Category Archives: Things to do

THE CLASSIC CAR BOOT SALE AT KING’S CROSS
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This weekend 9th and 10th September The Classic Car Boot Sale returns to King’s Cross, London.

“Forget what you think you know about car boot sales: ruinously early starts; dodgy bacon butties; polystyrene cups of tea; rain-swept fields; dingy-haired humans stomping around in dirty tracksuits; banged-up Fiestas touting toot…Instead, picture vintage vehicles and retro treasure.” – mrandmrssmith.com

The finest vintage fashion, accessories and homeware traders operating from the boot of their vintage vehicles alongside a show stopping exhibit of classic cars, London’s finest street food wagons, impromptu musical performances, street theatre and all manner of vintage fun that can be had on two and four wheels!

It’s definitely not to be missed during your stay with us in King’s Cross, and is just across the street.

We recommend a hearty brunch at Megaro Eatery to set you up for the day, but of course there are other options!

The King’s Cross Classic Car Boot Sale is on the 9th and 10th September, from 10am until 6pm. Tickets are available on the door for £5.  More details are available HERE.

GIN MASTERCLASS: EAST LONDON LIQUOR COMPANY AT MEGARO BAR
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We’ve partnered with East London Liquor Company to bring you a Gin Masterclass on Tuesday 12th September right here in King’s Cross.

Few beverages are as synonymous with historic London as gin. For good or ill, it’s been the Capital’s tipple since the 1700’s. Megaro Bar has not been here quite that long, but we still enjoy a good gin, and have been  keenly pushing the London gin revival in recent years.

East London Liquor Company opened in an ex-glue factory in July 2014, the first gin, vodka and whisky distillery in East London for over a century. They focus on top quality ingredients, traditional distillation methods and innovation, all of which come through in their ever growing portfolio.

Want to join us?

Tickets for our Gin Masterclass are available now at £18 per person. East London Liquor Company will give an informative and engaging talk about their gin, the distillation process and the botanicals involved. In addition to tastings the ticket price includes 4 gin based cocktails and some snacks. The event will last approximately two hours. Please click HERE to book your place, places are strictly limited.

 

East London Liquor Company: All About The Gin

The East London Liquor Company signature London Dry Gin is distilled using the finest 100% British wheat spirit both vapour and direct infused with fresh lemon & grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cubeb berries and cardamom. The bright, fresh flavours of the citrus and juniper give way to the spiciness of the cubeb berries and cardamom, making this an excellent gin & tonic spirit, topped off with a wedge of lime.

East London Liquor Company Premium Gin Batch No. 1 has a quintessentially British note added by the inclusion of Darjeeling tea. It’s distilled from 100% British wheat spirit along with juniper berries, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit peel and cubeb berries. Whether in a Darjeeling gin sour or served neat, the spices work with the fresh grapefruit to tame the tea’s tannins,
offering a balanced yet dry taste.

East London Liquor Company Premium Gin Batch No. 2 has a distinctive herbaceous and savoury profile. Distilled from 100% British wheat spirit and infused with juniper berries, coriander seeds, orris root, angelica root, lemon peel, thyme, winter savoury, fennel seeds, sage, bay leaf and lavender, we had a typical English herb garden in mind when creating the recipe -perfectly served in a negroni or wet martini.

Launched in January 2016, East London Liquor Company release their gin aged in various wood finishes throughout the year. The launch featured their signature London Dry Gin aged in new French oak barrels for 14 weeks. The casks imparted the classic vanilla and dried fruit notes found in bourbon, while complementing and enhancing the botanicals of the gin, particularly its cardamom notes. Classically drunk neat, it also makes for a distinctive Negroni.

 

 

 

Please note: Attendees must be over 18 year of age, it’s not Victorian times anymore!

