This August, King’s Cross and Coal Drops Yard are celebrating the last bank holiday of 2020 with a host of cultural events and activities to be enjoyed in the Great Outdoors.
From alfresco workouts and shopping markets, to art and design installations, there is something for everyone this long weekend.
Soak up some sun … relax on the grass covered Canalside Steps, one of the best sunspots in the capital with a blissful view of the Regent’s Canal. The much-loved steps have become the oh-so instagrammable Lollypop Lounge, with 12 giant ice lollies melting into the grass, all positioned to help everyone keep a safe social distance. The virtual ‘Pools’ at Granary Square, is a striking installation taking over Granary Square and the latest artwork from award-winning German artist Stephan Zirwes. Or explore the area’s 26 acres of green and open spaces (13 football pitches worth) including the Gasholder park, Camley Street natural park, Pancras Square, Lewis Cubitt park and many more.
Get arty… and feast on free and immersive arts, with one of the largest collections of outdoor art anywhere in London. The Outside Art Project, an outdoor art gallery currently hosting an exhibition from The Photographers’ Gallery, ‘Games We Play‘. This playful, summer-themed photography exhibition captures the joys of summer with a witty and subversive lens. London street artist Andy Leek, best known for his ‘Notes to Strangers’ is using King’s Cross as his canvas. His artworks are to be discovered throughout King’s Cross, and aim to bring a smile and spread a message of optimism and positivity after lockdown. In Coal Drops Yard, you’ll find an explosion of colour with the ‘Pattern Portraits’ installation from artist Lauren Godfrey. The artwork was created during lockdown in collaboration with students from Central St Martins, and participants from STORE store, a local initiative that helps young people get into creative arts courses.
Shop a different way… with an entirely unique shopping experience at Coal Drops Yard, London’s best open-air and completely traffic-free shopping district. The area, known for its independent craftspeople and brands, is where Victorian heritage and contemporary architecture collide in an extraordinary canal-side setting.
Visitors can also enjoy Canopy Market, currently located in Coal Drop’s Yard, with a line-up of some of London’s best local produce, craft, art, fashions and homewares.
Eat Out… as King’s Cross is home to some of the city’s best-known and loved bars and restaurants. It is also one of the best places to eat alfresco in London, such as Lina Stores which is ready to transport you to Italy with its new al fresco space Lina in Piazza. Now is your chance to experience some of the most exclusive eateries without their famous queues, as culinary hot spots including Barrafina and Dishoom open reservations for the first time. Summer just isn’t summer without ice cream. Luckily Ruby Violet is here with its lip-smacking frozen delights. Everything is fresh, organic and made just up the road at Tufnell Park.
Check out our pick of the top summer events taking place at King’s Cross – or find out more about the whole programme here: https://www.kingscross.co.uk/greatoutdoors
- Lollypop Lounge: The much-loved Canalside Steps in Granary Square at King’s Cross have been turned into the Lollypop Lounge featuring 12 giant ice lollies which are melting into the grass. Head to Granary Square and you’ll see that the steps have been dotted with stripey deckchairs and oversized colour-pop ice-lollies all positioned to help everyone keep a safe social distance. It’s the perfect spot to soak up the sun and watch the activity on the canal. (Until 31 Aug, Canalside Steps)
- Stephan Zirwes ‘Pools’: The best way to feel cool and stay safe this summer? Jump into the ‘Pools’ at King’s Cross, the latest artwork from award-winning German artist Stephan Zirwes. The striking installation is taking over Granary Square – best known for its one thousand dancing-fountains – and creates a place for safe and responsible summer fun. The two pools each span the length and width of one of the iconic Granary Square fountain bays and sit alongside other playful installations across King’s Cross, including a 2D maze, a giant word search and a series of hopscotch paths to be discovered across the estate. (Unitl 31 Aug, Granary Square)
- Alfesco eating at King’s Cross: Your favourite bars, restaurants and cafes are open, with improved outdoor seating and heated terraces where you can meet for lunch, brunch, coffee or cocktails – all in the calm, traffic-free spaces of King’s Cross. There’s also 26 acres of open, outdoor space at King’s Cross, including peaceful parks and the Canalside Steps, and new outdoor public seating in place throughout Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square, making King’s Cross the ideal place for a socially-distanced meal or meet-up. Some of the most exclusive eateries like Barrafina and Dishoom known for their famous queues, are also now open for reservations. (Various locations)
- Andy Leek: Notes to Strangers: King’s Cross has partnered with renowned street artist Andy Leek to deliver a summer of public art that will bring positivity and fun to the 67-acre estate. Widely recognised for Notes To Strangers – his hand-written notes which appear across London to deliver unexpected and uplifting messages to passers-by, Andy has been given the entire King’s Cross estate to use as his canvas during a three-month residency. His first installation, ‘This Much’, takes the form of 28 outstretched arms with messages of hope and love between them inspired by the social distancing guidelines we have all followed for the last few months, including a landmark 40-metre installation in eye catching laser-cut mirrored stainless steel taking over Battle Bridge Place. (Until 9 September 2020, various locations)
- Games we play: Games We Play is a new exhibition from The Photographers’ Gallery, capturing the joys of summer with a witty and subversive lens. Featuring the work of photographers Julie Cockburn, Luke Stephenson and Weronika Gęsicka, expect dripping ice cream cones embellished with rainbow-bright hundreds-and-thousands, 1940s bathers, a joy-filled celebration of retro pastimes, and lots of sunkissed fun. Games We Play is the first exhibition for The Outside Art Project, a free, permanent outdoor gallery space in Kings Cross – one of the largest in London. (Until 1 Nov, various locations)
- Canopy Market: The ever-popular Canopy Market has moved for the summer, and will now be located in Coal Drop’s Yard, London’s best open-air shopping and dining district. The area, known for its independent craftspeople and brands, is where Victorian heritage and contemporary architecture collide in an extraordinary canal-side setting creating the perfect home for the alfresco market. (Until 6 September, Coal Drops Yard)
- Lauren Godfrey: Pattern Portraits: Coal Drops Yard has come to life with post-COVID patterned flags stretching between the iconic roofs of Coal Drops Yard to form a giant quilt in the sky. The installation ‘Pattern Portraits’ was created during lockdown in collaboration with students from Central St Martins, and participants from STORE store, a local initiative that helps young people get into creative arts courses. Each flag is an abstract portrait, created in isolation and reflecting young creatives during COVID. After the installation, the 100% organic flags will be recycled into a limited edition run of clothing with all proceeds going into funding creative arts courses. (Until 1 Nov, Coal Drops Yard)
- Eva Rothschild: My world and your world: Head to the top of Lewis Cubitt Park and you’ll find this striking new sculpture by artist Eva Rothschild. My World and Your World is crafted from steel and stands at a colossal 16-metres tall. My World and Your World is the artist’s first permanent commission in London, and the first permanent artwork at King’s Cross. Rothschild describes the piece as a ‘social sculpture’, an invitation to explore the park, and a place at which to meet friends, have a play or a picnic. (Permanent, Lewis Cubitt Park)