Logo

King’s Cross area guide: Harry Potter, restaurants, shops and the station

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 September 2017

The ceiling design of Kings Cross Station railway station concourse

The ceiling design of Kings Cross Station railway station concourse

Askitbasket

Your guide to all the things to do in King’s Cross, including the best shops, cafes, pubs and schools. PLUS our guide to property in N1C

King's Cross station forecourt King's Cross station forecourt

Welcome to King’s Cross

The Cinderella-like transformation of King’s Cross from notorious red light district in the 1990s to established cultural capital would have seemed unlikely 20 years ago. But, with The Guardian and Google offices and the famed University of the Arts: Central St Martins settled in the area, its status seems to be cemented.

The geographical area of King’s Cross has a remarkable history that dates back to the Roman Era. The story goes that the legendary battle between Queen Boudicca and the Roman invaders took place here and that the warrior queen’s final resting place is actually below platform nine at King’s Cross Station.

The name St Pancras derives from a group of monks who in AD 597 arrived with the relics of the martyr saint St Pancras and build a church in the place where St Pancras Old Church lies today. The famous station itself didn’t appear until the 19th century, opening in 1852.

King's Cross station and St Pancras International King's Cross station and St Pancras International

Just decades before, a statue of statue of King George IV was erected at the Battle Bridge crossroads in an attempt to redefine the area’s unwelcome industrial reputation; built in 1830, it unfortunately attracted ridicule and was torn down 12 years later, but the new name for the area – King’s Cross – stuck.

Today it’s perhaps most famous for being the location of Platform 9 3/4, the magical portal to the Hogwarts Express in J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Shopping and culture

King's Cross Pond King's Cross Pond

Everyone knows that running through the barrier at platform 9¾ gets you a ticket on the Hogwarts Express. Make your pilgrimage to the site in the station and visit the shop afterwards for a whole host of Potter-themed goods.

Best for the crafty…Drink, Shop, Do, as its name suggests, is a bar/shop/crafts space selling crafty items from independent designers, perfect for last minute gifts. Cocktails, meals and afternoon teas are available in the bar/café and a range of fun booze and cake fuelled activities from unicorn pinata-making to Beyonce dance classes are on offer throughout the week.

Best for culture vultures… The London Canal Museum and British Library have been here since 1992 and 1997 respectively.

Best for eco-warriors… The nearby Skip Garden is a triumph of upcycling, with wildflowers and vegetables planted in skips and a cafe serving produce from the garden.

King's Cross King's Cross

Best for arts… On Britannia Street there’s the Gagosian gallery ; or for something more leftfield try the House of Illustration in Granary Square, the UK’s only exhibition space dedicated to illustration, or Work Gallery on Acton Street. Affiliated to independent art and architecture publisher Black Dog Publishing, the gallery shows an esoteric yet fascinating selection of events ranging from little seen views from Stanley Kubrick’s archive to international names who are less well-known on the London arts scene.

Best for music lovers… The Place as become one of the city’s leading dance theatres while King’s Place has similar pedigree in the world of classical and contemporary music. The Scala and The Water Rats are more renowned as venues for pop and indie music.

Best for politicos… Radical bookshop Housmans has been operating since 1945 selling political classics and new releases, pamphlets, magazines and general ephemera, and hosting events with such authors as Iain Sinclair and Bidisha.

Best for book lovers... Word on the Water is a bookshop on a barge, which now has a permanent mooring at Granary Square.

Gasholder Park, King's Cross Gasholder Park, King's Cross

Food and drink

The newly refurbished train stations at King’s Cross and St Pancras offer convenient access to a host of high street shops, cafes and restaurants. The area is rich with restaurants: Caravan boasts ‘well-travelled food and mighty fine coffee’; Karpo is an independent neighbourhood brasserie; while the Great Northern Hotel’s Plum + Spilt Milk features elegant British cooking.

Best for a quick bite… For cheaper eats, Paolina’s Thai Cafe on King’s Cross Road can’t be beaten for bargain lunch or BYOB evening meals. Costa’s café across the road is a greasy spoon with a Portuguese slant – the pasteis de nata are a treat with an espresso.

Best for street food… For independent fare head to KERB in Granary Square, which offers some of London’s best street grub. On Saturdays Cally market has an array of independent producers selling everything from shoes to macaroons and hemp-based baked goods.

Best for a sit down meal… The latest addition is The Lighterman, a pub/bar/dining room serving an all day British menu with views over the canal.

Best for a pint… The King Charles I is a tiny wood-panelled pub with an open fire in winter. It’s tiny inside, and often the streets outside are packed with punters.

Primary and secondary education

For primary schools within King’s Cross, Winton Primary School and The Gower School are both rated Good by Ofsted. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson provides Outstanding girls’ secondary education. Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street and UCH, rated Outstanding, is a school focusing on children with special educational needs.

Transport

King’s Cross is in zone 1 and has the largest Underground station in London, connecting the Circle, Piccadilly, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Metropolitan and Victoria lines. It is also a mainline station connecting with suburban and home counties stations, Luton and Gatwick airports and routes heading to the North of England.

Next door St Pancras International houses London’s Eurostar terminus, connecting the city to continental Europe. The area is also served by numerous buses connecting it to regions across London.