KING’S CROSS CREATIVE QUARTER – A CELEBRATION OF DESIGN
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design junction (21- 24 September) is delighted to present King’s Cross Creative Quarter (KXCQ), a celebration of cultural, culinary and creative activities during the London Design Festival (LDF).

The King’s Cross Creative Quarter brings together pop-up design events, spectacular architecture and the best places to eat, drink, shop and stay during the London Design Festival, taking place between 21 – 24 September 2017.

In recent years King’s Cross has firmly established itself as London’s premier design hub. During the London Design Festival, King’s Cross plays home to a number of cutting-edge exhibitions, installations and events. You can find more information on the King’s Cross events on the official website here.

Download the King’s Cross Creative Quarter guide here

Now in its second year, KXCQ brings together a vibrant collection of pop-up design events,
exhibitions and stunning architectural installations as well as all the best places to eat,
drink, shop and stay at King’s Cross during the LDF.
Will Sorrell, Event Director of designjunction added, “Following the success of the King’s
Cross Creative Quarter during last year’s show, we’re thrilled that the celebration returns
this September, bringing together visitors from all over the globe.

With the plethora of inspiring design, architecture, culinary delights and retail hot spots
that are on offer it’s a great location to be, and even better that it’s all situated within just
a one-mile radius of King’s Cross.”

For full details on the full London Design Festival, with events happening all over London, check out the website here.

If you want to follow along on social media you can look for #LDF17 and #KXCQ

RUN KING’S CROSS
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During their stay with us at the Megaro Hotel or The California, many guests like to keep up their daily running habit, and it’s a great way to discover the King’s Cross & St Pancras neighbourhood.

Run KX is a free running club which meets at King’s Cross. The 5km run is guided by seasoned personal trainer Martin Whitelock, and is suitable for all abilities – from newbies to seasoned marathon runners.The Monday session starts at 12.15pm and meets at Granary Square. The routes are relatively light, approximately 5km, and should take no more than 45 minutes. If you are an absolute beginner – don’t worry! Runners of similar ability will be grouped together, and you can also take a shorter route if you like.The route is designed to give you a flavour of this exciting part of London, taking you through urban landscapes, parks and waterways. See London from a different angle, socialise, get fit and have fun.Run KX meets on Monday at 12.15pm at Granary Square, King’s Cross. There is also a run on Wednesdays at 6pm.Forgot your running gear?  Nike King’s Cross is conveniently located across the street on Granary Square too.

For more details and local knowledge please ask the team at reception.

PRODUCE: OZONE COFFEE
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Our produce is vitally important to us here at The Megaro Eatery. We always source the best ingredients and produce, and we love to work with local suppliers where we can. Our coffee is no exception and we are proud to serve King’s Cross with what we consider to be some of the best: Ozone Empire Espresso blend.

Ozone Coffee Roasters started out in 1998 in a small New Zealand surf town. Since then, New Zealand’s coffee culture has revolutionized the global coffee market with new styles and new approaches to the process. Ozone have also moved a little closer to us, now roasting and serving their coffee over on Leonard Street, just off Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout.

Our go-to morning coffee hit at Megaro Eatery is the rather excellent Empire blend. Ozone’s flagship espresso blend has constantly evolved over the years but the goal has always stayed the same – pack as much sweetness, chocolate & caramel into an espresso as possible, along with the most, rich, smooth silky body achievable. The components change throughout the year in-line with the availability of fresh crop but Ozone work hard to maintain the taste profile & quality in the cup. Empire is a trusty friend that we know we can count on time & again.

Empire is the name of the first café that offered this blend in New Plymouth, NZ, hometown to Ozone. It’s central to the Ozone story, and a foundation of their own empire. It’s a bright and zingy espresso blend with nougat, malt and orange notes. The beans that go into this fabulous elixir come from Brazil, Guatemala, Colombia and Ethiopia before being roasted and blended here in London.

