Sunday, 13 March 2011

Hanging out at St Pancras Station

Having arrived early at St Pancras station in London, I've got some time to kill before I board a Eurostar train to Brussels and I thought I'd make the most of it by sharing some useful tips for anyone who visits the station.

Being a frequent visitor to London, my regular train from Cambridge actually arrives at King's Cross. However, I spend as little time as possible at that station, preferring to wait for my return journey just over the road at the capital's international terminal.  No doubt that will change when King's Cross completes its own refurbishment and redesign and becomes more passenger-friendly.  In the meantime, St Pancras with its open concourse, free wi-fi and a wide array of eateries is the place to be for travellers who find themselves in this vicinity.

But I'm a fussy old blogger and am not happy just hanging out in any old establishment.  One of the reasons I love this station is the place that I am sat right now:  The Sourced Market deli.

Located opposite the National Rail Ticket office and Starbucks - towards the back of the station - it's only a very short walk for the side entrance to King's Cross.  Not only does it serve great food and coffee, but it ensures that everything is sourced responsibly and in tune with the seasons.  The company also takes great pride in promoting local produce from London and surrounding counties.  It has a great mini-market for those who are in a rush to pick up something for their journey, plus an informal area to while away the time with a deli meal.

And if you're in the need to check your emails or browse the Internet, it offers a very strong signal to free wi-fi. (log onto St Pancras Wi-Fi for access).

Of course the other reason why I tend to make St Pancras my first port of call on any visit to London, is its fabulous free facilities.  It's always puzzled me that it costs 30p for the privilege of using the toilets at King's Cross, when over the road at this more modern station it's in fact gratis! 

But don't trek all the way to the more centrally located loos in the middle of station.  Instead, take my most useful top tip so far... If you find yourself in need, beat the long queues and head to the the back of the station where you'll find almost instant access to alternative facilities that are located next to Left Luggage.

You'll find they're the nearest to Sourced Market too, so you could always drop back for a coffee when passing.

It's been great having a chance to chill before getting onto the train for Brussels, but for now I have to scoot.  There's no doubt though that I'll be back at this same spot when I return tomorrow....à bientôt mes amis.