kings cross mall

The King’s Cross neighborhood at night. (Photo: Marriott International)


Delve into King’s Cross, London’s Latest Creative Hub

As London’s sprawling King’s Cross neighborhood navigates an era of reinvention, innovation and creativity are the qualities that shine through.

A place of trade since Roman times, King’s Cross has been an important link to the North of England’s industrial cities throughout history, with goods such as coal being brought to the capital via Regent’s Canal and one of London’s largest train stations opening in 1852.

In recent years, this historically industrial area has undergone a complete reinvention and now benefits from one of the largest and most exciting redevelopments in London.

Public squares and gardens have appeared throughout the area as inspired new architecture merges with historic structures. Plus, a surge of shops, restaurants and galleries have all made their debut alongside companies at the forefront of innovation and technology.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London lies at the heart of this rapidly evolving district, and the hotel’s Navigator — a twist on a traditional hotel concierge — can offer customized suggestions to help guests uncover the area’s hidden gems.

st. pancras hotel kings cross
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London. (Photo: Marriott International)

Follow this neighborhood guide to discover this neighborhood’s vibrant food scene, new public spaces and burgeoning arts and discover its burgeon.

Soak Up the Culture

King’s Cross area is home to one the United Kingdom’s great cultural and academic institutions, The British Library. Around 13.5 million books are said to be here, including some 310,000 manuscript volumes.

See one of four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta, look inside Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook and tour a series of exhibitions with workshops covering topics such as social media.

Book lovers should also hightail it to Word On The Water, a quirky bookstore built on a floating Regents Canal barge from the 1920s. Peruse a treasure trove of classic, and contemporary fiction and nonfiction books, and in summer, check out events and performances, including folk music groups, jazz bands and poetry slams.

Music has long played a major role in defining King’s Cross, which was once home to iconic clubs like Bagleys and The Cross. Today the neighborhood welcomes Lafayette, a 600 capacity music venue, led by Mumford and Son’s Ben Lovett.

kings cross fountain
Explore King’s Cross by day or night. (Photo: Marriott International)

Uncover Local Art — and Green Spaces

To uncover more of the area’s creativity, seek out its boutique galleries. Fashion, art, design and performance all have their place in the Lethaby Gallery exhibition space, which is dedicated to alumni of Granary Square’s resident university, Central Saint Martins. In addition, one of London’s few galleries dedicated to exhibiting sculpture, Pangolin London, is just across the water at Kings Place.

Stoke your own creativity at Granary Square’s House of Illustration. As well as holding exhibitions, including the first-ever permanent space dedicated to the work of its founder Quentin Blake, the gallery hosts events such as the monthly Sketchmeet, a series of quick live-drawing challenges.

Find further inspiration in the outdoors at the area’s main green space, Lewis Cubitt Park, and then explore Granary Square and stroll along the Regent’s Canal Towpath toward Gasholder Park — a circular green space surrounded by a dramatic cast iron frame, which once supported a (you guessed it!) massive gasholder.

kings cross parks and restaurants
The King’s Cross neighborhood is home to green spaces and trendy restaurants. (Photo: Marriott International)

Shop Innovative Labels

One of the neighborhood’s great talking points is its recently completed Heatherwick Studio–designed development, Coal Drops Yard. Positioned by Granary Square and alongside Regent’s Canal, this new shopping and dining destination combining contemporary architecture with its historic structure now has more than 50 shops, restaurants and bars filling its original warehouses.

Pick up creations by independent fashion designers at Wolf & Badger, taste the specialty chocolate of a multi-Michelin-starred chef at Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse and take a master-class in terrarium making at Botanical Boys.

Prolific interior designer Tom Dixon showcases his latest innovations at The Coal Office. To contribute to the neighborhood’s creative network, the studio combines a shop and workshop with a restaurant and roof terrace.

regents canal in kings cross
Take a stroll along Regent’s Canal. (Photo: Marriott International)

Dine and Imbibe

Throughout its reinvention, King’s Cross has steadily established its place as a foodie hot spot. Restaurants and bars flank Granary Square and fill the vicinity of King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations, with the debut of Coal Drops Yard also marking the arrival of exciting new places to eat.

Try brunch favorites at Australian dining spot Granger & Co., tuck into Indian street food at Dishoom and find a seat at the King’s Cross outlet of legendary tapas bar Barrafina. Head to Coal Drops Yard restaurant hicce for the wood-fired cuisine of talented chef Pip Lacey.

Top off your meal with a drink at celebrated canal-side bar The Lighterman and head to St Pancras Champagne Bar by Searcys to soak up the atmosphere of St. Pancras Station.

kings cross neighborhood
Explore the neighborhood’s shops and more. (Photo: Marriott International)

Staying on the Cutting Edge

Startups and tech giants have all been making an appearance in King’s Cross. Google is in the process of building its latest headquarters (bringing Google’s number of offices in London to three) and Facebook has set plans in motion to move into three of the area’s buildings. From AI specialists to record labels, many more organizations are also making the move.

Head to Samsung KX on the upper viaduct at Coal Drops Yard for the opportunity to get involved with their interactive events and workshops.