Kings Cross is a bustling and vibrant part of London, located in the north of the city and known as one of the most popular and well-known areas of the capital. It is home to some of the largest and most iconic attractions in the city, including King’s Cross Station, which is the main railway station for the city. The area is rich in history and culture, and is full of things to do and places to explore. From museums and galleries to nightlife, there’s something for everyone in Kings Cross.
History of Kings Cross
Kings Cross has been a part of London for centuries, and has played an important role in the city’s development. Originally, it was a rural area, known as the “fields of Battle Bridge’ – an area which was used by the Romans and Anglo-Saxons to graze their cattle. Later, in the 19th century, it became an important industrial area – with factories, warehouses and docks dominating the landscape.
In 1852, the Great Northern Railway opened King’s Cross Station – which was the first station on the newly-built London Underground network. This was soon followed by more railway lines and stations, turning Kings Cross into an important transport hub. After World War II, the area went through a period of significant change, with many of its industrial buildings being demolished or converted into offices and apartments.
Modern Kings Cross
Today, Kings Cross is a very different place from its past. It is now London’s most vibrant and diverse districts, with a bustling atmosphere and plenty to see and do. It is home to some of the city’s most iconic attractions, including King’s Cross Station, St Pancras International Station and The British Library. There are countless restaurants, bars and nightlife spots, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Here is our detailed guide to some of the best things to do in Kings Cross – from exploring its history to discovering its modern attractions:
Exploring Kings Cross History
Discovering Kings Cross Station
One of the most iconic attractions in Kings Cross is King’s Cross Station – which is one of London’s main railway stations. It is located on Euston Road, just north of St Pancras International Station. This station was originally built in 1852 and was the first station on the newly-built London Underground network. Today, it is one of the busiest stations in London, with thousands of passengers passing through every day.
Visitors to King’s Cross Station can explore its rich history by taking a guided tour. These tours offer an insight into the station’s past and present, with visitors able to discover hidden gems such as old-fashioned ticket offices and underground platforms. There are several different tours available, ranging from basic one-hour tours to more in-depth two-hour tours that explore the entire station.
Discovering The British Library
The British Library is located just across the road from St Pancras International Station, and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Kings Cross. This library is home to millions of books, documents and other artifacts – making it one of the largest libraries in the world. Visitors can explore its vast collections with a guided tour, which will take them from the Reading Room – where famous authors such as JK Rowling wrote their works – to the Archive Room – where visitors can view rare documents from centuries ago.
Those looking for a more interactive experience can also take part in interactive workshops, or visit special exhibitions such as the British Library’s Harry Potter exhibition. There are also plenty of cafes and bookshops located within the library – making it an ideal place for visitors to spend a few hours exploring its collections.
Exploring Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal runs through Kings Cross, running from Paddington Basin in West London to Limehouse Basin in East London. This canal has been in existence since 1820 and was once used by commercial barges carrying goods from London to other parts of the country. Today, it is a popular destination for leisure boating, fishing and walking – with many people coming here to enjoy its tranquil atmosphere.
Visitors can take boat tours along Regent’s Canal, which will take them through some of London’s most famous sights such as Camden Lock and Little Venice. There are also plenty of pubs and restaurants located along the canal – making it an ideal spot for a lunch or dinner break.
Discovering Camden Market
Camden Market is located just north of Kings Cross and is one of London’s most popular markets. This market has been around since 1974 and is known for its unique selection of clothes, crafts, artwork and food stalls. Visitors can explore its many stalls and find unique items such as vintage clothing, handmade jewellery and vintage furniture.
There are also plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants located within Camden Market – making it an ideal spot for a lunch or dinner break. Those looking for something a bit more lively can also explore Camden’s nightlife scene – with plenty of live music venues and clubs located nearby.
Exploring Granary Square
Granary Square is located just south of Kings Cross Station, and is known for its stunning fountains and outdoor seating areas. This square was opened in 2012 as part of a regeneration project – transforming an area that was once filled with derelict warehouses into one of London’s most popular public spaces.
Visitors can explore Granary Square by taking a leisurely stroll around its fountains or by sitting on one of its outdoor seating areas – which offer stunning views over some of London’s most iconic landmarks such as King’s Cross Station and The British Library. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants located within Granary Square – making it an ideal spot for a lunch or dinner break.
Tours Around Kings Cross
In addition to exploring Kings Cross by yourself, there are also several tours that offer visitors an insight into the area’s history, culture and attractions. Here are two popular tours that you can book:
Kings Cross & St Pancras Walking Tour
This walking tour takes visitors on a journey through Kings Cross and St Pancras – exploring some of their most iconic sights such as King’s Cross Station, The British Library and Granary Square. Visitors will learn about the history of these areas, as well as discovering some hidden gems that are off-the-beaten-track. The tour lasts for two hours, with plenty of time for stops along the way for pictures or refreshments. Book a Kings Cross & St Pancras Walking Tour here.
Camden Food & Craft Market Tour
This tour takes visitors on a journey through Camden Market – exploring its many food stalls and craft stalls. Visitors will learn about the history of this market, as well as discovering some unique items that they won’t find anywhere else. The tour lasts two hours, with plenty of stops along the way for food tastings or shopping breaks. Book a Camden Food & Craft Market Tour here.
Kings Cross is a vibrant and diverse district in London that has something for everyone – from exploring its history to discovering its modern attractions. It is home to some of London’s most iconic sights such as King’s Cross Station and The British Library, as well as plenty of restaurants, bars and nightlife spots. Whether you want to explore its history or discover its modern attractions, there are plenty of things to do in Kings Cross that will keep you entertained throughout your stay.
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