For many people, King’s Cross is a part of London they just pass through after alighting from their train into the capital… but there is so much more to this area, which has seen a lot of changes in recent years. When I was asked to spend the day exploring I jumped at the chance. If you fancy doing the same, why not check out these hotels near King’s Cross.
Unless you have been living on a desert island for the last 20 years, you will be aware of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter… so no visit to King’s Cross would be complete without checking out Platform 9 3/4 and the Harry Potter Shop! Myself and my daughter are both big fans but had never visited the store (not sure why!) so that was our first stop… It’s a popular attraction and the queue to get your photo taken pushing the luggage trolley through the wall was sooooo long! There was even a small wait to get into the shop – but it was worth it! Everything any Harry Potter fan could ever want is in there… and the biggest draw has to be choosing your wand from the shelves which resembles those in Ollivanders. Our visit involved buying a wand, a ticket for the Hogwarts Express, a chocolate frog and a Gryffindor pencil! But make sure you have deep pockets because there is SO much you will want to buy!
After that, we headed up the pedestrian area by King’s Cross Station to the newly developed Granary Square to check out the refurbished industrial buildings and dancing fountains… the fountains were impressive and there were lots of children having fun splashing around in the sunshine.
From there we headed to Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World, a pop-up museum housed in one of the old gasholders… We were a little early for our slot so we took a stroll along the Regent’s Canal. If we had had more time, we would probably have walked further along the canal as you can get all the way to Camden via the towpath. After our brief walk, we sat in a small green space inside the shell of one of the other Gasholders (number 8 in case you’re interested!). The whole area has been beautifully redeveloped and is well worth a visit.
So our time slot arrived and we were welcomed into Gasholder No 2 for our foray into the tasty world of ice cream! And I have to say, it was great fun! We learnt about ice cream making and its history before having a go at making our own ice cream (ours was not great unfortunately!), tasted a sample whilst wearing an EEG machine to see what effect it had on our brain and tried glow-in-the-dark ice cream… the visit took about 40 minutes and we both enjoyed it a lot! The museum is only open for another few weeks so if this sounds like your thing, head over there as soon as you can!
After that it was time for lunch so we headed back to Granary Square to The Lighterman, a lovely bar at one side of the square. The service was speedy and the food was great so we will definitely go back there again when we’re next in town. Afterwards, Freya had a splash through the fountains whilst I sat on one of the many benches enjoying the afternoon sun. We then finished off our lunch with a visit to the retro ice cream van parked on the square (it was definitely a day dominated by ice cream!). I can recommend the pineapple sorbet – it was absolutely divine!
We strolled back down the pedestrian area, looking in the shops before heading back to King’s Cross Station… we just had time for a quick drink and a snack in Leon, a natural fast-food cafe in the modern station concourse before jumping onto our train home.
I had not really explored this part of London before but I will definitely visit again, particularly as there is a new retail complex – Coal Drops Yard – opening in October 2018 which looks like it will be another exciting addition to the King’s Cross area…
Which is your favourite part of London and why? Let me know so I can check it out…
*The spending money I received for this visit was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views expressed above are my own.