London Stories and Tips

Kings Cross and St Pancras

Platform nine and three quarters Photo, London, England

Our son is very keen on the Harry Potter books and films, so we promised him we would take him to Kings Cross Railway Station during our visit to London. Believe it or not, they do actually have a Platform nine and three quarters there!

All Potter fans will know that from this platform, Harry took his first steps into the world of magic. At Kings Cross station, they have a sign for the platform, along with a luggage trolley half in and half out of the wall. Bring your camera and take a picture of your children trying to run through the wall. There was a line of children (and adults) being photographed doing just that!

It was really easy to find the sign, but apparently it has been known to move, especially if any construction work is going on. If you can't find it, just ask someone who works there - it will be somewhere. You do not need a ticket for the trains to be able to see the platform. Also, Kings Cross gets really busy during rush hour, so I would avoid it at these times.

Just across the road from Kings Cross, is St Pancras Railway Station. If you are here, it is definitely worth going over to have a look at what has been described as "the world's most wonderful railway station." Its beautiful Victorian architecture is wonderful from the outside - it opened in 1852 and is Grade I listed. Inside it is known as the "cathedral of the railways," and its train shed had the largest single span structure of its time.

It is a really beautiful building. If children do not appreciate its beauty, they will enjoy seeing the sleek Eurostar train which goes to the Continent. At St Pancras, they also have the longest champagne bar in the world.

At the back of the station is a really interesting statue - "The Meeting Place" is a giant couple locked in an embrace - it is supposed to show the romance of travel, but its sheer size is really impressive.

We spent about 10 minutes in Kings Cross and about 20 minutes in St Pancras, not your normal tourist attractions, but definitely worth a look if you are in this area.

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