Where To Eat, Drink and Sleep Around London's St Pancras

Regent's Canal is a great place for a stroll near King's Cross
Regent's Canal is a great place for a stroll near King's Cross | © Michael Heath / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Cajsa Carlson
Architecture & Design Editor5 February 2020

The St Pancras and King’s Cross neighbourhood in London has undergone massive change since the early 2000s – the former industrial area, once home to illegal raves, has been regenerated into a design hub with restaurants, shops and the famous Central Saint Martins college. With the Eurostar terminal located at St Pancras since 2007, it’s also the gateway to Europe and the first place many tourists see when arriving in London. Culture Trip has selected the best restaurants, bars and hotels around St Pancras, and tips on things to do in the area.

Where to eat:

Roti King

Restaurant, Malaysian
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Close to Euston Station you’ll find Roti King, which has become a favourite among the area’s many students, as well as office workers and London’s foodies. The unassuming basement restaurant specialises in authentic Malaysian cuisine like roti canai (the country’s) flatbread, nasi goreng and sambal fried rice – the most popular dishes are the roti canai, seafood kari laksa and the char kway teow. You’ll also find Singaporean and Indonesian food at Roti King, but it’s the Malaysian classics that are the highlight here.

Bodega Rita's

Bodega, Cafe, Wine Bar, North American, South American
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4.09_BODEGA_RITAS_041
© Cole Wilson

Cool sandwich store and deli Bodega Rita‘s also sells natural wines and a fun selection of unusual condiments, like Mexican Valentina hot sauce. The tiny bodega serves massive sandwiches, brimming with tempting flavour combinations like The Tony, ingredients of which include prosciutto, pesto, smoked cheddar, pickled chilli mayo and cheese dust. Swing by for a lunchtime sandwich and a glass of wine, or pick up some food to eat by the canal.

Hoppers King's Cross

Restaurant, Sri Lankan, Indian
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Forget queuing for nearby Dishoom – from February 2020, if you’re after tasty Asian food in King’s Cross, it’s Hoppers Sri Lankan and South Indian delicacies you should be trying out. The latest Hoppers restaurant, after Soho and Marylebone, is a large space with decor inspired by the “much-travelled coastal journey from Colombo, the island’s capital, to the historical Dutch town of Galle”. With seafood grills, own-brewed beers and coolers inspired by classic 1960s Tiki-style drinks, it’s a really fun, festive place to go for dinner.

Where to drink:

The Betjeman Arms

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Betjeman Arms at London St Pancras railway station
© Richard Brown / Alamy Stock Photo

Don’t miss The Betjeman Arms if you’re close to St Pancras. The large, nice-looking pub in the middle of St Pancras Station is named after Sir John Betjeman, who campaigned to save St Pancras from demolition in the 1960s and has his own statue in the station. His pub has craft beers and wines, as well as a menu that features both classic pub food and lighter lunch options. The perfect space to while away the time before the train leaves for the Continent.

The Queen's Head

Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Queens Head public house in Acton Street, Kings Cross, London
© CAR PubImage / Alamy Stock Photo

A classic Victorian pub in one of the many side streets around King’s Cross, The Queen’s Head is a great place to visit for beer lovers. With a selection that ranges from modern craft beers to hand-pumped cask ales, everyone will find something to suit their taste. The food menu features meat and cheeseboards as well as Melton Mowbray pork pies, and if you swing by the cosy pub on a Thursday evening or Sunday afternoon, there’s live piano music. A good reason to head down the backstreets.

Spiritland

Bar, Restaurant, Fusion, $$$
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Café, bar and radio studio Spiritland is a space for music lovers that plays original musical programming all day. At night, the café space turns into a bar that serves a mean cocktail and a selection of wine and beers. You can eat here, too, and the great sound system and well-chosen music selection has made Spiritland many people’s favourite bar in the area.

Where to stay:

Clink78

Hostel
Map View
© Edward Westmacott / Alamy Stock Photo

Sleep in a former prison cell on a budget at Clink 78, an old courthouse in King’s Cross where punk band The Clash once stood trial and Charles Dickens worked. Clink has mixed and single-sex dorms, as well as private rooms that are based in actual prison cells. The English Heritage-listed building with its original police custody features is perfect for young tourists looking for a hip, budget-friendly place to sleep and meet other travellers. It’s located less than a ten-minute walk from St Pancras, with plenty of transport options for central London.

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The Standard

Boutique Hotel
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The Standard_July 1st_157 final2
The Standard | © Tim Charles Photography

The Standard’s first hotel outside of America is located in the gigantic Brutalist building that formerly housed the Camden Town Hall Annex, and has brought a bit of New York’s Meatpacking District-chic to north London. The façade, a sight in itself with its external elevator painted bright red, hides 266 rooms as well as a number of bars and restaurants. If you want to stay in style in a hotel close to the Eurostar terminal, this is a great option.

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Great Northern Hotel

Hotel
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Great Northern Hotel, King's Cross, London
Courtesy of Great Northern Hotel / Hotels.com

The comfortable, luxurious rooms at the Grade II-listed Great Northern Hotel are a bit different to other hotels: they’re inspired by railway sleeper carriages. The beautiful hotel is a Victorian landmark that first opened in 1854 and has been renovated and brought back to life. Today, it has a well-designed restaurant, an elegant martini lounge and a cute coffee shop as well as stylish rooms, all located right in the middle of King’s Cross next to St Pancras station.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Things to do:

Everyman Cinema

Cinema
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King’s Cross got its own cinema in 2017, when the Everyman chain opened here. The four-screen cinema behind Central Saint Martins shows new movies and hosts regular Q&As, charity screenings and other events for film buffs. Pick something up at the well-stocked bar if you want to enjoy a drink during the film, or sit down with a pizza or some small plates from the bar menu before lights out. If you’re lucky, your film is in Salon 4, the freestanding Everyman on the Corner with its own bar and comfy chairs that make seeing a film here an enjoyable, relaxed movie experience.

Regent's Canal

Natural Feature
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Regent's Canal in Islington
© Richard Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo

The Regent’s Canal runs through much of north London and can be accessed just north of King’s Cross. It’s a wonderful area to go for a stroll – go westwards towards Camden and Primrose Hill, where you can take in the sounds (and sometimes sights of the birds) of London Zoo, or east towards Angel and Hackney. On sunny days, grab a snack and watch the barges go by while enjoying the weather on the steps by Coal Drops Yard.

British Library

Library, Museum
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interior lobby British Library, St Pancras, London, England
© B.O'Kane / Alamy Stock Photo

Right next to St Pancras station is the impressive British Library, in a Grade I-listed building by Sir Colin St John Wilson and MJ Long. The national library is open to the public, but you cannot enter its reading rooms without a reader pass. Luckily, the public areas are worth a visit in themselves; the building’s centrepiece, George III’s collection of books and pamphlets, is awe-inspiring inside its gigantic glass cube in the middle of the entrance hall. There are regular exhibitions held here, too, many of which are free.

These recommendations were updated on February 5, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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