The lovely people over at Hotels.Com challenged me to explore the area of Kings Cross and put together a little guide for the best places to eat, drink and spend time in and around the area. Hotels.Com has a good selection of hotels near Kings Cross, in fact, it’s one of the first places I ever stayed in London back when I was still a tourist and didn’t live here yet!
Kings Cross is a great base for your holiday as it’s so close to central London and many transport links, but it’s also a lovely area for London locals to explore – there’s SO much there to do (which I aim to prove in this post!).
I’ve built this post in a way where you can either follow along with my itinerary (there’s definitely enough here to do just for one day!) or just pick and choose places and activities and see it more as a general guide to Kings Cross. I really hope you find it useful!
Let’s start with breakfast…
Any good day exploring starts with a tasty breakfast, am I right? Dishoom in Kings Cross luckily ticks all the boxes: it’s actually affordable, the food is amazing and the restaurant itself is super pretty and beautifully decorated. The only downside is that it does get really busy, so booking ahead is strongly advised if you don’t want to be queuing (though I hear the queues go pretty quickly, too!).
I started by ordering something called Kejriwal, which is chilli cheese on toast with two fried eggs on top – yum! It had a subtle kick, lots of cheese and the eggs were just the right level of runny, so I really, really enjoyed it. I also ordered some sides: I couldn’t resist the sound of their masala beans (I’m glad I couldn’t – they were really tasty!) and a few fried tomatoes. And it really was affordable: all that, plus a freshly squeezed orange juice, only came to £14 altogether – not bad, right?
This was an egg naan roll, ordered by my friend Daria – how amazing does it look?
After you’ve had a good and filling breakfast, it’s time to start exploring Kings Cross a bit more. If you’re lucky enough to get a nice and sunny day, make sure to spend some time in and around Granary Square – it’s like a buzzy little oasis filled with amazing eateries, little water fountains (there’s always lots of kids running around here – and sometimes also me…) and large grass covered stairs overlooking the canal. It’s the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream or two and while away a few moments people-watching.
If the weather is not that good, or if you’d just rather do some proper exploring straight away, head over to one of the many museums and galleries this part of London has to offer. The closest one is The British Library, which has a super interesting free “treasures” exhibition covering the history of Britain, its music and literature and some of the rarest items in the library’s collection. I would also really recommend the paid exhibitions – they are amazing value for money!
At the moment you can catch ‘James Cook: The Voyages’ until August 28th, which tells the story of this controversial figure and his three journeys around the world that took him, amongst other places, to New Zealand, Tahiti and Antarctica. The exhibition really paints a full picture of the man himself as well as his travels and doesn’t shy away from the more controversial bits, either.
Alternatively, you could walk a bit further towards Euston and catch one of the many (free!) exhibitions in the Wellcome Collection. It’s a bit out of the way, but absolutely worth the trek. At the moment they’ve got four different exhibitions on, as well a lot of different events and talks pretty much daily.
I couldn’t help myself..!
After all that exploring, I imagine you should be pretty hungry by now! Though don’t worry if you’re not, as The Big Chill on Pentonville Road has an amazing rooftop (they’ve got a Miami Vice theme this year!) where you can enjoy a few drinks while you’re waiting for your appetite to come back.
Even if it’s a bit cloudy and rainy, you can still come here as pretty much half of the rooftop is covered! They have a few signature cocktails fitting the theme of the rooftop – I tried one called Miami Vibes (see what they did there..!) with blue curacao and rum, but to be honest, I wouldn’t really rate it. It was quite sweet, and I immediately regretted not going for something fresher like Aperol Spritz instead!
After we were done with our drinks, we headed back to the pub downstairs to eat (though you can also order your food up to the rooftop!). The decor is super cute and colourful (plus they have air conditioning – woo!) and there’s lots of space – the pub is actually divided into 3 floors!
We chose two comfy armchairs on the ground floor and ordered lunch to share: crispy, coated halloumi fries with a lovely plum and ginger chutney dip as well as one of the best nacho sharer platters I’ve had in London, covered in vegetarian chilli, lots of cheese, sour cream, guacamole & pico de gallo salsa. SO. GOOD!
