I hope June has been treating you well so far. My June has been pretty busy – I started an internship in London whilst trying to sort out my travel plans for this summer. Apart from that my days have been filled with thinking about possible dissertation topics, taking photos to sell clothes on Depop, celebrating the return of Love Island and finally, I’m also back to blogging. After the exam period it feels great to finally have some time to write and share what has been going on recently. And what better way to get back into blogging then with a good old travel post? In collaboration with Hotels.com, I spent two days exploring King’s Cross and Euston and trying to find hidden gems in the city. Although I volunteer near King’s Cross and thus spend a good deal of my time there, I had never actually explored this area further and didn’t know much about what it had to offer apart from the classics like the British Library and Platform 9 3/4. But for this post, I tried my best to find places in King’s Cross and Euston that might not be in your typical London guidebook. So if you want to read more about things to do in these areas and what I’ve been up to, keep reading. x
For lunch time I made my way over to Mestizo, a Mexican restaurant near Euston station. Mestizo is said to be one of the best and most authentic Mexican restaurants in London, with a great choice of vegetarian and vegan options. Since I went for lunch, their menu was smaller and apart from having chips and guac as a starter (because how could I not), I simply asked the staff for vegan recommendations. I ended up going for a salad and veggie empanadas with rice and beans in a green minty sauce. Fun fact: I hadn’t had empanadas since going vegan but these were absolutely delicious and in my opinion even better than non-vegan ones. Just like the main, both the salad and the tortilla chips tasted amazing and I ended up eating nearly all of it by myself. Drinks wise I usually go with water but this time I decided to venture out and treat myself to an ‘agua de Jamaica’, a drink made with hibiscus flower, sugar and water. This drink was really refreshing and I have to admit, it made me rethink my usual choice of water. After lunch, I also popped into the Mexican Market next to door – they sell all things Mexican from tortilla chips, tacos and sauces to traditional clothing, tableware and decoration. Although I didn’t buy anything this time, I’ll definitely come back if I’m ambitious enough to cook a traditional Mexican meal by myself.
After exploring the Mexican Market, I decided to have a coffee break. I came across a little café called Tapped & Packed which apparently is famous for its coffee. Although I usually tend to go for tea or hot chocolate, I decided to test their reputation and actually go for coffee this time (although I can hear coffee drinkers shouting at me that decaf doesn’t really count). Anyway, I had had an oat milk macchiato which was just what I needed. Can we just talk about how cute the interior of this place is? Basically a blogger’s dream. And although I had more things on my list for this day, I ended up staying there for a while, sipping on my coffee, reading my book and taking a few (or well, many) photos.
On to cultural things and galleries. One of my favourite galleries in Euston is the Wellcome Collection. Although I have previously been to special exhibitions hosted by them, I had never actually looked at the more permanent displays. But this was about to change that day as I wandered through a gallery exploring the changes in medicine until this day. The gallery also paid special focus to current problems such as obesity and also allowed people to write messages and put them onto a board. This gallery is also amazing for children as it allows you to interact with the history of medicine in many ways e.g. through audiotapes and by opening drawers that display people who have greatly shaped modern medicine. I also visited a current exhibition, called ‘Teeth’. This exhibition led you through the history of dentistry, from a time where barbers would pull teeth to modern tools. I also learned more about teeth problems and deformations as well as about how successful marketing and advertising have improved dental hygiene. Not only is the Wellcome Collection host to some fascinating exhibitions, it is also completely free so I’d highly recommend visiting.
Next, I decided to visit another museum but one of a very different nature – the Charles Dickens Museum. This museum might not be in the centre of Euston/King’s Cross but it’s only a short walk away, near Russell Square station. Despite being an avid reader and a huge fan of Dickens’ writing, I had never actually been to this place – I remember watching TV in our hotel room whilst my mum visited this museum on our first trip to London. Oh well, my cultural interests have evolved a bit since the age of 13. I actually loved visiting this museum – not only was it interesting to see how Dickens and his family lived, it also felt like a journey into 19th century England. I was especially fascinated by the nursery rooms and the rooms where the family slept – can I have a bed like that please?! I also learned things about Dickens I didn’t know – did you know that the worked in a warehouse after his father’s imprisonment, a dark time that left a lasting impression on his mind? And did you know about Dickens interest in science and medicine? He was an advocate for better hygiene, sanitary conditions and supported the creation of one of the first children’s hospitals, Great Ormond Street Hospital. After learning about Dickens upbringing and family life, I got a hot chocolate and discovered a little garden belonging to the Dickens Museum café. As it was a beautiful day, I sat outside for a while, reading my book and taking in the beautiful scenery. The little garden made me feel at peace and offered a great break from the bustle of the city. I will come back to this little spot of peacefulness without doubt.
