This guide to using magnificent St Pancras International train station explains;
(1) how to navigate the station;
(2) what to be aware of when arriving and departing by Eurostar and other train services;
(3) how to make onward connections to the city centre and airports
(4) what facilities are available at the station.
The modern adaptation of glorious 19th century station architecture at St Pancras International, has created a building that is an awe-inspiring location to have a meal/drink and to indulge in some high end shopping.
Hence a website on which it's primary function as a place from which to catch a train isn't particularly obvious.
However, if you are taking a train from St. Pancras International it can be confusing space to navigate; particularly if you are a first time user.
What can be a big help with finding your way through the station are its interactive info guides.
At first glance they resemble the info guides you can find in large shopping malls, which you can tap to discover the location of a store etc.
These screens at St Pancras International are also store guides, but they ALSO offer a wealth of useful info to help you find your train.
They are convenient because the signage understandably struggles to cope with the complexity of the station layout.
If you’re a first time user, St Pancras International isn’t a location where you want to be catching a train against the clock.
Five things also worth knowing about St. Pancras International:
(1) St Pancras International station can be a complicated space to navigate because it is in effect six stations in one location:
Each of which has a dedicated or optimum entrance.
(2) If you're NOT taking the Eurostar and you aleady have a ticket, it’s still generally a good idea to arrive at St Pancras International a minimum of 10 mins before your train is due to depart.
It's a large space to navigate; for example making the transfer between the Picadilly Line of the Undergound and the East Midlands trains terminal, takes around 5 mins.
(3) If you are taking the Eurostar allow 10 mins to make your way to the Eurostar check-in area.
ADD this 10 mins on to Eurostar's recommended time required to check-in.
(4) If you are catching a Eurostar be aware that the station isn't solely dedicated to Eurostar trains.
The Eurostar departures area is not the the dominant feature of the building.
Depending on how you enter St Pancras, the access to Euostar departures can be out of sight.
And Eurostar arrivals is merely a set of doors which open into the main shopping arcade at the station.
(5) The trick to making the most of what St Pancras International has to offer is to arrive at the station around 90 mins before your train departs.
And if you do opt for that, head to the upper level bars and restaurants.
They're quieter, more spectacular and you can watch the Eurostar trains glide in and out of the station; what could be more wonderful!
The upper level also gives access to the bars and eateries in the stunningly restored St Pancras hotel, for the ultimate pre train journey experience!
A plus of arriving by mainline train at St Pancras International is that the station has interchanges with 6 Underground lines:
So the station has easy access to most areas of London, but if you are a first time user, these tips below will hopefully be of use.
Note that the Underground station at St Pancras International is named 'Kings Cross, St Pancras', because it also serves Kings Cross station across the street.
The Transport for London information desk is to the right of the entrance to the part of the Underground station used by the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines .
There’s also relatively easy access from this Info desk to the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines.
The Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan Lines all share a route in central London so they use the same platforms/tracks.
The first train to arrive can be a Circle Line train and the second to arrive can be a Hammersmith & City line train etc.
The trains will also look the same, so watch the departure indicators on the platforms carefully.
If you will be going to Paddington look for trains heading to Hammersmith.
Though if you want a step-free route to Paddington take a southbound Thameslink station on a one-stop-hop to Farringdon station, where an elevator transfer is available to the westbound Elizabeth Line trains; all of which will call at Paddington.
Any westbound train regardless of which line will call at Baker Street (for Madame Tussauds) and any eastbound train will be calling at Farringdon, Barbican or Liverpool Street.
For the Tower Of London take the Circle Line eastbound to Tower Hill.
The Northern Line provides a link to the Financial District of London, take southbound trains to Moorgate or Bank
For Camden and its markets, take any northbound train to Camden Town
Southbound Northern Line trains also provide an alternative link to the Thameslink trains for accessing the London Bridge area where Borough Market and The Shard are located.
If you are heading to the market the quickest option is to take the Northern Line to London Bridge and then use the Borough High St exit at the station
If you're heading to Canary Wharf, the easiest route from St Pancras International is to take a southbound Northern Line train and then connect into the Jubilee Line at London Bridge
The Piccadilly and Victoria lines connect St Pancras International to the city centre.
