Next time you’ve got a day off and you feel stuck on how to spend it–take yourself to King’s Cross. Treating yourself to a nice day out in your own company is an excellent example of self-care and it is great for your general wellbeing and mental health! This area of London has recently gone through a radical transformation and is a fantastic place to get your fill of coffee, contemplation and culture.
So with that in mind, here's our guide of great places to take yourself in this vibrant and dynamic area.
Start your day off by picking up a delicious coffee from Frequency–an independent coffee shop, tucked away on Kings Cross Road. They do the best Flat White around. Their servers put a lot of care and attention into making their coffee, ensuring each cup is perfect. The milk is velvety smooth and the coffee has a distinct and rich taste. They also serve tea on a cute little tray with a tiny milk bottle. You can get a drink to-go or stop a while and sit in–we like people watching from the bench in the window.
Next head up to ‘House of Illustration’ on Granary Square. This gallery was founded by Sir Quentin Blake and has a varied programme of exhibitions and events. It’s the only public space in the UK that’s dedicated to illustration and graphic arts. Past exhibitions have covered The BFG in Pictures; A New Childhood: Picture Books from Soviet Russia; Mac Conner: A New York Life; and Shojo Manga: The World of Japanese Girls’ Comics. Part of the fun is paying a visit not knowing quite what you’re going to see. The best thing is that your entry ticket covers you for all the exhibitions that are open on the day. Currently, you can see 100 Figures: The Unseen Art of Quentin Blake which runs until January 2019.
There isn't a huge number of shops in King's Cross but the shops that are there–are in the mid to high-end price range. For that reason the shops are emptier than many other shopping areas in London–making it the perfect place to go for stress-free browsing and for those who hate to queue. Find shops like 'Jigsaw' (classic fashion for both sexes), 'And Other Stories' (high-fashion womenswear) and a 'Nike' (for sportswear/work-out clothes) located in Pancras Square. Five-minutes down the road are more shops in the newly opened fashion district–'Coal Drops Yard', which contains a three-floored 'Cos' (beautiful and simple clothes for both sexes) and a 'Space NK' (for high-end, luxury skincare products).
Granary Square seems like it is almost designed for those wanting to soak up the scenery or watch the world go by; as it has so many benches and sitting areas for visitors. There is a food market (Kerb), every Wednesday to Friday with many of London's best pop-ups located there, serving a wide variety of cuisines. In the summer months you can sit by the fountains in the middle of the square or bring a picnic on the AstroTurf steps that lead down to the canal. If you like to keep moving then we recommend going for a walk along the canal with an audiobook!
After viewing the fountains located opposite The Lighterman (which features in our article 'The Best Rooftop Bars in North London'), there is a set of steps just to the right of the building; which leads down to the canal. Turn left at the bottom of the steps and walk until you see Word on the Water–a barge turned floating bookshop. It is a great addition to the newly renovated area. If you are lucky, (occasionally in summer) you may find a man playing the guitar or a live jazz performance on its roof!
Finish your afternoon off with a walk along the towpath and an ice cream. Ruby Violet has a second branch of bespoke ice cream, sorbets and ‘frozen delights’ at Kings Cross. They make all of their products with organic milk and fresh ingredients, often with a quirky twist. Their menu includes flavour combinations like Beetroot and Orange ice cream, which by the colour alone (hot pink) is too good to resist. Or for an Easter treat you could go for a Maxi Moo Moo ice cream with a dark chocolate egg containing a honeycomb centre.