If you like the beans as much as we do, you’ll be happy to know that you can buy them direct from Ozone, and if you want to dig deeper and learn how to make that perfect cup at home they offer semi-regular courses at Leonard Street. That should help make your stay with us in King’s Cross go with a zing!

BASTILLE DAY AT MEGARO EATERY
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We’re a truly international team here and we’ll be celebrating Bastille Day at Karpo Grill.

To help your celebrations along simply say “Vive La France!” when ordering any meal from lunchtime onwards and we’ll give you a complimentary Kir Royale!

Want to be sure you can join us on Bastille Day?  Click HERE to book a table or call us on 020 7843 2221

Offer available from 12 noon, 1 free drink per customer, available only with meals ordered at lunch or dinner on July 14th 2017 at The Megaro Eatery.

Happy Summer at the Megaro Bar
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 Happy Summer at the Megaro Bar

The Megaro Bar is our underground oasis from the hustle of King’s Cross. Sit back and relax with our mix of cocktail classics, unusual wonders, fine wines and global spirits, all served in the ambience of the prohibition era.

In celebration of summer we’ve curated a special cocktail menu that showcases our sunshine favourites.

Tuesday: Aperol Spritz

Aperol  •  Prosecco  •  Franklin Soda

Wednesday: Cointreau Fizz

Cointreau  •  Green Tea  •  Peppermint  •  Franklin Ginger Ale

 

Thursday: Naked Grouse Sour

Naked Grouse  •  Lemon Juice  •  Egg White

Friday:  Tatanka by Zubrowka

Zubrowka  •  Apple Juice  • Lemon Juice

Saturday: Apple Cooler by Sailor Jerry

Sailor Jerry  •  Apple Juice  •  Ginger  •  Lemon Juice  •  Soda

We often curate special events at the Megaro Bar so please follow us on Instagram and Facebook @megarobar for all the latest happenings.

Interested in creating your own special event? Why not hire the Megaro Bar?

Please contact our events team for further details.

9 MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR EXPERIENCING LONDON ON A BUDGET
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Everyone assumes that a trip to the Big Smoke will always be expensive – after all, England’s capital city is known to be one of the priciest in the world. However, as with all travel destinations, it’s more than possible to discover a low cost London that exists alongside the swanky and overpriced version! The trick lies in being organised, clever and being prepared to be flexible. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll find you can enjoy a superb visit for a fraction of the price.

Here, we share some of our favourite tips gleaned from years of living, working and welcoming visitors to the Capital and our King’s Cross b&b.

1. Be flexible

One of the most important things to get right when visiting London on a budget is to get accommodation sorted without paying a premium. Firstly, be flexible. Where possible, don’t book breaks during peak price periods such as school holidays, Christmas, or major events such as the London Marathon. Demand at these times rockets and prices do the same.

If you can, including ‘shoulder’ days such as Sundays or Mondays in your booking. These automatically attract a lower price as they tend to be less popular with both business and leisure weekender customers. Sundays especially tend to attract the cheapest rates, and you’ll find that hotels tend to offer discounts if you book a slightly longer stay which incorporates a Sunday and / or a Monday.

2. Book direct

Here at our King’s Cross b&b we always save our best offers for guests who book direct, and we’re not alone either. When you’ve got a shortlist of hotels, check out each individual website and look for their offers section. You’ll often find that the direct route pays off, with the provider keen to offer deals that keep you away from online travel agents. This is because sites such as Booking.com charge the accommodation a commission fee – and they are more inclined to pass that saving onto the customer and gain some loyalty.

If you can’t see any great offers, be brave and call up the hotel reservations team to ask if they will strike a deal with you for booking directly. You’ll be amazed at how often the direct approach works, especially if the hotel needs to book up final rooms at short notice.

Also, sign up to newsletters for deals and promotions. The California has its own newsletter, which includes flash sales and first dibs on our latest offers (plus a competition or two), so it’s well worth staying in the loop.

