How to walk from King’s Cross Station to Society Building

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.

Rear of Kings Cross
Rear of Kings Cross
Kings' Boulevard
King’s Boulevard

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).

Top of King's Boulevard
Top of King’s Boulevard
Head this way to Society Building
Head this way to Society Building
Steps down to the canal
Steps down to the canal

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.

 

King's Place
King’s Place
Word on the Water
Word on the Water bookshop
King's Place, right
King’s Place, right
London Canal Museum moorings
London Canal Museum moorings
Water 4 Woofs
Water 4 Woofs
Nesting areas
Nesting areas

IMG_2056

Society Building
Society Building
Thornhill Bridge
Thornhill Bridge
Wildlife along the canal
Wildlife along the canal

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.)

Thornhill Bridge Community Garden
Thornhill Bridge Community Garden
Looking back along the canal from Thornhill Bridge, Society Building on the left
Looking back along the canal from Thornhill Bridge, Society Building 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.

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Karl Wilding Karl Wilding, Director of Public Policy and Volunteering, leads NCVO's volunteering, policy, research and campaigning work in the UK and internationally. With lead responsibility for shaping the external environment for the voluntary sector, he blogs about the big issues facing voluntary organisations.

3 Responses to How to walk from King’s Cross Station to Society Building

  1. Tom Baker says:

    And if you’re in a real hurry to get here – there is a ‘quick’ route if you’re coming via the Victoria or Piccadilly Lines.

    Follow the signs to the Pentonville Road exit, leave the station and take a right up Pentonville Road, cross at the traffic lights go up Northdown Street, and the turn right up Caledonian Road.

    But its not a nice as the walk down the canal…

  2. Mrs Marian Maclean Ives says:

    This is a great route for able bodied people to follow but how about a little thought to be given to all the people with disability that NCVO is championing and who have a need to visit the NCVO Building for any reason?

    • Karl Wilding Karl Wilding says:

      Good point, Marian. The Kings Cross redevelopment area, including Granary Square (the entrance) has been designed using an accessibility and inclusivity strategy, which specifically states that the canal towpath has been an underused resource because of stepped access (which used to be only next to the bridge next to King’s Place). It then says ‘The Regent’s Canal [should] be better connected with the development through alterations to the existing levels within the public space in front of the Granary and around the relocated gas holders … together with several other access points between the relocated gas holders and Maiden Lane bridge, breaking down this existing barrier to permeability and access.’

      I’m think I’ve seen that the towpath is wheelchair accessible, but I’ll check on my way home tonight. The exit to the towpath is definitely wheelchair accessible though. Thornhill Garden Bridge (the exit) definitely has both steps and a wheelchair ramp. I’ll try and add some more pics.

      One final thought – if I am right about wheelchair access, this might actually be a more accessible way to get to Society Building than via York Way or Caledonian Road, which are busy, sometimes narrow, beset by roadworks and not blessed with many dropped kerbs.