Kings Cross - St. Pancras, London
For the last couple of years in the summer at Kings Cross station forecourt they have a festival for the community an deveryone else that likes to attend.
They have food stalls, stalls with handmade jewellery and cakes, magicians and rides for the kids and free shows and a music band.
The festival it's held in August and free to attend but you need to pay for the rides.
Kings Cross Station has recently been extensively remodelled and modernised, with a brand new departures hall. Harry Potter fans will be pleased to hear that this incorporates a special “Platform 9 ¾” photo opportunity! The sign and trolley are against the wall near the bookshop, Watermark (to the left as you exit the tube station, and left of the departure boards).
You may have to queue to take your photo by the way, but if you’re a fan of the books, no doubt you won’t mind that too much – just allow enough time if you’re here to catch a train too!
There is a studio tour of The Making of Harry Potter (which we did not go to) but for some reason my son begged that we go to King's Cross to see the actual platform seen in the movie. Of course there isn't a real and operational Platform 9 3/4 but as we approached Platforms 9 and 10, we saw a small crowd milling near a wall and lo and behold: there was a half luggage cart and half bird cage stuck on the wall! Which meant of course that you can have a photo taken of yourself rushing "into" the wall for free if you've got your own camera (which we did) or a pro photographer is nearby who can do that for a fee.
My son had his shot so he now has a bragging right to say he rode on the Hogwarts Express!
Having moved around a bit (always a problem with magic train platforms I guess) Platform 9 ¾ appears to have settled down now albeit slightly out of place to a spot to the right of Platform 9 on the New Western Departures Concourse at Kings Cross Station.
Those familiar with Harry Potter books or movies will be aware that Platform 9 ¾ is the departure point of the Hogwarts Express, a scarlet steam engine which takes students to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The train departs at 11am sharp on the 1st September each year. Access to the platform itself is gained by passing through the wall at the sign in my attached picture. Certain magical powers are required for successful passage but even then Mrs Molly Weasley advises that one should “do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous”.
Access to platforms 9 and 10 are via a turnstile using a valid train ticket!
Subsequent to my visit here I read that long queues can develop during the day for the obligatory photo shoot of you trying to gain access to the platform. When I visited there was no one in sight. The fact that my visit was on very wet London morning at around 6.30am might explain the lack of a queue. There is a hint on ho to avoid the queue.
During more sensible hours of the day professional photographers are on hand to kit you out in Harry Potter scarves and other Hogwarts gear and take your photo for you. They charge around GBP8 for this indulgence. You are otherwise permitted to take your own photos for free. Posing for a photo I did rather feel like a dork though had I done it at a more sensible hour I would not have been alone.
Close to the entrance to platform 9 ¾ and much more lucrative to the JK Rowling's empire is the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9 ¾ where you can pick up all those necessities for your life of wizardry such as Quidditch jerseys, wands, stuffed owls, Marauder’s Maps, train tickets for Hogwarts and robes to name but a few.
Interestingly, for me at least, is the fact that there is no wall divider between the real platforms 9 and 10 in Kings Cross and it is thought that while Rowling refers to Kings Cross in her writings she was in fact thinking of Euston Station where a wall does exists. Given this slight problem, during the Potter films platforms 4 and 5 are used.
This is clearly a must see site if you’re a Harry Potter fan, otherwise its a bit of fun anyway.
Kings Cross station is not the only London transport hub closely associated with literary works – readers may also be familiar with the following:
Paddington Station : Paddington Bear (see separate review)
Bakerloo: you can’t possibly miss the Sherlock Holmes connection here
Victora Coach Station: In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, the title character was found as an infant in a handbag at Victoria Station.
I imagine there are many more.
I really enjoyed visiting Kings Cross Station--once to secure our tickets for Edinburgh and then to leave for Edinburgh and arrive back in London. The architecture is a really cool mix of classic and modern, and I loved the whole vibe of the place. There is also "Platform 9 3/4" of Harry Potter fame. You can take your picture with the cart which is halfway through the wall (they even have Harry Potter scarves for you to wear) and maybe buy some souvenirs at the little shop they have there. Either way, it's a great little place in London, and worth looking around, especially if you have a train connection there.
Jonathan Barker pointed this spot out to me on our first VT-meeting in London. We met up at Camden Town and walked down to King´s Cross.
In one of the Harry Potter´s films Harry Potter is told to go to Platform 9 3/4 at King´s Cross station to get to Hogwarts. There actually is a Platform 9 3/4 at King´s Cross - right between Platforms 9 and 10. No, not really, but it is located in one part of King´s Cross, easily found - just follow the queue, leading to - a wall :)
I think this is such a good idea, a Platform 9 3/4 with a trolley half-way through the wall - but Harry Potter walked through the wall. I have been there several times and it is such a popular spot. I don´t know if everbody knows about this though - I am happy that Jonathan pointed it out to me as I love stuff like this. When Jonathan and I visited together there was a queue of people waiting to have their photo taken there. Of course I wanted my photo taken as well there, and Jonathan wanted his photo taken. So much fun :)
Highly recommended for Harry Potter´s fans. I also went there with my partner and he had not seen the movies, so he thought I was making a total fool of myself ;)
I suppose that I visited St. Pancras’ Station purely out of curiosity. As with Charing Cross and other stations, I believe that it all stems from my desire to visit the places that are so frequently mentioned in British novels, plays and movies. That’s not to say that St. Pancras’ Station is not historic or worth visiting without the Agatha Christie references. With its red brick, copper roofing and frequent turrets, the station is an example of Victorian architecture and of the late industrial revolution period that transformed London. Added to these are the roof-supporting arches constructed from a webbing of wrought-iron, which held up the largest roofing structure in the world at that time. The station accommodated the rapidly increasing rail network, especially the lines that went north to the UK’s industrial heartland and the growing population centres such as Manchester and Birmingham. With the nationalization and rationalization of the rail network following the Second World War, the station’s importance waned and, despite attempts to add new services and redirect traffic to St. Pancras, it was unable to recover levels of activity seen prior to the Second World War, especially with the collapse of British industry. In the late 2000s, however, the station was given a boost with the opening of international services benefitting from the Chunnel connection between London and mainland Europe. Together with the internationalization of service from the station, its complete renovation, and the addition of airy, light glass-and-steel structure on the east side of the station has helped to ensure that St. Pancras retains its place as an important interchange for London trains.