Read more: Book direct and save 15%

Book direct and save 15% at The California King's Cross b&b

3. Book far in advance

Generally speaking, it also pays to book far in advance and you’ll find cheap rates for rooms booked up to a year away, as competition – away from key dates of course – will be minimal. However, avoid booking beyond a year in advance, or you may accidentally pay premium prices because the hotel hasn’t yet adjusted its rates.

Read more: Everything you need to know before you stay at The California London

4. Or super last minute

Alternatively, be brave and book extremely late – if you can cope with the uncertainty of course! Specialist sites, such as HotelTonight, are used by hotels with space to fill at short notice, and there are some great prices on offer. Bear in mind that The California uses this website, so you might just pick up an even more cracking deal than usual!

Read more: The California offers

5. Stay with a neighbour

In terms of locations, look for central London to avoid having to travel too far; you’ll save money on the room by staying out of Zone 1, but will spend it on cabs and public transport.

Whilst you’ll be hard pressed to ever find a budget price in central locations such as Soho, Westminster or Covent Garden, each area has a district nearby which is almost as good but costs way less than its popular neighbour. For example, our King’s Cross locale hasn’t traditionally been a tourist area, but is within easy walking distance of Bloomsbury, Holborn and Covent Garden. This means you’re still able to scoop up a bargain, but aren’t too far away from all the action!

Another good option is choosing a hotel located just south of the river, which has traditionally been less desirable for tourists. However a short walk over the bridge and you land straight into Soho or Westminster, depending on the bridge. Areas such as Lambeth and Waterloo are great options, and you’ll also be super close to Southbank and the Tate Modern during your stay.

A handy tip to bear in mind is to look at central hotels located in business areas at weekends. Those around Canary Wharf, King’s Cross and the ExCel Centre tend to be cheaper at weekends because business people aren’t in town.

Read more: King’s Cross maps

6. Get on your bike

The Tube can rack up cost wise – and don’t even think of getting taxis! Happily, the London Underground now charges the cheapest price for your day journey automatically if you use a contactless debit or credit card; you don’t need an Oyster card if you are simply visiting for the weekend. But there are far less expensive ways to access cheap London! Don a pair of great trainers and walk as much as possible, or get a Boris bike (perhaps we should be calling them Sadiq bikes now?).

You’ll get to see everything, explore at leisure, and save a small fortune. Plus, many of the attractions such as the main shopping areas, entertainment spaces and museum quarter are in a small geographical space, so you can easily get around on foot. The bikes cost a mere £2 for 24 hours and are free if you hire them for less than 30 minutes, so these are great for zipping around on short journeys.

Read more: The best London cycle routes from King’s Cross

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7. Take a DIY bus tour

Another crafty tip is to forget expensive London Bus tours and take the 24, 11 or no.9 bus past the city’s main attractions for the cheapie price of a single fare! Finally, if you must take a cab, try Uber instead of hailing a black cab; you can even sign-up with a discount code to get around £15 free on your first fare. The app tells you estimates for each journey so there’s no guesswork either.

Read more: Everything you need to know about buses from King’s Cross

8. Find a freebie

There are many inexpensive things to do in London. Many of the permanent collections at big museums and galleries are free or work on a donation basis. Head to Bloomsbury for the free British Museum; to Trafalgar Square for the National Portrait Gallery; and up to Knightsbridge for the Science Museum, the V&A and Natural History Museum.

There are plenty of others too and lots of information available. Look out for free permanent collections and check out other interesting destinations such as the British Library. For performances in the West End, look out for short notice cancellation re-sales for an absolute bargain – Timeout  has plenty of useful information and listings.

Read more: The best galleries near King’s Cross

9. Grab some park life

Don’t forget to visit the free – and exceptional – parks, such as Hyde Park, St James’s and Regents Park – all very close to the California. A particularly ‘wow’ park experience is a visit to the Sky Garden, located 155 metres up in one of the City’s skyscrapers, which is free but needs booking in advance. Finally, the big London markets are a great choice for cheap and amazing street food and local produce; Covent Garden, Camden, Columbia Road (the Sunday Flower market has to be experienced), or head to St Martin’s in the Fields for classical music renditions for free!

