5 things to do in King’s Cross, London

Busy, cosmopolitan, grimy, cool, kitsch and glamorous meet head on in King’s Cross and first time visitors may be a bit overwhelmed. So if you’re wondering where to visit first, here are a list of five of the best things to do in the King’s Cross area – a list we devised recently while staying at a King’s Cross hotel.

Harry Potter King's Cross Double-Barrelled Travel

Look! It’s the set of Harry Potter. Oh, no it’s just King’s Cross Station.

1. King’s Cross Station and Platform 9 and ¾

Kings Cross Station is one of London’s busiest transport hubs and will more than likely be your port of arrival in the area. But don’t think it’s just another boring building – the famous Platform 9 and ¾ from the Harry Potter books and films can be found there. Only those with mystical powers can run through the solid brick wall and emerge on the platform on the other side. There’s a baggage trolley stuck halfway out of the wall if you care to test your powers! When you emerge on street level look back and take in the gothic spires of St Pancras International terminal which has been restored to its Victorian glory – it will surely cast its own architectural spell over you.

King's cross Harry Potter Platform nine and three quarters

There’s a trolley for you to play with as you disappear into the wall of Platform 9 and 3/4

2 The British Library

Just down the road from the station is the British Library which houses the UK’s largest collection of books – rare, old, new, common or colourful, you can find it there. Browse the collections, find a quiet corner to read or write or just luxuriate in the silence inside.

british library Double-barrelled travel

The British Library is a great place to spend a quiet afternoon

The highlight is the King’s Library, a massive collection of classic books collected by King George III who ruled from 1760 to 1820. His tomes are displayed in a central pillar of glass and metal and even a quick glance at those shelves is worth making some time for.

kings books Double-Barrelled Travel

The King’s books at the British Library are fascinating

3. Exmouth Market

Exmouth Market is a strip of shops, restaurants and independent bars and was a five minute walk from our accommodation at the Tune Hotel in King’s Cross. There are tapas bars including the famous Morito which serves small bites and delicious wines. A cool place is Bar Kick where you can play foosball (table soccer) and have a few beers while you watch a match. If you’re early you can catch market stalls on the weekends and pick up some locally made bargains.

exmouth market Caravan Double-barrelled travel

Caravan is the place to go in Exmouth Market if you want a good coffee (it is run by Aussies after all!)

4. Go for a gander around Spa Fields

Tucked behind Exmouth Market is the picturesque park Spa Fields. If you have children, the park has a great playground for them to enjoy. The perfect place for a picnic, Spa Fields looks stunning in spring when the bougainvillea is blooming. But if that’s not enough purple for you, there’s also a lavender garden. But if you’d rather do something more active than smell the flowers, you can play tennis on the courts in Spa Fields for free.

Spa Fields Double-Barrelled Travel

The Spa Fields park is a lovely place to relax when it’s sunny

5. Drink, Shop, Do

This café does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a super retro parlour of cakes, coffee and tea and Scrabble games by day and a swinging cocktail bar and art space by night. It’s a trendy place to spend an afternoon or an evening and thankfully it’s reasonably priced.

Eat, Drink Do, Double-Barrelled travel

Carmen enjoying a brownie at Eat, Drink, Do

Drink, Shop, Do features readings by writers, knitting classes, dance classes, silk screen printing and painting all under the one roof filled with knick-knacks and antiques for sale. It’s a little girly, which is why Carmen loves it. Best of all it’s just a quick walk from Kings Cross Station so it’s a perfect spot to wait for a train or just watch the world go by.

Eat, Drink, Do Double-Barrelled Travel

Drink, Shop, Do is beautifully decorated with handmade trinkets

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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