Pall Mall Barbers’ Guide to the Best Places for Killing Time in Kings Cross
So, you’ve booked your appointment with one of the legendary barbers at the brand-new Pall Mall Barbers King’s Cross, but the planets somehow miraculously aligned and your train just pulled in early. It’s too early for a pint and your finger is already cramped from obsessively refreshing your Instagram feed. What to do with your suddenly spare hour? We’ve got you covered with plenty of ways for killing time in Kings Cross. Our new neighbourhood has plenty of low-key activities to help you pass the time – all free and all within just a few minutes of our barbershop at 68 York Way.
The British Library
96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DB
This may be the only library in London that won’t let you so much as wink at a book without undergoing interrogation by a ferocious librarian. Even if you don’t pass muster for a Reader’s Pass, there’s something weirdly thrilling about sitting quietly in one of its low-lit coffee shops. It’s almost as if you might absorb all that knowledge just by being there. The Library runs ear-round paid exhibitions, but there’s no buy a ticket to feel as though you’ve spent your time wisely. Just grab an espresso and a seat – the eavesdropping opportunities are second to none. You may not be able to check out the books, but you can still learn an awful lot about the Freudian symbolism in the film, “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” from the two professors at the table behind you.
183 Euston Rd, NW1 2BE
If you’ve ever taken an anti-histamine, had a tetanus shot or even bought a paracetamol tablet, you can thank Sir Henry Wellcome for that. The nineteenth century pharmacist and philanthropist set up two research laboratories funding scientific research that has shaped modern medicine as we know it. He was also an avid collector of medical curiosities, from rather innocent medicine masks to a more alarming Chinese torture chair. Thanks to the trust established after his death, you can now view those weird and wonderful artefacts at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road. The trust also puts on a series of free thought provoking exhibitions throughout the year exploring different angles of the human experience. It’s billed as “the free destination for the incurably curious” – if you don’t leave with a newfound interest in Victorian dentistry or the history of portable toilets, you just weren’t paying attention.
Platform 9 ¾
King’s Cross Station, N1 9AP
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you already know about this and may even have spent some of your hard-earned Galleons on a ticket to ride the Hogwart’s Express. And if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, we won’t trouble you with the details. Nevertheless, it’s a good place to people watch even if you can’t tell the difference between a Gryffindor and a Slytherin – it’s not gawking, merely paying witness to a cultural phenomenon.
Granary Square Fountains
1 Granary Square, N1C 4AA
Granary Square is roughly equal in size (though perhaps not in consequence) to Trafalgar Square. The perimeter is lined with some excellent bars and restaurants (see our guides to bars and street food for the lowdown on that), but the choreographed fountains make an interesting diversion for the agenda-less. Download the Granary Squirt app (available on iTunes and Google Play) if you’re visiting during the summer months – it turns the fountains into a 3-D game of Snake for you and up to seven other loiterers.
Camley Street Natural Park
12 Camley Street, N1C 4PW
London has a knack for conjuring up little surprises, usually just when you think you’ve seen it all. Camley Street Natural Park is just one of the tricks up its sleeve. The former coal drop wedged between King’s Cross and St. Pancras railway stations was recently resurrected as an urban oasis for birds, fish, amphibians, as well as curious humans seeking a moment of zen. As with London itself, summer is the best time to stop by, but it’s open year-round. And should you still be lingering at twilight, you may even catch a glimpse of a fluffy Daubenton’s bat foraging for breakfast on the water.
Our list of spots for killing time in Kings Cross will see you through those delayed trains or any lazy afternoons with plenty of time to spare.
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