The romance of St Pancras

 

Do you remember train journeys when you were little? I remember being a very young girl in Bedford and taken by my hand to catch the train to London. At this time, there are still some trains that have corridors and carriages, just like you see in old movies. Wouldn’t it be great if we still had little ‘suites’ like that? Except I feel I’d have to wear a pencil skirt, hat and clip on earrings, which is all fine by me, except the earrings.

The Bedford line goes into St Pancras and in recent years, I have watched this once attractive station blossom once more, this time into a station worthy of international status. For a few years, I lived back in Bedford and the station was being built; during every trip to London at that time, all I have is a something resembling a transport cafeteria with terrible coffee and worse snacks – mainly serving those building the place, I feel. And the place is freezing.

I decide to circle the station before coming back to make my entrance. Firstly, it’s no longer freezing. Secondly, it’s magnificent. I could see the potential back when it was still being re-built but now it reminds me of another station that’s worth visiting without needing to get on a train; Grand Central in NYC.

The shops are just as glamorous; of course there are the tourist attractions of Cath Kidston, Thomas Pink and Hamley's but also the most luxurious way to start any (international) journey, The Champagne Bar. Then there are the ‘essentials’; Marks & Spencer’s Simply Foods, Peyton & Byrne for cakes and rather delightfully Le Pain Quotidien which I haven’t seen since I was in New York. I had to buy one of their huge scones just to reminisce. After a long day ending here, I leave London very happy.

Before I leave St Pancras International I’ve already planned to go somewhere on Eurostar just to spend an hour here beforehand; question is where?

Another birthday, another city

Adventures in Scotland - Aug 2011