Skip the hot and sticky public transport and get on your bike!
The best way to explore the sights and sounds of King’s Cross is on two wheels. Spend some time discovering the area, and then venture further afield along the canal towpath.
Hire a bike with Santander Cycles
If you don’t have your own wheels, then pick up a bike at one of the Santander Cycle stations – London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme. You can hire a bike from as little as £2, and there’s no need to book in advance. Simply go to any docking station with your bank card, and touch the screen to get started.
At King’s Cross, there are over 50 bikes available to hire. The docking stations are located on Goods Way (next to the zebra crossing) and on Handyside Street (next to the Platform Theatre). There are a further five stations just a short stroll away.
You can find all the Santander docking stations on the handy map at Transport for London. Or download the King’s Cross Cycle App, where you can view public cycle parking, hire stations and cycle initiatives in the area.
The first 30 minutes of each journey on a Santander bike is free, and the price increases by £2 every additional 30 minutes. To keep your day out purse-friendly, dock your bike at each location, go explore and then rent new bikes for the next leg!
There are docking stations every 300 to 500 metres, and there’s always plenty to discover. Explore Regent’s Canal, green spaces such as Camley Street Natural Park, the Skip Garden, or dock seconds away from some of the best bars and restaurants in London.
Cover serious miles on a Brompton Bike
For longer journeys, Brompton Bike hire is ideal. Hiring a Brompton is easy: simply sign up online and reserve a bike via web, SMS or app. Punch your unique code into the dock, unfold your bike, and away you go! Best of all, bikes can be folded and taken on Tubes, trains and buses and left back to any Brompton hire dock across the country.
Bike from King’s Cross to Regent’s Park…and back again
The best way to explore the area is from the Regent’s Canal towpath. This charming waterway is something of a hidden gem, with its ivy-clad walls and rich bird life.
Start at the bike hire station on Good’s Way and make your way down to the towpath via the ramp behind The Lighterman restaurant. Turn right to cycle along the path, after the canalside steps at Granary Square, you’ll pass Coal Drops Yard, the new shopping district at the heart of King’s Cross. There are more than 50 shops and restaurants here in a gorgeous alfresco setting.
Look out for Viewpoint, the art installation on the water’s edge at Camley Street Natural Park. Take in the scene at St Pancras Lock with its sweet lock keepers cottage and colourful narrowboats.
Rising above the skyline to the right, you’ll see the cast iron columns of Gasholder No. 8. The beautifully tranquil Gasholder Park is set within the imposing frame.
Continue along the towpath, passing the ‘Con in Camden’ mural – street art by local school children on the wall of The Constitution Pub. Beyond Camden Lock, the path passes through Camden Market. The market borders the canal and spills out onto the path itself, the stalls featuring quirky clothing and ethnic jewellery.
Leaving the market behind, the towpath sweeps towards London Zoo. You won’t spot many animals, but you’ll at least see the 80-foot Snowdon Aviary. This unusual spiky structure was considered super modernist when it was designed in 1965.
Further along, you’ll pass through the northern edges of Regent’s Park. Clusters of cheerfully painted houseboats are moored along the banks. Hop off at Lisson Grove and take the steep steps that lead to Little Venice, or retrace your route to head back to King’s Cross.
Once back, cool off with a delicious ice cream at Ruby Violet, and quench your thirst in The Lighterman, with great views across the canal. Or head to Parrillan at Coal Drops Yard – the alfresco terrace restaurant and bar. You’ll find the full listing of bars and restaurants in the area here.
If you fancy cycling in the other direction, the path leads to Islington and Hackney, before reaching Limehouse Basin. The East End is much greener than people imagine, and the canal is at the heart of a vibrant cultural scene. You’ll pass many independent art galleries, workshops and studios along the route.