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King's Cross Area of London?

I am planning my first trip to London Feb 6th-13th. I am going on a strict budget and have booked Hotel Meridiana in Kings Cross area (B&B @ $60 USD a night). I am getting mixed messages on the area, some people say the area i'm in is totally fine, two minutes from tube, south of the station in Argyle Sq by a million other small B&Bs. But online i'm reading different, that's it's shabby, "seedy" area.

I'm a solo female traveler, so just need to feel safe. That said, i'm from NYC so perhaps my tolerance is higher for "seedy" hoods. Any advice, feedback please? thank you so much!

Posted by
9363 posts

I don't know about King's Cross, but I had a similar experience in Dublin a couple of years ago. I booked a guesthouse that looked great -- close to the main street and public transportation, easy walking distance to things I wanted to see. When I told people where I was staying they were horrified because "that is where all of the council flats (public housing) are", and that it was crime-ridden and dangerous. When I got there, it was lovely. It was in a row of other hostels and guesthouses at the "good" end of the street, and I felt totally safe walking there at night because there were lots of people around. I was traveling alone as well. I think you'll be fine.

Posted by
8995 posts

While I have never stayed at the Hotel Meridiana, I have walked through the immediate area the hotel is located, and it is in no way "seedy" or "shabby". It's in a residential area located just off the very busy Euston Rd. which runs in front of Kings Cross Station. The area directly behind/north of King Cross Station is an industrial area with lots of abandoned factories and railroad sidings; I think this where the "seedy" reputation comes from. But the area across Euston Rd from Kings Cross is fine.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you SO much for your replies. Very helpful. I feel completely fine about it now. Like I said, I just wanted to be sure. And now I can be. Thank you!

Posted by
389 posts

I'm with Michael. We stayed a few blocks down the street closer to Euston station and walked up to King's Cross/St. Pancras. I found the area very pleasant if in the middle of renovation. I wasn't afraid and let my 17 year old son and 13 year old nephew walk to McDoanlds across the street alone. Make sure to take a few moments to look at St. Pancras and maybe check out this site: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/4375/stpancras/stpanframe.htm
Great pictures! We were really curious about this place.

Posted by
7 posts

Amazing pics, thanks so much! I just bought my plane tickets and the hotel is now confirmed.

So excited, thanks for all your replies. Incredibly helpful!

Posted by
658 posts

I'm sorry to sound a note of caution, but I feel I have to. Argyle Square isn't a great place to be. It's safe, but only if you exercise caution and common sense. You are staying near the Pentonville Road and The Caladonian Road. Avoid going anywhere near these places after dark. Euston Road and Gray's Inn Road are safe. Kings Cross Station is safe - so long as you stay where you can be seen. These are all basic street smarts for someone from NYC - use them. The hotels in Kings Cross are cheap for a reason. Do not leave anything lying around in the hotel room. There won't be a room safe and the lock on the door will be pathetic. Make sure you lock everything you value in a hardshell case and secure it to the radiator in your room with a bicycle chain and a hefty padlock. I love my country and I want you to have a wonderful time. I genuinely believe London is the greatest city in the world, but not all of London is great and you will be on the fringe of an area I wish didn't exist.

Posted by
7 posts

Oh dear God. Now I feel back to square one...any other feedback folks? It's frightening to think I take one wrong turn and I'm in danger.

I've got PADLOCK and BIKE CHAIN my stuff to a radiator? No one mentioned that sort of thing in the tripadvisor reviews...

Any recommendations then for inexpensive B&Bs that are in a different area of London?

thanks all,
Rachel

Posted by
7 posts

Ok - I just took a look at the map, it looks like the two sketchy areas/roads you mentioned are a good couple blocks away, north and east (?) of the square. So, I see what your saying - as long as I don't go wandering I should be more than fine. And since the station is one block away from hotel, crossing Euston, think I won't have to worry too much (although now i've got the fear of God in me!).

Still any one else (maybe from UK as well) want to give a shout out on this?

thank you!

Posted by
5 posts

I also think that everybody has their own idea of what constitutes "shady" or "seedy." If you're getting mixed messages, then it's probably fine, just display normal caution. I've been told horrible things by Dubliners about going north of the Liffey, only to have no worries when I've actually gone. In my times walking around much of London, including parts around the Kings' Cross area, I never felt unsafe, though some parts were certainly better than others. Having grown up in a gang-infested part of Long Beach, CA, I have yet to see any part of Western Europe that even compares.
As you're from NYC, you will likely have the same reaction.

Posted by
5 posts

Honestly, sometimes the biggest thing you have to worry about in Europe is "friendly advice" from locals. I'm surprised the UK poster didn't warn you about waking up in a bathtub full of ice with a scar on your chest.
King's Cross isn't South Kensington but it's not Newark either. Further, the only times I've felt in any peril in Europe are in places you would normally think were the safest. So just take normal precautions and use your instinct. You'll be fine.

Posted by
7 posts

Sean - you are hysterical.

Perhaps I'll follow my gut instinct which says I'll be ok. Being a New Yorker, I will indeed use my street smarts and stay in high traffic areas. Think i'll be fine as you and others have said :)

Everyone's feedback is greatly appreciated (whether it be pro or con). Keep it comin' if anyone feels the need to contribute to this topic! I'll keep readin' !

Posted by
5 posts

We just stayed 3 nights in Kings Cross in one of the MANY little hotels just across from the tube station. Walked the area extensively day/night and never had an issue of feeling unsafe. It's certainly not a "posh" area but it wasn't dirty or seedy.

Just be advised the cheap stays in this area are usually tiny rooms in converted houses. Our 50 pound/ night room was clean but so small we had to shift luggage around just to open the bathroom door. Bathroom was microscopic, think airplane sized with a mini shower stall tacked on. Would have worked ok for one, but for two ppl it was a nightmare. At $60 usd/ night you may be sharing a bath.

Posted by
7 posts

Hi all - well i buckled...

For an extra 13 pounds a night I moved myself to the Cherry Court Hotel a block from the Victoria Station. And it includes private facilities instead of shared.

That said, just for curiosity sake I'm going to take a little trip to the King's Cross area and see what the hub-bub is about. I'm guessing I would have been fine, but it's my first trip abroad EVER and it's one less bit to worry about.

Still, I'll keep my street smarts in check, I find in NYC, it's the neighborhoods you feel safest in that, you turn around and OOPS! where did my wallet go?!

thanks to everyone that chimed in!
Rachel