The complete guide to staying in King’s Cross as a family

King’s Cross is a great location for all the family. Well, we were going to say that weren’t we, but when you stay with us in our Family Rooms at Megaro we also want you to find out for yourself how true it really is.

From great attractions and activities to perfect places to eat and drink, King’s Cross has it all – and we have some handy hints to get you to the best of them all. We’ve also compiled a bit of information you might need whilst spending time with children in King’s Cross.

The all-important info

First of all, getting around. Paying for public transport in London can sound complicated, especially when people start taking randomly about Oysters! Who needs complicated, especially when travelling with kids?
Mercifully, it’s not actually that tricky. What you really need to know is that kids aged between 11 and 15 are entitled to a Young Visitor discount and don’t need what’s known as a Zip Oyster photo card if you’re just on holiday.

You can get their discount set up on a Visitor Oyster card or a normal Oyster and then they (or, more specifically, you) can then pay half the adult-rate for them for up to two weeks. You can get the discount set up at Tube stations, ticket offices at TfL Rail stations, and Visitor Centres.

Under 11s get to travel free on the DLR, Tube, TfL Rail and London Overground if they’re with a paying adult and they can always go free on trams and London buses, whether with an adult or not. For the complete lowdown on travelling in London via the Tube, check out our London Underground: King’s Cross St. Pancras and beyond post, along with our guide to mastering London buses from King’s Cross.

The booze question

These days, most pubs will allow children of 16 and under in with an adult, but this isn’t always the case so check if you’re unsure.

Under UK law, it’s illegal to buy alcohol if you’re under 18 – or to even try and buy it. It’s also against the law for adults to buy it for them.

It’s illegal for under-18s to drink booze in licensed premises, whether a restaurant or a pub, although there are exceptions. If you’ve got a 16 or 17-year-old with you and they’re having a meal with at least one adult, they can drink beer, cider or wine with their meal (although, they’re still not allowed to buy it!).

It’s generally fine for kids to hang out with their parents in pubs during the day, but in the evenings due to the more lively atmosphere it’s fairly common for pubs to impose a minimum age limit after dark. It’s at the pub’s discretion, however, so you will have to wait until nightfall to find out if it’s time to head back to our King’s Cross hotel for a quick bite at Karpo instead.

You tell you more about the local family friendly pubs in the area in our ultimate guide to King’s Cross pubs.

Megaro---family-rooms

Stay safe and have fun

So, you’ve been out for a meal and a few drinks and now it’s time to head on ‘home’ to Megaro. How safe will you be wandering around at night (or even during the day)?

Fortunately, King’s Cross and London in general is far from being unsafe but there are things you should do in any capital city to keep safe. These include only using registered minicabs or taxis and sticking to well-lit areas as much as possible if you’re walking around.

Don’t spark a security alert by leaving bags unattended and make sure your valuables aren’t on show. Teenagers will just have to put their smart phones away and talk to you for once!

Where to go

There’s always plenty going on in King’s Cross, from changing exhibitions at the British Library, to summer time mobile SNUG soft play for tots in Lewis Cubitt Park.

Whatever the season, there’s Platform 9¾. The platform at King’s Cross Station is a must for Harry Potter fans of all ages.

You won’t be able to get on the Hogwarts Express but you will be able to spend a fortune in The Harry Potter shop! Don’t worry, we won’t mind if you bring the kids back to Megaro all wearing wizard robes.

If you’ve got active kids who need to let off some steam during the day, there are lots of outdoor playgrounds and parks near King’s Cross – and many of them are free. Take the Outdoor Sports Pitch, which you can book for free at the King’s Cross Visitor centre at the Western Transit Shed in Stable Street.

If your kids like to make a splash, Granary Square has fountains aplenty to have fun in when the weather is good. For colder days, there’s a leisure centre at Five Pancras Square.

You can pay as you play for a swim in either the 25-metre main pool or the children’s pool. The kids’ one is more fun… It has water cannons, jets, a bubble pool and toys!

The leisure centre is open between 6.30am and 10pm on weekdays and between 8am and 8pm on weekends. To find out more head to our King’s Cross gyms and fitness classes post. Or if you’d prefer to romp in the wilderness, our guide to playgrounds and parks near King’s Cross has you covered.

An attractive proposition

When it comes to attractions, you really are spoilt for choice. Don’t just take our word for it, have a look at just a few of the things that should be of interest to families with kids.

The House of Illustration regularly hosts exhibitions aimed at young adults and children (with Quentin Blake of Roald Dhal fame as the patron you would expect so!), or head to the British Library on Euston Road for some literary fun. Slightly further afield is the Museum of London, home to many half term or holiday festivals for children, and leading London arts centre The Barbican has a kid’s cinema club and regular events suitable for young adults.

Scout around for free activities (there’s no shortage) but many venues offer decent discounts for children even if you do have to pay. Having said that, the Barbican LSO concert, which is suitable for seven-to-12-year-olds, is one price fits all. Seats are £10 each, whoever you choose to take or wherever you choose to sit.

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House of Illustration website

British Library website

For food and drink

Telling you where to eat or drink is a bit like telling you what our favourite foods are; it’s a subjective business! What we can do, however, is point you in the direction of the venues we like and that consistently get good family-friendly ratings from previous guests of our King’s Cross hotel.

Amongst the most popular restaurant choices for families in King’s Cross are the Grain Store in on Granary Square, gourmet burger restaurant Honest Burgers on Pentonville Road, Caravan King’s Cross at 1 Granary Square, and the Bombay café Dishoom on Stable Street. We cover them all in more detail in our guide to family friendly restaurants near King’s Cross your kids will love.

Canal 125 overlooking Regents Canal on York Way is often rated for both its pub atmosphere and family-friendly-eating, whilst Kings Place deserves a mention for being an all-round entertainment destination. Also located on York Way, the venue has music auditoriums and an art gallery, as well as bars and eateries. There’s also outside seating by the canal to enjoy if you strike it lucky with the weather.

Grain Store website

Caravan website

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