Stuart Forster reports on the food served at The Parcel Yard pub at King’s Cross railway station in London.
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Next time you’re waiting for a train heading north out of London, check out The Parcel Yard in King’s Cross railway station. Alternatively, you might consider it as a place to meet with colleagues or friends after stepping off the train.
The biggest station pub in England occupies the site that was formerly the Great Northern Railway’s parcel office.
The bright, naturally illuminated mail rooms opened for business in 1852 as part of Lewis Cubitt’s station design. The location was developed into a pub during renovations of King’s Cross, making use of wood and other features from the original building.
Parcel Yard King’s Cross
Just a few years ago, waiting for a train at King’s Cross was often a grim experience. It’s changed markedly as part of broader efforts to revamp the district.
A handful of fast food outlets and shops opened onto a coldly lit concourse with insufficient seating. Every now and again, druggies and drunks would circulate between travellers asking for spare change.
The elegant arch of the criss-cross ceiling designed by John McAslan now helps make King’s Cross station significantly better.
King’s Cross pubs
And, of course, King’s Cross station has long had a pub. But the current incarnation is a far more pleasant place to sit and sup a pint than its predecessors.
Being in The Parcel Yard means waiting away from drafts that sweep along the concourse on cold winter days.
The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross
The Parcel Yard has a laid-back vibe. Varnished wood floorboards have a deliberately scuffed appearance, adding to the character of the rooms.
Natural light once flooded through the parcel yard’s skylights so that workers below could sort packages. The upper two floors were suspended, so that horse-drawn carts could pass on the ground-level unimpeded by columns.
Today the pub has white walls and framed window panes. Natural light stills flow into The Parcel Yard’s corridors and rooms. Old-fashioned leather suitcases and travel trunks are a reminder that this welcoming London pub stands within one of the country’s great travel hubs.
Look out for framed tickets on the walls, sorting boxes and old railway signage.
Rooms at The Parcel Yard
The pub is divided into a number of rooms. They include the Games Room, whose decoration includes a typewriter. Board games and a pinball machine provide ways to while away time prior to a departure.
The Board Room has a grand, polished wood table and framed photos capturing moments from decades ago. The pictures include an elephant being shoved into a railway carriage. It also features a boardroom-style meeting room.
The Station Master’s Office is a Grade I listed room. It overlooks platforms 0 to 8 and is decorated with railway-themed artefacts.
On the upper level, you can sit on one of the comfy leather sofas in the Loft Bar. Wooden benches run along chunky tables sometimes used as informal meeting spaces.
Food at King’s Cross station
Waiters take orders and serve food and drink. For single travellers, this is very welcome. In so many British pubs bagging a seat at a numbered table is necessary before ordering food.
That means without a companion to watch over baggage, you run the risk of losing your table or your belongings. The table service at The Parcel Yard alleviates that concern.
The most expensive dish on the food menu is the eight-ounce rib-eye steak served with roasted mushrooms, watercress, chips and a peppercorn sauce.
Anyone returning to the United Kingdom after a long trip abroad might be tempted by the fish and chips. The cod is served in a batter made with London Pride ale alongside mushy peas and tartare sauce.
For people departing the country on the Eurostar from St Pancras International, this is the last chance to tuck into Britain’s most telling contribution to the world’s fast food culture.
Good British pub grub
The venison pie is served with rich gravy, chunks of roasted swede, mashed potato and Savoy cabbage. It’s tasty and there’s plenty of meat within the pastry.
The desserts include sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice cream. The popular British pud is made with vintage ale and is deliciously moist. Pleasingly, The Parcel Yard’s take on sticky toffee pudding steers clear of being overly sweet.
If you enjoy a sweet finish to your meal, the pear, apple and cinnamon crumble is worth dipping your spoon into. It’s served in an antique-style, flat-bottomed iron pan and comes with a jug of custard on the side.
Normally a cup of tea or coffee would be the ideal end to a British meal. This place offers both. But with a decent selection of lagers, hand-pulled ales and draft ciders, it takes willpower as robust as the iron pan in which the crumble is served to resist ordering a pint to finish a meal at The Parcel Yard.
Travel to King’s Cross Station
Britain’s East Coast Main Line runs to and from King’s Cross Station in London. It’s across the street from St Pancras International.
Map of The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross
The Google Map below shows the location of The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross Station in London:
Hotels near King’s Cross
There’s a broad selection of accommodation at King’s Cross in London. Search for hotels in King’s Cross via Booking.com:
The Parcel Yard is in London’s King’s Cross Station. It is located beyond the Harry Potter Shop at Platform 9¾.
Find out more about things to do and see in the British capital via the Visit London website.
Thank you for visiting Go Eat Do and reading this post about the Parcel Yard at King’s Cross in London. Enjoy travelling by train? You might enjoy this post about South India’s Golden Chariot luxury train. Newcastle upon Tyne is about three hours from London by train.
Stuart Forster, the author of this post, is an award-winning travel writer who frequently visits London.
Photos illustrating this post are by Why Eye Photography.
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A version of this post was initially published on Go Eat Do on 25 April 2016.