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King is very cross indeed
Kings Cross Station
Member Name: spacelamb
Kings Cross Station
Date: 13/03/01, updated on 13/03/01 (930 review reads)
Advantages: good transport links (when they actually run)
Disadvantages: it's just...grim
In spite of its Harry Potter connections, Kings Cross station is not a nice place to be. And a quick safety note: if muggles run headlong into the gate between platforms 9 and 10, it just hurts. Erase from your mind images of yourself sailing out of the station on the Hogwarts Express, mouth full of every-flavour beans and pocket full of small rodents. Platform nine and three-quarters does not exist.
But don't be disheartened. There are plenty of other exciting things to do. Within the station itself, you could...um...buy a newspaper, or an overpriced and papery croissant. If you dare to venture outside the station, you can buy a number of class A and B drugs, or a middle-aged prostitute. As Blind Date's Graham would say, the decision is yours.
Nah, frankly, I would leave the absolute minimum amount of time required to buy your ticket and board your train. Not only is Kings Cross station (and its surrounds) the pits, it is also the gateway to The North, so you will clearly want to delay your journey as long as possible. In fact I would recommend that you think long and hard about whether the journey is necessary at all. They talk funny up there you know, and they're all covered in soot (for all those born north of Watford, you'll find the commentary section at the bottom of the article).
Here is some real, actual information.
Firstly, more often than not, trains are delayed (both departures and arrivals).
National rail services out of Kings Cross go as far as Scotland and are run either by GNER (fast but expensive) or WAGN (cheap, but slightly slower than an average milk float). The station is confusingly split into two sections for each rail company, so allow an extra five minutes dashing time (just run towards the left and you'll get there eventually) if your train is run by WAGN. Suburban lines also run through the station, including the cross-city Thameslink.
Kings Cross tube station is th
e best-connected in the city, linking six lines (Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City). However, London Underground are currently replacing a lot of the escalators there, which means you can only actually use the station between something like 06:40 and 06:42 on alternate Tuesdays (as long as you're wearing odd socks and have a pyramid teabag about your person as formal identification).
There is a disproportionate number of undesirables per square metre at Kings Cross so it pays to be a bit careful. However, this can also work in your favour. My boyfriend once found £80 in an envelope on the floor on a road adjacent to the station, and didn't have to feel in the least bit guilty about keeping it because he could be 99% certain that it was someone else's ill-gotten gains.
Other plus points about Kings Cross (and I have really drained my brain on this one) include the proximity of Euston station (tube / trains from the midlands), which is only a five minute walk; of the British Library, which is a less-than-five-minute walk; of Camden Town, which is, er, not all that far; and of Islington High Street (get off at Angel on the northern line), which has a plethora of cute boutiques, cafes and bars.
In conclusion: if your journey is for any other purpose than to visit an extremely wealthy and poorly aunt, stay at home with a cup of hot Ribena and watch a repeat of The League of Gentlemen.
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