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Londonspring in the square mile

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King's Cross

Granary Square

Granary Square photo by Mark Parren Taylor

Why Now: After a multibillion-dollar redevelopment project, the recently opened historic square and its surrounding central London neighborhood are making a cultural comeback.

As a new era of high-speed trains blazes a trail into the future, it’s apropos that London’s latest up-and-coming neighborhood is railway-centric King’s Cross. At the height of the Victorian era, King’s Cross and St. Pancras stations embodied modern innovation. These days, the same sense of promise fills the streets of the canal-side quarter.

The cool sip cocktails at Drink, Shop & Do (9 Caledonian Rd.). Fashionistas nibble on American road-trip bites at Shrimpy’s, a kitsch eatery in a former gas station. Art students from nearby Central Saint Martins spill out onto the plaza of recently opened Granary Square, home to restaurants such as the industrial-cool Caravan and chef Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store.

Fronting St. Pancras Station is the iconic 140-year-old home of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel (reopened in 2011), whose Booking Office bar was once the station’s ticket room. Punch recipes from back in the day find new life in antique bowls lining the bar.

The station-adjacent Great Northern Hotel (reopened in May) was also part of the area’s Victorian landscape. Its style is a mix of new and old, while its views of the spiral-vaulted St. Pancras concourse are an unmistakably futuristic harbinger of things to come in this fast-evolving neighborhood.

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