Make St Pancras Station your final destination for meeting friends, fashion and gift shopping or simply reacquainting yourself with some of life’s little joys this summer.
Under the splendour of the Grade I listed Victorian cast iron roof, it’s a day out that the Great British weather cannot dampen. From world-class dining to a catch-up over a coffee, browsing the racks at some of the UK’s most beloved retailers to picking up a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine for the weekend, St Pancras is a hub for a lot more than trains, right at the very heart of Camden.
Here are loads of suggestions to try at the Station, which offers the reassurance of unbeatable hygiene standards during the unlockdown too, courtesy of a team that includes two robot cleaners…
After remaining quiet for so long, it’s great news that the Station’s iconic pianos are open again for the public to tinkle those ivories. A lovely spot to meet is within earshot of one of the highly talented pianists who often sit and play. Find Elton John’s very own piano located on the lower ground floor arcade, or even get a little more animated in front of the jukebox under the South Eastern Trains platforms, which contains thousands of free-to-play Top 40 tracks from over the years.
Head for a pint at The Betjeman Arms first, and enjoy their very own Betjeman Ale or, if it’s a Sunday, tuck into their acclaimed vegan roast. At the other end of the concourse, The Barrel Vault is suitably huge for a socially distanced drink and, like the Betjeman, has a buzzy outdoor terrace too.
There’s no need to travel to Paris for an authentic Euro-glamour experience this summer when you can sip champagne alongside the Eurostar at Searcy’s. Officially the longest champagne bar on the continent, they have a special small plates and tasting flight menu and are a great spot for afternoon tea. The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel is very close at hand if you want to treat yourself or a visiting loved one to an overnight stay and maybe a relaxing spa the next day.
If your lunchtime sandwich, slice of cake and even cup of coffee needs to look as fancy as it tastes, head straight to EL&N, which declares itself London’s most Instagrammable café. In this bright pink wonderland, try a Black Magic Latte or Golden Saffron Frappé and a colourful sweet treat with friends, and snap it all for the ‘gram.
As well as being a quality coffee and juice mainstay, Sourced Market is like having the produce of a farmers market available seven days a week; from artisan breads and cakes to hot streetfood to take away or enjoy on the communal tables. Linger a while in their diminutive wine bar over a glass with small plates of charcuterie and cheese.
Head to Ladurée for an authentic taste of Paris and indulge in their famously delicate macarons. They also have a wide selection of pastries include intricate fruit tarts, creamy eclairs and rich chocolate creations. After the year we’ve all had, you’ve surely earned one, or maybe even two.
In need of a quick pamper session before your dinner date? Eyecandy Beauty Bar offer express treatments from manicures to lash lifts and even massages, all here under very the same Victorian roof.
Kineya Mugimaru is a hugely popular fresh noodle restaurant in Japan, and St Pancras is the location of their first ever European store. They specialise in deeply flavoursome udon broths, with a selection of crispy tempura sides, making this a new restaurant opening well worth checking out with friends. Also brand new is Remoli, the grab-and-go pasta bar next to the Eurostar. We interviewed chef/owner Simone recently here.
Famous for its picnic hampers, gifts and vast range of teas, forage at Fortnum & Mason for delicacies and treats for the summer – they even have a special edition St Pancras tea. Try their honey too, harvested from rooftop hives across London, including atop the station. Hatchards is London’s oldest bookshop, having been in business next to Fortnum’s on Piccadilly for over 200 years. Both can be found nearby at St Pancras too, in the beautiful arches of the station undercroft. Drop in and be thoroughly inspired by their finely curated selection of fiction and non-fiction. Their fantastic events programme showcasing celebrated authors in-store will make a welcome return soon.
Many shops at St Pancras offer a personal shopping experience to help you feel and look your best (booking necessary). Much needed summer wardrobe updates can be achieved from the likes of Ted Baker, L.K.Bennett, Kate Spade and Whistles all ready and waiting for you to sweep your new favourite sundress of their racks. Underwear supremos Calvin Klein makes for the perfect stop-off to indulge in their classic range of sleepwear and loungewear, which could well be designed to catapult your working from home experience to new heights of comfort.
Jo Malone offer the personal shopping touch with their fragrances and ultimate gifting and pampering bundles. Meanwhile the undercroft branch of Hamleys has got to be the most convenient, and fun, branch of the world-famous store to pick up toys, games and the latest tech gizmos.
As well as offering their own clothing range, both Oliver Bonas and The White Company are great destinations for thoughtfully crafted homeware, further adding to the alure of St Pancras as a place for sourcing excellent gifts.
And it’s well worth remembering the handy little branch of repair heroes iSmash in case of a tech crisis. Sometimes the most appreciated gift of all could be knowing a local spot to fix a cracked phone screen or frozen laptop.
For the recent print magazine Camdenist presents Unlockdown, we commissioned local 16-year-old artist Ellis Benji Bertram to create a comic strip covering the innovative new additions to the cleaning team at the Station. If viewing on mobile, tap to zoom in.
This article first appeared in the print edition, Camdenist presents Unlockdown, a guide to supporting and celebrating Camden’s brilliant local businesses, venues and destinations as we emerge from the Covid lockdowns. Produced in association with partners including HS1/St Pancras International, it was delivered free to all 270,000 residents in the borough.