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Five ways to kill time near Euston station

By
James FitzGerald
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Sometimes Euston doesn’t feel like an actual place itself but more like an unclaimed territory between other, better places. Carved up by busy roads and even busier railway lines, it has little to recommend at face value – but that’s no reason to give up looking for things to do as you await your onward journey. Here are a few ideas. 

Ogle weird and wonderful art

The area’s best (and oddest) sights are found just across Euston Road. The free-to-enter Wellcome Collection houses curiosities which help relate the history of science; among them Napoleon’s toothbrush. And the nearby Grant Museum of Zoology opens its doors on afternoons to a Victorian exhibition of animal oddities, from dissected brains to snake skeletons and a jar full of moles.

For a still more grisly experience, stray further into the UCL compound and come face-to-face with the auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham – a statue featuring the philosopher’s actual skeleton and clothes.

Grab a pint...

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Overflowing with craft beer and commuters, the time-killer’s drinkery of choice around these parts tends to be the Euston Tap: a premises of little more than several square metres in a former lodge of Euston Square.

Flanking the railway itself are two backpacker boozers which double up as hostels – something worth remembering if your drinking sesh outlasts the final train. Offering much-needed hospitality on a seedy stretch of Eversholt Street is the Pack & Carriage – and on the other side of the tracks is the Exmouth Arms.

... or a quick bite

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Trains delayed? Make a meal of it – quite literally – at one of Euston’s deceptively decent restaurants. Offering one of the finest concentrations of South Asian cuisine in north London, Drummond Street’s best options include Massala Hut.

Elsewhere – slap-up brekkies and swift sarnies at the aptly-named Speedy’s Café, which you’ll recognise as the place next door to 221B Baker Street, aka Benedict Cumberbatch’s flat in ‘Sherlock’ – or Roti King for improbably excellent Malaysian food (pictured) that’s totally at odds with the building’s sketchy exterior.

Get a history lesson

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There’s not much visible history around Euston: banal 1960s buildings stand where a grand Victorian terminus once did. Seek out the statues of railway pioneer Robert Stephenson and of Matthew Flinders, an explorer who helped map out Australia and whose grave is believed to be somewhere under the platforms after the station expanded into nearby burial grounds.

Under threat from the HS2 project are the leftovers that burial ground – now the St James Gardens, a tranquil green oasis with gravestones piled up at the edges. Also awaiting the bulldozers is the old Euston tube stop, a building where the London Transport Museum runs its tours.

Check out the local entertainment

More time to kill? Head for nearby Hampstead Road and take in a show at pub-turned-arts-venue the Camden People’s Theatre. Ogle the instruments at SaxWindBrass – London’s biggest saxophone shop – and consider how different life would be if you could play the solo to ‘Baker Street’. Or, on a Thursday night, hit Downstairs at Mestizo – a steamy, tiny Latin nightclub hosted beneath the Mexican restaurant.  

Staying over in Euston? Check out the area’s cheapest hotels

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