One of London’s best kept secrets
It’s roughy a 10 minute walk from the front of King’s Cross station to Society Building – home to NCVO, ACEVO, Bond, Peta and The Churches Conservation Trust – if you walk the quickest way. The quickest way is probably via York Way and/or Pentonville Road, which is fine, but it’s a bit crowded at the best of times, plus there’s a few crossings to negotiate and traffic fumes to contend with.
If you’ve got an extra 5 minutes, there’s a nicer route via Regent’s Canal, maintained by NCVO member The Canal and River Trust. According to the Trust, Regent’s Canal is one of London’s best kept secrets. So, here’s how to walk secretly from King’s Cross or St Pancras stations to Society Building.
Start at the rear of Kings Cross station
The King’s Cross area has completely changed. The starting point is to walk to the rear of the lovely new glazed section of King’s Cross, towards Platform 9 3/4, and outside into the square. You’ll see the rear entrance to St Pancras Station in front of you. Look right, and walk up King’s Boulevard to the canal. This takes a couple of minutes.
Once you get to the top of the boulevard, you’re at Granary Square, home to the University of the Arts London as well as numerous places to eat and drink. As you face Granary Square, with your back to King’s Cross, the direction you need to walk along the canal is right. The easiest way to access the towpath though are the steps to your left. Once you are on the towpath, turn left and head towards Islington (the opposite way goes to Camden).
Walk along the towpath till you get to Thornhill Bridge
It’s a bit grey today, but the highlights/landmarks include the canal bookshop, King’s Place (home to The Guardian and NCVO member Esmee Fairburn Foundation amongst others), moorings around the London Canal Museum and of course the wildlife along the canal. It’s at most a 10 minute walk.
Leave through the gate at Thornhill Bridge
Hopefully you’ll have seen Society Building on the other side of the canal; just after is Thornhill Bridge, where you exit just before though a gate and a community garden. There’s a sign for the Canal Museum too. At the top of the steps turn right, cross over the canal, and the next right is All Saints Street, where you’ll immediately come to Society Building. (In the picture below, Society Building is the second building down on the left.)
It’s a lovely walk at most times of the year, and if you are likely to find yourself in a long meeting or conference it’s a brilliant way to start, or indeed end, the day.
And who should we be thanking for this?
For the sort of people likely to be reading this blog, do I really need to say? You wont be surprised to hear that local volunteers are responsible. Will Perrin, a local champion of the Kings Cross area (when he is not doing a million other things to advance our sector), has pointed out that Lisa Tang is a local hero who has has led other volunteers to do so much to shape the area. Head over to the Kings Cross Environment blog to read a bit more.
Thank you, Lisa.