The German Gymnasium

By in London's historic buildings

If you’re planning on catching a train from either Kings Cross or St. Pancras (maybe the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4 or the Eurostar to Paris) just take a few minutes to stop before your journey, go out and stand between the two stations and take a look at another wonderful Victorian building that stands proudly on its own, just before the new Kings Cross complex to the north of you.

Today the building houses a swanky new restaurant with dining on two floors, but originally The German Gymnasium was exactly that, a gymnasium for German gymnasts! It was the first purpose built gymnasium in England and was constructed in 1864 for £6000 with money from the German community living in the city. It was used for the indoor events of the first Olympic Games held in London in 1866 and continued to be used as an Olympic venue until 1908.

At some time before the second World War it fell into disuse until a recent million pound renovation restored the Grade II listed building to its former glory, with its wonderful broad-spanned, laminated timber roof and impressive staircases.

I went there recently with my family for my daughters birthday and we sat in the restaurant upstairs, while the slightly cheaper bistro is downstairs. The restaurant certainly makes for a great occasion and I can personally recommend the Schnitzel!