King's Cross Station

North London

With its clean lines and the simple arches of its twin train sheds, you might be forgiven for thinking that King's Cross is a more modern building than its show-off neighbour St Pancras, but in fact it opened its doors more than a decade earlier in 1852. Designed by Lewis Cubitt and built in the classic muddy-yellow London stock brick, it stands apart from the prevailing Victorian sensibility of more is more.

A major refurbishment was completed in 2012, with the opening of a new departures terminal under an exceedingly beautiful, curving, canopy-like roof formed from a lattice-like web of steel. Shabby extensions have been removed from the front of the building, showcasing the facade and opening up an expansive plaza crowned with a Henry Moore sculpture entitled Large Spindle Piece (1974)

Of course, for many people – especially the young – King's Cross Station means just one thing: the departure point for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You'll need to be embarking on an actual train journey to visit the platforms, so the kind people at Network Rail have moved the magical portal leading to Platform 9¾ to a more convenient location in the departures terminal. A sign has been permanently erected, along with a luggage trolley half disappearing into the wall and carrying a trunk and an owl cage. You can have your picture taken by wizards from the (inevitable) Harry Potter Shop next door.

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