After lunch, head back towards the station and Granary Square to grab dessert. My favourite is Yumchaa, a little tea parlour with an amazing selection of all sorts of different teas from black and white to green and red. There’s also quite a few pastries, as well as coffees if tea is not your jam (although, if you have tea anywhere, it should be here).
We tried two different teas: me a citrus-y rooibos tea (naturally caffeine free) called Lemon Sherbet and my boyfriend a sweet black tea with different types of berries called Walk in the Woods. Both were super good and I’m now on a mission to try all their other teas as well!
If you’re not that into tea, OR if you just want to squeeze in two different desserts (a totally valid desire), you could also head to St Pancras station and choose one of the many sweet treats from French macaron masters L’aduree. I went for one of their ice cream and macaron pots (literally a cup of ice cream topped with a macaron!) and it was just what I needed for that super hot day!
I’m sure you won’t be quite ready for dinner just yet after all those desserts (or maybe you are – who am I to judge!), so I’d suggest killing time walking around Kings Cross – there’s so much to do! From cool pubs (Scottish Stores, I’m looking at you) to shopping (don’t discount both St Pancras and Kings Cross stations – there are so many shops like Oliver Bonas, Jo Malone and Kikki K there!), there’s lots to do before your stomach starts rumbling again…
Dinner wise, there are SO many places in Kings Cross and the surrounding areas to eat out in, so even though I will focus on one, I’ll also pop a few other options below!
We went to Mildred’s, which is one of the four branches of the small but very popular vegetarian restaurant chain originating from Soho’s Greek Street. Again, you can’t book here, but the non-central London locations have always managed to seat me immediately, and even in the Soho one, they let you comfortably wait at the bar… And Mildred’s is definitely worth that wait – anything I’ve ever had here has been absolutely fantastic!
This time I went for the mock chicken katsu curry served with watermelon and radish salad and black rice and I honestly can’t praise the dish enough. The “chicken” felt so authentic and was beautifully seasoned, and the watermelon and radish salad worked as the perfect refresher on the side. No word of a lie, this is one of the best dishes I’ve had in a restaurant for a while!
For my starter, I chose these lovely gyoza dumplings with the yummiest sweet chilli and soya dip – still dreaming of these, too!
Jim’s halloumi burger and my amazing mock chicken katsu curry
Aside from Mildred’s there are SO many other amazing foodie spots in the area too, and here’s just a few:
Honest Burgers – One of the best burger places in London and the place where I’ve had the best fries of my life, Honest Burgers is always a good choice. You can read my review of Honest Burgers in Borough here.
Itadakizen – A one of a kind restaurant, Itadakizen serves fully vegan and organic Japanese food, also on Pentonville Road. There’s lots to choose from on the menu, so make sure to go here hungry!
Piebury Corner – I’m cheating a bit with this one, as I haven’t actually visited the place yet, but I couldn’t not include a place with such good reviews and amazing punning skills. They have lots of veggie and vegan pies too, so definitely something for everyone.
Pizza Union – If you are as much a fan of the “Romana” style thin and crispy pizza as I am, Pizza Union is the place for you! What’s more, they offer some of the best value pizzas in London, starting at just £3.95. What’s not to love? If you’re still not convinced, have a read of my post all about Pizza Union and see if I can twist your arm?
No evening is complete without a cocktail – or maybe that’s just me? I just love the stuff, and I’m continuously looking for new places to try out, with Drink Shop Do being my newest find. This place is so much more than a cocktail place, too, though (the clue’s in the name!) as they host lots of different events and workshops here every day. That said, you can just go for drinks if you want!
We just went for cocktails this time, but what cocktails they were! Mine consisted of Mezcal, grapefruit and lime (amongst other things – unfortunately, it seems to be a new cocktail and I can’t find it on their online menu!) and it was so good! I could have honestly had tons of these, but I stayed strong and just stuck to the one..! Jim’s cocktail was a twist on the classic Old Fashioned, and consisted of bourbon, sugar and bitters – I usually find these drinks way too strong, but I have to say I actually quite liked this one.
Definitely returning here soon – maybe for a Britney Spears dance class (yes!)?!
I hope this guide was helpful to you if you’re staying in the area or are just looking for something a bit different from your usual eateries and hangouts! I’d also really love to hear what are your favourite places in and around Kings Cross – did I miss something amazing?
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