You never know what you will stumble upon while meandering around London. I fell in luv with Kings Cross St Pancras some years ago. Two of my friends live in the environs; so, that’s my excuse for frequenting the area. Walking along the canal is a delightful treat on a sunny day. King Cross continues to develop. She’s a wonderful blend of old and new with lots of style. En route to my friend’s house a few weeks ago, I took a detour and walked along the canal towards the Waterpoint. The Waterpoint was open to visitors that day. It would have been rude not to pop in, don’t you think? I’m glad that I did; it’s a treasure. If you’re into city vistas and history, St Pancras Waterpoint is a worth a visit.
Brief History of St Pancras Waterpoint
St Pancras Waterpoint is Grade II listed. One of the Open Day volunteers told me, it was not always on its current site. Apparently, the Waterpoint was closer to King Cross Station, in order that the steam locomotives fill up with water. It was moved to its current location on the viaduct overlooking the St Pancras Yacht Basin off Regents Canal to accommodate the planned expansion of the railway. The Waterpoint formally opened in 2005, after refurbishments.
The building was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, in the late 19th century (Sir George Gilbert Scott also designed London’s Albert Memorial, St Pancras station and the Home Office, and was responsible for the former Midland Grand Hotel, next to St Pancras).
St Pancras Waterpoint Garden
Before taking the stairs up to the Waterpoint, I tarried a while in the small garden below. It was full of the most gorgeous wildflowers. If I’m not mistaken, I spotted some Ox Eye Daisies and blue Nigellas. It was the most idyllic patch of green I’ve encountered in the city for some time. Then again, I’m partial to views near to water courses. If only I had a picnic supplies!
Once inside the Waterpoint, I climbed two short flights of narrow stairway to the viewing platform. From the platform, there’s a 360 view of the area around the Basin; one side the train rails, on the other industrial luxe apartments with the basin and garden in-between (home to canal boats, fishes, dragon flies, ducks and the like). It was a pleasant moment in time to simply breathe and admire my London.
On the way back down I observed the displays posted courtesy the Canal & River Trust. Now I know why the Granary is called the Granary… it constructed in 1852 it stored wheat from Lincolnshire (my other favourite city… actually I have a few… never mind) for London bakers. Ah! Yes, wheat… granary… DA!
Next Stop, King’s Cross St. Pancras
If you are ever in town and find yourself near platform 9 ¾, I’d urge you to wander further. Go explore The Granary which is now home to bars, cafes, restaurants and Central St Martins art school AND of course the splash-fun fountains. Perfect family’s day out. Then venture on to the Waterpoint to nature watch, people watch or simply BREATHE.
The upcoming open days for St Pancras Waterpoint are:
16th June, 7th July, and 22nd and 23rd September 2018
Let me know what your best bits were, if you stop by. For information about the Waterpoint and other activities along the canal, visit the Canal and River website.
(updated on 23rd May 2020)