And if you need any further inspiration for how to experience London on a budget, check out the rest of our King’s Cross blog pages.

Read more: How to get from King’s Cross to Hyde Park and our favourite green spaces

EXPERIENCE THE VICTORY ROOM
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Experience the Victory Room

Down in the cockpit, Lord Nelson was surrounded by his men on the dark evening of October 21st, 1805 in the final hours of the Battle of Trafalgar. The cannons were still roaring around the ship when he took his last breath, his spine shattered by a musket ball.

You can see The Battle of Trafalgar by J.M.W Turner, the painting at the top of this piece, at The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square. However, there are direct links to this historic event, to this great vessel, muchcloser to home…

The HMS Victory was Lord Nelson’s flagship, carrying 116 guns and a crew of 960 men. The ship is now berthed in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and is undergoing extensive restoration.

The Victory Room at Karpo Grill, London

The Victory Room

Wood removed during the restoration work has been salvaged and some of it can be found in our Victory Room, where it forms the top of our 10’ x 4’ Victory table. Scorch marks, repairs, all are visible on the planks of mighty English Oak. What stories could this fantastic table tell?

To hire the Victory Room in the Megaro Hotel for your own private event, please contact our events team. We guarantee you’ll have your own tale to tell…

The Victory Table, Karpo Grill

7 TOP LONDON MUSEUMS YOU HAVE TO SEE
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London is absolutely awash with first class museums, with so many on offer that the humble visitor may feel somewhat spoilt for choice during your stay at our King’s Cross hotel. Big hitters like the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum cry out for attention. If you’re staying in one of our Family roomswith the kids, you may find that the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Museum of London are top of the must-visit list.

Creative types, meanwhile, will find themselves in fabric strewn, arty heaven at the V&A and the Design Museum. Whatever your interests – from dinosaurs to buses, from ancient Egyptians to Mary Quant, from typography to tanks – there is guaranteed to be a museum that’s right up your street. And as most of them are free, you’ll have stacks of cash left over to chuck around liberally in the gift shop. Hurrah!

The British Museum

The British Museum is widely regarded as one of the best museums in London, and here you’ll find an astonishing collection that covers a mind-boggling two million years of history from pre-historic times right up to the present day. Six million visitors a year flock here to stare at the Rosetta Stone, marvel at the Parthenon sculptures, and get freaked out by the Lindow Man.

As well as the huge permanent collection, there are regularly updated special events, displays and exhibitions, all carefully curated for maximum jaw-drop. Established in 1753, this is one of the oldest museums in the world, and exudes a learned air, though it’s totally family friendly. And, if the kids are playing up, you can threaten to let the mummies in the Ancient Egyptian collection babysit them for a while, allowing you to relax with a glass of wine in the well-appointed café.

Entry is free, though some of the exhibitions do require tickets. From King’s Cross, hop on the Piccadilly Line to Holborn (take the Kingsway exit), from where it’s just a seven minute walk to the museum which is located on Great Russell Street.

British Museum website

The Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s most renowned museum dedicated to contemporary design in all its guises, including graphics, furniture, industrial design, fashion, architecture and multimedia. The exhibitions (which are regularly updated) celebrate human creativity and how it shapes our world. And, as a bonus, most of the exhibitions are generally complemented by a series of children’s workshops.

Once you’ve finished worshipping at the design alter, you can stock up on design books and products to your heart’s content in the shop in a (potentially futile) attempt to recreate the wonders you have witnessed in your own home. Plus, if all that creativity has made you peckish, you can enjoy a delicious snack and a stunning river view from the uber cool Blueprint Café. From King’s Cross, take the Northern Line to London Bridge, exit via Tooley Street and from there it’s a pleasant fifteen minute stroll to Shad Thames where the museum is located.