I finished my day of exploring by getting a takeaway from Mildred’s, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant in King’s Cross (Mildred’s can be found in several locations across London). I opted for chargrilled artichokes as a starter and a Sri Lankan curry as a main. Since it was such a beautiful day, I had my dinner in a nearby park. Let me just tell you, if you have never tried Mildred’s, you’re missing out (which sadly means I’d been missing out for a while). Both the main and the starter were absolutely delicious and definitely something you can’t find at every restaurant. I especially loved the garlic dip that came with the starter – someone care to figure out the recipe for that?
Day 2 of exploring. I started the day off by popping into Speedy’s, the café featured in Sherlock Holmes. Next to it, you can see the fictional ‘221B Baker Street’ (don’t try to find it on Baker Street, the film set is right by Euston station). Although the little café has become pretty popular thanks to the Netflix series, the prices are still really good and I bought the cheapest cup of tea in a long time. This café also offers breakfast for less than 5 quid and of course some serious Sherlock Holmes vibes. If you’re fan, I can recommend popping by, ideally not during lunch time though as this place can get very busy.
If you like both boats and books then this place is for you. Word on the Water is a bookshop that is well, on the water, close to King’s Cross station. Not only is this undoubtedly the cutest bookshop in London, it also offers a great selection of books, ranging from children’s books to fiction and political books. It also has a relatively large selection of classics, so if you’re a fan of that, even better. Oh and they do coffee.
Having explored their selection of books (and having added a few to my always growing book list), I made my way to Skip Garden for lunch. Skip Garden is a sustainable community and urban garden, right in the middle of King’s Cross, where you wouldn’t necessarily expect such a place of calm and quiet. Skip Garden is home to many plants including plants producing vegetables and herbs and you can enjoy their self-grown food in the little restaurant. Their lunch menu changes from day to day and always includes fresh meals such as soups, sandwiches and salads. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, they also offer cakes, although these aren’t always vegan. Apart from the lentil and carrot soup (which was delicious, especially together with their homemade bread!), I couldn’t resist getting an oat milk hot chocolate with hazelnut flavour. Which was definitely the right decision, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good hot chocolate. After lunch, I walked around and explored the garden and similar to the garden behind the Charles Dickens Museum, this green space made me feel calm and at ease. I believe that especially in the city, it is important to reconnect with nature, it nourishes and calms the soul. Visiting a sustainable garden like this one also made me think about my daily eating habits – I can’t wait for the day when I have my own garden and can grow herbs and vegetables myself.
Since you can never have enough tea and cake, I decided to try a café that I had read a lot about but had actually never been to – Drink, Shop & Do. When I say café this is a little bit misleading so let me put it right – a café during the day, a bar at night. The interior of this place is amazing, very artsy and cute. But this place is not only getting points in terms of looks, its food is just as good. This day they had three vegan options – a chocolate cake, a brownie and a banana loaf. I went for the brownie and an Alice in Wonderland tea which is basically a combination of many different flavours and ingredients, including roiboos, camomile and many more. Although the tea wasn’t as cheap as at Speedy’s, I got a whole pot of it that actually took me a while to finish. Which I didn’t mind though, considering how cosy and cute this place was. I’ll definitely return to treat myself to some more of their cake and try myself through their tea selection.
Last but certainly not least, I finished my two days of exploring by heading for a drink at the Big Chill near King’s Cross Station. The Big Chill is home to a bar and restaurant and to a lounge as well as a dance floor and a rooftop terrace, so basically to whatever strikes your fancy. The view from the rooftop bar might not be as scenic as the view from bars such as the Queen of Hoxton, but I personally love the industrial atmosphere and the place is less well known and therefore a lot less crowded as well. Also, you can go there during the day to just work and have a cup of coffee and then stay for an afterwork drink. And the best thing is they do student discount! 30% off to be exact! So if you’re a student, this place is seriously cheap. In terms of drinks and food, I got tortilla chips with salsa and guac and then an ‘aromatic G&T’ which had basil and strawberry in it. And later on a cup of tea to warm up. Sipping on my G&T and catching up with a friend, I reminisced about the adventures of the last two days and thought about how King’s Cross and Euston have so much more to offer than I initially assumed. Who needs Hackney and Shoreditch? All jokes aside, King’s Cross and Euston are home to some amazing cafés, bars, restaurants and galleries and are areas that are definitely underrated and deserve more exploring. Thanks to this collaboration, I discovered my love for basil and strawberry G&Ts and tried a lot of mouthwatering food and drinks. And learned about Charles Dickens’ marriage. All in all, two very successful days of exploring.
What are your favourite spots in King’s Cross and Euston? xx