King's Cross and Camden Lock
On a recent family day out in London we decided to spend a little time in the King's Cross and Camden Lock area of
our great capital city. We try and get down to the ol' smoke every few months, and see something
different each time. In the past we've frequented the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, the
walked over the 02 arena
gone up The Shard
, and a couple
of weeks ago, went to the Imperial War Museum. This time round a trip to see the "Railway Children" was on the cards - and as this takes
place behind King's Cross station, it seemed an ideal opportunity to explore the area.
King's Cross is certainly having a lot of money spent on it - the whole area has been cleaned up a treat. With offices and new apartment blocks
springing up all over the place. There are a couple of viewing platforms around King's Cross - one near the station and the other near
the swimming pond - which allow you to see the work going on, and the surrounding area. On a hot day the fountains are a good place to stop for a cup of tea,
and the children can splash around in the fountains.
Ideal on a hot day - the fountains at King's Cross
Or sit on the astroturfed steps looking out to the canal. A 5 minute walk takes you to the
natural swimming pond
, a combination
of swimming pool and pond - a unique way to spend an hour in King's Cross.
The photo below was taken from the "viewing platform". One tip though, it's best to book a swimming session before you turn up - as the
pool can get full.
The natural swimming pond at King's Cross - an oasis in the heart of urban King's Cross
Next to the pond is the
, a little garden oasis amongst the building
projects going. The name comes from the garden being made up, er, skips. It does what it says on the tin!
Not just a building site - in the middle of this urban regeneration we have the King's Cross Skip Garden
King's Cross to Camden Lock
Camden Lock is around 1½ miles from King's Cross, with the canal's tow path making a superb route to get to this mecca
of multi-cultural delights. You can walk along the tow path, or, as I did, hire a Santander Cycle to ride along the path
(The cycle dock at Crinan Street is the best option; you can push the bike for 30 seconds up the road to get to the tow path - so no road cycling is
necessary!). Walking/cycling along the tow path gives you a different perspective on London. Whereas the roads and paths seem to be
frantic, the tow path is a drop of serenity.
Just seconds from the throng of King's Cross, the tow path on Regents Canal
When you arrive at Camden Lock, the serenity of the tow path well and truly ends. Camden Lock is heaving. (For those with a Santander Cycle, head towards
the "Camden Lock" sign - as seen on the photo below, and take a right into Castlehaven Road).
When you see this, you know you've arrived at Camden Lock
You can head up the high street and visit the clothes/souvenir shops along the way. Don't forget to look up at the
buildings too, there is some quite spectacular art work to be seen. I particularly liked the aeroplane hanging
vertically from one of the shops.
Look up at the shops on Camden High Street - particularly this one with a plane
The street market next to the canal has to be seen to be believed! This miss-mash of cultures offers
food, sights and smells from all over the globe - and is the place to head for a range street food. Whether
you're after a sit down and a go on a Shisha pipe; some American street food; or some Chinese food, there's something here for you.
Brave the hustle and bustle of Camden street market
Once you've decided on the part of the world you'd like to dine from, the best thing to do is head back to the canal area to sit and consume your chosen meal.
Walking a minute up the canal gives you a break from the crowds, and a place to sit for a while.
A little peace & quiet next to Camden Lock - and an ideal place to eat your lunch from Camden street market
Hiring a cycle
I mentioned the Santander Cycles
; they used to called Barclays Bikes - or
known as Boris Bikes. These bikes make a great way of getting around, and
they aren't expensive to use. Pay £2 for a 24 access period, and you can use the bikes for 30 minute periods
as often as you like. For example, I took a bike from Crinan Street in King's Cross to Castlehaven Road in Camden Lock -
a 20 minute ride. Docked the bike and spend a couple of hours looking around Camden Lock. I then got another bike from
Castlehaven Road back to Crinan Street. The total cost was Pay £2. Now that is a good deal!
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