Southbound trains on both lines call at Green Park, the closest station to Buckingham Palace.
Southbound Piccadilly line trains also call at Covent Garden, Leicester Square (5 min walk to Trafalgar Square), Piccadilly Circus, Knightsbridge (for Harrods) and South Kensington for the museum district.
Southbound Victoria Line trains call at Oxford Circus in the heart of the city's main shopping area and at Victoria station.
There are no direct Underground trains from St Pancras International to Waterloo, but generally the least stressful connection is to take the Piccadilly Line southbound to Piccadilly Circus and transfer there to a southbound Bakerloo Line train.
It looks further on the map, but the transfers are the easiest of all the alternatives and the Bakerloo Line trains tend to be the least busy on the Underground
The trains that are heading south from platform/track A in the ‘Thameslink’ station at St Pancras International give much better access to some parts of London than the Underground.
(1) For St Pauls take a train to ‘St Pauls Thameslink’.
(2) For Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre take a train to Blackfriars and then at that station, use the South Bank exits – nearest the front of the train.
(3) For Westminster take any ‘Thameslink’ train south to Blackfriars and connect there for an eastbound District or Circle line train – the interchange at Blackfriars will be towards the rear of the train.
This will be quicker than taking the Circle Line direct and less frantic than taking the Victoria Line and making the transfer at Victoria station.
(4) Thameslink trains also now provide a direct link to Greenwich from St Pancras International - take trains heading to Rainham.
Though the service isn't frequent, so the the quickest option can be to take a Thameslink train to London Bridge and connect there.
If you’re heading to Heathrow from St Pancras International, taking the Piccadilly Line southbound is probably the best of several options, particularly if you have luggage.
It's also much cheaper than taking the taking the Heathrow Express.
Partially because if you take the alternative route via Paddington, the transfer to the Heathrow Express from the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines at Paddington is comparatively awkward - the shortest route isn't step free and using the alternative step-free route takes around 5 mins.
It can seem like a dauntingly long Underground journey from St Pancras to Heathrow, but the second half of the trip is actually above ground.
Also if you opt for the Heathrow Express, but just miss a connection, so have to wait 15 mins at Paddington, the journey time difference between that route and the direct Piccadilly line, can be marginal.
Not all westbound Piccadilly line trains will be heading to Heathrow, so check the departure indicators and avoid hopping on the first train to arrive.
All southbound Piccadilly trains call at Terminals 2 and 3, but separate routes serve Terminals 4 and 5.
Direct trains depart from platform A in the Thameslink station, for the time being there are USUALLY 4 x trains per hour - but the number of trains will soon be doubled.
The train journey from St Pancras International to Gatwick Airport takes around 50 mins.
Tickets will cost the same if booked last minute at the station.
If you will be heading TO St Pancras International from Gatwick don't take the Gatwick Express - instead take trains that will be heading for Bedford, Cambridge or Peterbrough.
To/from Luton Airport.
There are frequent trains to Luton Airport Parkway station, which depart from platform B in the Thameslink station.
Target the trains heading to Bedford as they will be faster than the trains heading to Luton - though check the departure screens on the platform to confirm that your train is calling at Luton Airport Parkway.
Free shuttle buses link Luton Airport Parkway station to the airport terminals.
Tickets for any of the above train services will cost the same if booked last minute at the station.
Taking the Underground one stop to Euston from St Pancras International can seem an un-necessary expense, and a hassle.
However, if you have luggage, it can be a better option than making the 10-12 min walk.
If you're going to opt for the Underground take a northbound Northern line train
If you’ll be pulling luggage on wheels, it’s further down Euston Road than it looks on a map, and working out how to enter Euston station from the street is a challenge.
In contrast the exit from the Underground station at Euston takes you direct into that station's main departure hall.
Heading to Euston on foot will take around 8 - 15mins, if you arrive at St Pancras on an East Midlands, Southeastern or Thameslink service, head for the exit on to Midland Road; it's by the access to the Thameslink part of the station, at the opposite end of the 'Market' area of the station to the access to King's Cross station.
When you step outside the station, the Francis Crick Institute building will be across the street, turn to the left and walk down Midland Road keeping the station building on your left.