Similar to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, the British Library was once part of the British Museum. It occupied the reading room in the central foyer of the Museum and took up considerable amounts of space from the venerable institution. In 1973, it was decided that the collection should be relocated, but it was not until 1997 that it moved to its current home St. Pancras station, following a long battle to prevent the construction of the library across from the British Museum. The collections of the Library were established through legal deposit (i.e. that gratis copies of all books published in the UK be provided to the Library) as well as through the acquisition of private collections and the absorption of other government and charitable collections, including sound, print and electronic media collections. The Library also purchases materials, including those published abroad, in order to ensure a complete compendium of works in English and other languages. The Library is not just a scholarly resource, however. Apart from allowing some of the collections to be accessible to the public, the ground floor of the Library is an exhibition centre that seeks to educate visitors on topics related to the Library’s mandate. When I visited, there was a large exhibition on the English language, its development and its various détournements.
The national library in many ways and free admittance to a library which is in many ways more like a museum. The building is modernistic and only a few years old but has easy access and is disabled friendly throughout. There is a cloakroom so leave your coat and bags to really enjoy this superb building.
You can see original documents such as the Magna Carta, da Vinci's notebook, and original manuscripts from people such as Lewis Carroll and Virginia Wolfe.
Pleasant grounds too in a very busy part of London.
Recently renamed as St Pancras International, this railway station is where the Eurostar now arrives from continental Europe. The railway station itself was completed in 1868 and its "Barlow Train Shed", the covered railway tracks, was the world's largest covered space. However, at the time, the station did not include the stunning Victorian Gothic façade that it is most known for (seen in the attached photos). This grand red brick edifice, combining Moorish, Gothic and Victorian architecture, was built separately in 1876 as the Midland Great Hotel. It was designed by the renowned architect, Sir Gilbert Scott, who designed numerous buildings worldwide, including the University of Bombay. Upon the closure of the hotel in 1935, the building was adjoined to the adjacent St Pancras station and subsequently housed its offices, known as St Pancras Chambers. Nowadays, once again, the station and St Pancras Chambers have been separated and there are plans to restore the Chambers to its original function, a luxury hotel run by the Marriot chain.
Victoria International was not bad but St-Pancras International with its impressive Victorian Gothic architecture is even better.
St. Pancras was one of the greatest Victorian buildings in London from the mid 19th c. The roof, the Barlow train shed, was the largest enclosed space in the world.
It has been completely reglazed and repainted in its intended pale sky blue. Brick work has also been restored.
A glass extension has been designed giving a total glassed area of nearly 10.000 M² to house the extra long Eurostar trains in their new home.
From the point of view of the Eurostar traveller, St. Pancras seemed to me as what concerns architecture, comfort of the traveller, eat, drink, shops and amenities, better than Paris Nord and Brussels-Midi. (Much, much better than Amsterdam Centraal where there was (2007) nothing for the Thalys travellers, not even a waiting room).
In Harry Potter terms, King's Cross Station is where students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry take the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts from Platform 9¾ on September the first at eleven o'clock sharp.
In real life, King's Cross Station is a major railway system in London that opened in 1852,
Most of the trains here are GNER (now owned by Sea Containers Ltd.) which goes to Edinburgh or Leeds, and other places.
Right next to King's Cross is St. Pancras Station which now serves as International Eurostar trains.
The station is a Grade I listed building and is celebrated for its architecture.
So if you want to go to Scotland, other parts of England or go out the country , then take the train here. :)
According to legend kings cross was built on the site of Boudica’s final battle and her body is buried under the platforms, it is said her ghost haunts the station.
Lewis Cubbit designed Kings Cross railway station; it was constructed between 1851 and 1852 on the site of a former fever and smallpox hospital. It opened on the 14th October 1852 and is the main east coast rail network connecting London to Leeds, York, Darlington, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen.
The fictional platform 91/2 is set at Kings Cross, where Harry Potter caught the train to Hogwarts.
In the Harry Potter books, the passengers of Hogwarts Express enter the platform 9 3/4 by running their trolley through a brick column in the middle of a train station platform. The good people of Kings Cross Station in London have placed a "Platform 9 3/4" sign to the left of platform 8 (!) with a trolley half sunk into the bricks. A very popular spot to take a photo of you and your owl on the way to Hogwarts Express ! I guess the actual filming was done between platform 3 and 4 in Kings Cross.
While in London if you want to make some Harry POtter stops head to King's Cross Station. Walk towards Platforms 8,9 and 10 and you will come across Platform 9-3/4. Push the cart through the wall to the Hogwart's Express!