Design Museum website

Megaro---family-rooms

The Imperial War Museum

Travel back in time at the Imperial War Museum and learn about life for those both on the front line and at home during WW1 and WW2, discover more about the United Nations, and examine the spine-chilling and emotionally draining exhibits in the Holocaust Exhibition (not recommended for children under the age of fourteen).

The Central Hall is the star of the show, with its fabulous collection of military artefacts including tanks, guns and aircraft suspended from the ceiling. Entry is free. From King’s Cross, take the Northern Line to Elephant & Castle, exit through the shopping centre and from there it’s just a short walk to Lambeth Road and the museum.

Imperial War Museum website

The Museum of London

The Museum of London holds the title of the largest urban museum in the world, and tells the story of the city from prehistoric times to the present day in an exciting and very interactive way, involving carefully reconstructed street scenes and interiors (but no smellivision – thank goodness!). There are plenty of fascinating artefacts discovered during the archaeological digs carried out by the museum’s resident team of experts.

Entry is fee, although some of the exhibitions do require tickets. There is an action packed and ever-changing programme of short-term displays, walks, talks, and kid’s events, so having a browse on the website before you plan a visit is highly recommended. The nearest tube to the Design Museum is Barbican (five minute walk), so jump on a Circle or Hammersmith & City or Metropolitan line train from King’s Cross and you’ll be there in around twenty minutes.

For more information about museums like this one that are closer to our King’s Cross home, check out our guide to 7 inspiring museums near King’s Cross.

Museum of London website

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The Natural History Museum

Though one word immediately springs to mind when the Natural History Museum is so much as mentioned in casual conversation (DINOSAURS!), there is so much more to this London landmark. Dinosaurs aside (and you will find big ones, small ones, angry ones and friendly ones here), you can also see a blue whale (life-sized and boy is it enormous!), a four hundred million year old arachnid, a Neanderthal skull and countless other weird and wonderful exhibits from nature.

These are all housed in a spectacularly beautiful and impossibly vast building. Entrance is free, although you will need to pay to view certain exhibitions. From King’s Cross, take the Piccadilly Line to South Kensington and follow the hordes through the fabulous underpass to the museum.

We’ve dedicated 2 area guides plus a customised map to the wonders of South Kensington, for the low down on how to get there and things to do, head to our King’s Cross to South Kensington guide, and for tips on the best local restaurants and bars try King’s Cross to South Kensington: where to eat and drink post.

Natural History Museum website

The Science Museum

If you feel like giving your brain a good work-out, head to London’s iconic Science Museum to put your grey matter through its paces and intermingle freely with all of the major scientific discoveries of the last three hundred years over seven impressive floors. A real highlight is the massive in-house IMAX cinema. Here you can book tickets to immerse yourself in all manner of scientific scenarios, from a trip to outer space to exploring the ocean depths.

The shop here is quite simply awesome, and you will need to set aside a good chunk of time to properly do it justice. You may also wish to re-mortgage your house. General entrance is free, although you will need to pay for IMAX tickets and certain other interactive exhibits. Route to South Kensington as above.

Science Museum website

The Victoria & Albert Museum

One of the best London museums, the V&A houses an absolute treasure trove of delights from the global art and design world. Around every corner (and there are a LOT of corners in this magnificent place) is something new. It’s easy to lose track of time as you navigate the seemingly endless corridors and rooms replete with arty pleasures including paintings, furniture, jewellery, metalwork, textiles, glass, photography fashion and sculpture.

In total, there are 150 ornate galleries across seven floors, containing pieces sourced from all over the world. General entrance is free, though some exhibitions are ticketed. Route to South Kensington as above.

We have lots of art-led venues near us in King’s Cross too, which we compiled into our guide to the 7 must see galleries near King’s Cross.

V&A Museum website