The Redevelopment of King’s Cross Station

The North London railway hub of King’s Cross has undergone one of the largest urban regeneration schemes in Europe. Once a gritty world of brick sheds and warehouse raves, it now has the look of a luxury shopping mall.

Lewis Cubitt’s glorious southern facade has been restored and a new Western concourse roofed over. The extraordinary project took 14 years to complete but remained fully operational throughout, meeting both normal structural criteria and strict bomb-blast requirements.


In the 19th century King’s Cross was the main terminus of the Great Northern Railway. Designed by Lewis Cubitt and opened in 1852 it replaced a temporary station erected north of the canal for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The station was named after a monument to George IV, which stood by the junction of the two platforms.

The area around the station was once considered a wasteland due to heavy industrial activity that left behind a number of run-down buildings. However, in recent years the area has been redeveloped as home to big creative companies such as Google, CSM and Youtube alongside independent boutiques and high street shops.

The area has also enjoyed worldwide fame thanks to J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and the Platform 9 3/4 that has been a magnet for Harry fans. The real Platform 9 and 3/4 is actually a passageway connecting platforms 4 and 5, but the plaque inscribed with “Platform 9+3/4″, together with a revamped luggage trolley, became an iconic tourist spot. It was moved to a new location in 2012 after the station underwent major renovations.


Before its recent transformation, King’s Cross was a depressing no-man’s-land of railway sheds and fragments from an industrial heyday. Today it is one of London’s most desirable places, where people flock to meet for business and pleasure.

John McAslan + Partners designed the highly complex restoration, modernisation and extension of the Grade I listed King’s Cross railway station building. Their considered architectural and servicing interventions won 35 international design awards. This ambitious project took 14 years to complete and was delivered on schedule with no disruption to passenger services.

The showpiece of the redevelopment is the Western Concourse, described as Europe’s largest single-span station structure. Its white columns resemble vaulting tracery from Gothic cathedrals and the parabolic roof is reminiscent of Foster’s vivarium over the British Museum. The design is an engineering lstour-de-force that provides a contemporary architectural benchmark for Network Rail. Despite its massive size and weight, the roof appears light and airy and sits comfortably alongside the station’s existing historic facade and St Pancras’ Gothic towers. This sensitivity to scale and proportion makes it an attractive destination for travellers, businesses, locals and visitors.


It serves 97 million passengers per year and is the southern terminus of the East Coast Main Line to Scotland and Northern England and the Eurostar service to Europe. It is also home to the King’s Cross St Pancras station of the London Underground and is a short walk from other top attractions in London including Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square.

The station is very clean and has tons of food options, but not a lot of seating (except for the train platforms). It’s easy to buy tickets online and even easier to use once inside the station. The platform is clearly labeled with an overhead departure board. You can also check the status of your train at any time by looking up in the system.

It is a beautiful station with lots to see. The only downside is that the trains are a bit delayed due to heavy traffic. However, the staff is super friendly and helpful. I highly recommend a visit. Just make sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss your train!


There are 11 platforms at King’s Cross numbered from east to west; Platforms 9 and 10 are separate from platforms 0 to 8. Long distance trains here run by LNER (to York, Leeds, Edinburgh Waverley) as well as Grand Central, Hull Trains, and Lumo. Advance purchase tickets on these longer distances are highly recommended in order to avoid the high standard fares.

The station’s dramatic diagrid shell roof is one of Europe’s largest single-span structures and covers the new concourse, the main ticket hall beneath, and the old Western Range, all designed by Lewis Cubitt. The glazed covering is balanced with photovoltaic cells to provide natural light and control solar gain.

There is a huge choice of shopping and dining at King’s Cross, from the Coal Drops Yard with its independent shops and bars to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel with its beautiful gothic facade and clock tower. Take a stroll along the Regent’s Canal or visit Granary Square and the British Library to experience this vibrant mini-neighbourhood for yourself.


As one of the country’s biggest transport hubs, Kings Cross Station is a major junction for all types of journeys. It’s home to both Kings Cross and St Pancras International train stations, as well as being connected to the London Underground network via the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern (Bank branch), Piccadilly and Victoria lines.

There are also several bus routes that stop at the station. Parking is available on York Way and the surrounding streets, while a taxi rank is located on Pancras Road. Cyclists can park on the platform or in the car parks behind the station.

There are plenty of shops and cafes to explore around King’s Cross station. You can pick up your travel essentials at Boots, and grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants and food outlets. The station has gained a cult status in recent years as it is where the Hogwarts Express departs each autumn for Harry Potter fans. It has even been featured in music videos by the Pet Shop Boys. Find and reserve your parking near Kings Cross with JustPark before you arrive.

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