On the Sunday just before Christmas we needed to get out the house and have a bit of fresh air. I’d had wanted to show Betsy the Disney Christmas tree in St Pancras station and I fancied looking at the tree in Granary Square so this felt like a perfect opportunity. There’s a huge amount of regeneration going on in the Kings Cross area at the moment which makes it an excellent place for an explore and walk.
The first thing we saw once we got into the area was looking at the Disney tree. It’s in the middle of St Pancras train station until the 4th January if you fancy having a look, and I really recommend it. I’m not a fan of Disney really, but even I found it difficult not to enjoy the tree. It’s HUGE for a start (14 meters, it almost touches the roof), plays classic Disney songs and it sprays out fake snow every few minutes. Of course there is a giant Mickey Mouse sitting on the top. It’s SO Disney and very, very popular. It took us a minute to get to the fence surrounding it, but worth the wait just to see this face:
We’d bought a bit of food (and a giant chocolate coin to share) and set off to find a bench to eat. I had originally planned to take the kids down to Corams Fields which is a ten minute walk away just so Arthur can have a bit of a run around, but actually we didn’t need to, there’s loads of open space near Kings Cross now. There’s a brand new public space, Pancras Square that’s reachable via a new tunnel from the Underground station.
The tunnel is pretty sweet in itself (and really quiet too), if you are coming off the Tube, follow signs to St Pancras station and eventually you’ll see signs to the Granary Sq/Pancras Sq entrance. When you emerge you find yourself in Pancras Square, so new there’s still buildings being made and shops only just opening. I note (ha) there’s a new branch of Notes coffee shop, which I really need to try out. It was a cold, windy day when we went, so it was nice and quiet, but it was nice to see lots of chairs and tables laid out throughout the place for anyone to sit on. There’s lots of green space and a water feature too and I can totally see us coming back here in the summer.
Let It Snow is the Christmas tree standing tall in Granary Square and it is made of 365 wooden sledges and you can even walk inside it and have a look. Betsy liked it, but discovered the steps down to Regent’s Canal and spent the next ten minutes jumping down them while I listened to jazz coming from the secondhand book narrow boat moored next to us.
As we were next to the water we decided to have a little walk along the canal. There’s a bit of pontoon you have to walk along (going towards Camden) while there’s some building work happening which makes the walk even more fun (especially when you make it wobble when there’s just you on there). We were also lucky enough to catch a couple of canal boats going through St Pancras lock too which was fascinating for the Boo.
Just next to the lock is Gasholder Park, a really smart park created from a restored gasometer. It’s stunning – all mirrored surfaces circling a patch of grass. It’s incredibly photogenic and I happily watched the Eurostar and HS1 trains speed past while the kids ran around.
We were all getting a bit tired by this time so walked back to Granary Square for a cheap coffee in Waitrose. By the time we’d finished it was getting dark, so we walked back over to the Christmas tree. The lights on this tree are fantastic and change colour and have accompanying sounds too.
Finally we strolled back to Kings Cross for our train home, there are lights everywhere! We’ll be back again, there is so much to explore here, we must have a look at the Skip Garden soon and revisit Camley Street natural park which I’ve not been to since Betsy was a tiny baby (and I really want a swim in the Pond and eat at Grain Store and Dishoom)