Qype: St Pancras International Station in London

LondonTransportationPublic TransportStations

Okay, I admit it. I’m an anorak.

I’m crazy about train stations, and when St Pancras International opened after its long-awaited refurbishment, I visited late night on a Sunday on an architectural pilgrimage with camera and tripod.

I was honoured as a photographer to have one of my photographs of St. Pancras printed onto a large poster and installed into a 2m high display on the concourse of the station itself and featured in the Metro last year for a Valentine’s promotion. (http://www.matsmithphotography.com/photolife-blog/mat-smith-photography-in-metro)

I had the most glorious time admiring its historic beauty, the gorgeous monument to timekeeping that is the iconic Dent clock commissioned as a replacement for the original as part of the Eurostar refurb, the magnificent statue “The Meeting Place” by British artist Paul Day, and the Betjeman statue by British sculptor Martin Jennings; I wasn’t the only one. At this time the station was filled with single old men wandering around gazing in awe with their cameras. It was a bizarre but special night for me.

Since then I have been back a number of times, not to travel, but just to enjoy.

The St Pancras Grand Brasserie, Oyster and Champagne Bar (Searcys at St Pancras) is a fabulous place to enjoy a glass of bubbles. If you sit along the concourse adjacent to platforms, the booths are designed like little train carriages, and when it’s cold you can even grab a complimentary blanket and turn-on the seat heaters using a button below the table. It’s one of my favourite places to drink Champagne.

The station also has a Carluccio’s if you are that way inclined, and the station ground floor concourse has a whole host of places to shop, offering everything from precious gifts, useful travel purchases, M&S Simply Food, restaurants and decent small cafés – something for every budget.

St. Pancras is a destination in itself, a wonderful large open space when you are feeling London-claustrophobia, a place where you can pretend that modern train travel is still romantic, and a useful drop-in for convenience shopping when in the area.

And if you are an architect geek like me, you will love the stunning refurbishment of this historic building.

Check out my review of St Pancras International Station – I am hazymat – on Qype

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