If you arrive by Eurostar follow the signs to the taxi rank as it is located on Midland Road, when you step out of the station turn to the left.
When you reach the junction with Euston Road, turn to the right and cross the street towards the British Library.
Three blocks over, you will pass the Unison Building, with the word 'Unison' in large letters mounted on the pavement.
From here turn right and left, on two short streets used by buses which serve Euston's bus station, the access to the the railway station will then be up the short flight of steps you'll see ahead across the street.
St Pancras is located on the north-eastern edge of the central London area in a place where several major roads meet, so it's a constantly busy area, with the fact that Kings Cross station is just across the street, adding yet more people and traffic to the mix.
The fact that two of London's busiest stations share a location is why the Underground station which serves them has more lines than any other.
Though if you take the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines to Kings Cross-St Pancras, you need to walk through fairly lengthy subways in order to access the mainline trains which leave from St Pancras International.
For a stress-free onward departure allow at least five minutes to make the transfer when taking the Northern and Piccadilly lines; and up that to seven minutes when taking the Victoria line.
Taking the bus
If you can spare the time, taking a bus to St Pancras International can therefore make for an easier transfer to the trains, particularly if you take routes 46; 91; 214 and 390 on routes heading north away from central London.
These four routes all arrive at stops on the same block as St Pancras International, so you won't even have to cross the street in order to enter the station.
Routes 91 and 390 use a stop in front of the station, while routes 46 and 214 arrive at a particularly convenient location between the entrance to Eurostar check-in and the main entrance on Pancras Road
It's a 10 - 15 min walk to St Pancras from Euston, so being a pedestrian is easier and cheaper than taking the Underground, but if the weather isn't conducive, take the Northern Line and avoid the Victoria Line; you won't have to walk so far on arrival at St Pancras.
Or take the bus; route 91 heading to Crouch End and route 390 heading to Archway, both depart from stops in front of Euston station and arrive on the same block as St Pancras International.
It's only a two-stop hop and avoids the need to cross busy roads.
If you want to walk head to the left hand side of the station concourse and then access Euston Road, which is the main street in front of the station, it's on the other side of the bus station and a small green area.
When you reach Euston Road turn to the left and four blocks over you will see the entrance to The British Library on the left, take the next street on the left, which is named Midland Road.
St Pancras station is on the right-hand side of the street, you'll soon come to the entrance on Midland Road pictured below.
Once you're in the station, go right for Eurostar arrivals and departures, up a level for the East Midlands and Southeastern trains, and the entrance to the Thameslink part of the station will be over to the left.
From London Bridge
If you're on a route which heads to Cannon St or Charing Cross stations leave the train at London Bridge, but don't connect to the Northern Line, instead take a Thameslink train.
Up to 12 trains per hour now depart from platform 5 at London Bridge and take 15-20 mins to make the journey to St Pancras International, so you can avoid having to make fairly lengthy transfers to the Northern Line at both stations; plus the trains will be air-conditioned and they have luggage racks.
Step free access by elevator, to and from the Thameslink trains, is also available at London Bridge and St Pancras.
If you don't have heavy luggage:
Head to the Underground station at Paddington used by the Hammersmith & City line and take any eastbound train, including the Circle Line; the suggestion to take this route if you don't have luggage, is because the quickest route at Paddington is not step-free.
If you do have heavy luggage:
Take the Elizabeth Line to Farringdon where a step-free transfer is provided by elevators with the northbound Thameslink trains for a one-stop hop to St Pancras International Thameslink station.
If you have time available take the comparatively frequent 390 bus heading to Archway, which will leave from the bus station right outside the main station.
It commences its journey at Victoria, so you should be able to find a seat and room to store any luggage.
It arrives in St Pancras at a stop on the same block as the station.
Taking the Victoria Line is obviously quicker, but its permanently crowded and the transfer on arrival at Kings Cross-St Pancras involves walking along seemingly never-ending subways.
There isn't a direct Underground Line from Waterloo, but of the many options, SMTJ's preference is to take the Northern Line northbound to Leicester Square and connect there into the northbound Piccadilly Line.
Or if your train to Waterloo calls at Vauxhall, connect there for the Victoria Line.
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.