerous art, music, live comedy and cultural events throughout the year
- both Antony Gormley and Thomas Heatherwick have studios in the area
- The London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are both based here, alongside the Pangolin Sculpture Gallery;
- Central St Martins College of Art and Design has taken up residence in the Granary Building, which looks out over Granary Square, a new public space decorated with more than 1,000 coloured fountains
- the cutting-edge Gagosian Gallery moved its main London premises to King's Cross in 2004
- King's Cross Filling Station, a former petrol station by the canal, now hosts a programme of cool cultural events as well as a bar and restaurant (until 2014).
Kings Cross has a heritage of nurturing arts and culture. The British Library is located next to St Pancras Station, displaying some of the world's most famous written and printed items, such as the Magna Carta (1215) and Shakespeare's First Folio. The London Canal Museum commemorates the importance of London's canals. The fascinating Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London's first home for abandoned babies. The area also features a number of theatres, including the Shaw Theatre and the Bloomsbury Theatre.
The Camley Street Natural Park is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of King's Cross: spot wildlife, relax by the pond and learn more at the park's visitor centre. The peaceful St Pancras Old Church is also worth a visit: look out for the Grade I listed mausoleum of Sir John Soane, which inspired the design of London's red telephone boxes.
Eat, Drink and Party in King's Cross
For a quick snack at lunch, the Sourced Market in St Pancras International station offers a diverse range of gourmet foods.
Alternatively, the exquisite St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – which was originally built by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and saved from demolition by Sir John Betjeman, despite his comment that it was "too beautiful and too romantic to survive" – is the perfect place to treat that special someone: take them for drinks in the Booking Office bar, or for a meal at The Gilbert Scott. You'll also find an all-day restaurant, Plum + Spilt Milk, in the historic Great Northern Hotel, London's first railway hotel.
King's Cross is a great place to party! The Scala and the Big Chill House are both in close proximity. Venture a bit further north for Egg, a three-floor club venue with a great outdoor area for lounging.
King's Cross is just a short walk from Euston Station – find out more about hotels and attractions near Euston.
The King's Cross Partnership was established to fund regeneration projects and the first stage is now open to the public. You can find out more about the current redevelopment at the King's Cross Visitor Centre.