* * * *

Property guide

Postcode

King’s Cross is split between Camden and Islington and the area around the station itself has its own postcode, N1C. The parliamentary constituency for the area is Holborn and St Pancras.

Council Tax for Camden ranges from £944.97 for the smallest properties in Band A to £2,834.92 for the most expensive Band H homes. Properties in the average Band D should receive a bill of £1,417,46. In Islington the figures are £900.72 for Band A, £1,351.08 for Band D and £2,702.16 for Band H.

Housing stock

Though best known as a transport hub due to its historic train station, in recent years King’s Cross has seen a rejuvenation that is increasingly offering new, high quality apartment buildings with slick modern design. The ArtHouse building offers stunning Regent’s Canal apartments, while new developments have spring up at the Plimsoll Building and Gasholders, and are on the rise at St Pancras Place and North One.

Best streets

Keystone Crescent

Amwell Street

Granary Square

House prices

Two-bedroom flat - £583,791

Terraced house - £1,680,850

Semi-detached house - £1,007,222

Detached house - £2,224,724

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

4 ways to transform your Christmas tree

Looking for some seasonal decor inspiration? Gabrielle Fagan reveals her favourite festive finds

Home of the week: Unique penthouse-style apartment in Hampstead

This weeks choice is a property with double volume ceilings and spectacular views over central London

North London developer says the cut to stamp duty is a “gamechanger” for first-time buyers

Abolishing stamp duty for most first-time buyers will make it easier for them to get on the property ladder, according to a north London real estate developer

Comment: My response to the Chancellor’s budget

Trevor Abrahmsohn, director of north London agents Glentree Estates, believes the governments new housing proposals, as part of the Budget 2017, will go some way into making home ownership “a human right, rather than a privilege”

North London agents say government’s abolishment of stamp duty won’t help first-time buyers in the capital

Housing analysts and north London estate agents are among many who believe abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers will have little impact on the capital’s housing crisis

Winter patio pots looking lacklustre? Try 3 things to perk them up

Perk up your winter pots to keep them looking fabulous over the festive season

How to install a hidden wall safe

A discreet safe to keep valuables protected isn’t just something for the rich and famous to consider. Richard Burr reveals how to fit one

Christmas gift guide: 14 top picks for gardeners and green-fingered types

From sweet stocking-fillers to wow-factor pressies, these are bound to delight

Comment: My letter to our illusive housing minister

According to Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard estate agents, the government are failing to deliver a strategic approach in response to the housing crisis

Former Hampstead guesthouse is for sale as a 7 bedroom residential home

Owner, Annemarie van der Meer hopes to sell the property to a buyer looking for a spacious family home

For sale in Highgate: top three

On the market this week are three historic properties with period features, high ceilings and far-reaching views in an eviable location

The Japanese wonder toilet taking the world by storm

TOTO, inventor of the ‘Washlet’, claim the rate of sales for their product in Europe has doubled year on year since launching in 2009

5 things to consider before storing your garden tools away for winter

Give your tools some TLC before you put them away for the winter. Our guide shows you how to look after them - and make them last

Home of the week: Converted Hampstead church

This weeks choice is a former Presbyterian Church, boasting a galleried mezzanine floor with rooftop views

Highgate area guide: schools, shops, pubs and parks

Your guide to things to do in Highgate, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in N6

Dress it up: 13 fabulous finds for giving your dressing table a mini or major makeover

With party season approaching, it’s time to take a look in the mirror and reassess your beauty station

5 top home improvements you should do instead of moving

Richard Burr reveals how to gain more space in your house

Four in ten London home sellers are cutting asking prices, the highest figure since 2010

Sellers have cut asking prices by an average of 6.7 per cent over the last month, according to new figures

Is it too late to plant bulbs? Not if you follow our guide

There’s still time to plant tulips and bring vibrant colour to your garden next spring

Three new properties on the market in Paddington

Paddington 2 was recently released in cinemas, but there’s more to this area than the bear with a fondness for marmalade

Belsize Park area guide: restaurants, schools, cinema and celebrities

Your guide to things to do in Belsize Park, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW3

Internationally renowned fireplace brand opens showroom in north London

The new gallery features high ceilings and an abundance of natural light, the perfect space for showcasing fireside, outdoor living and architectural products

3 wallpaper experts reveal their top style tips for 2018

Gabrielle Fagan speaks to those-in-the-know and reveals their top tips and wallpaper trend predictions for next year

Need more storage? How to build sturdy shelves in your alcoves in 5 simple steps

Richard Burr reveals top tips to help DIYers get the job done

For sale in Belsize Park: top three

On the market this week are two stucco-fronted properties with contemporary living space and a red-brick apartment featuring a private terrace

There’s lots to think about when it comes to buying a new carpet

Property columnist Jane Howdle weighs up practicality vs aesthetic

Home of the week: Hampstead Way

This weeks choice is set on a tree lined road, boasting a large lawned garden and an abundance of natural light

Rising interest rates and what it means for homeowners

The hike in interest rates is likely to send mortgage bills higher for millions of families and further disrupt the property market, according to a north London agent

How to make your supermarket basil last longer

Fed up with spending a fortune on supermarket basil? Follow our guide to making it last longer

Why we’re not all equipped for renovating

Columnist Jane Howdle explains why she’ll never buy a property that needs renovating

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2017 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant