Hands up: If tasked with planning a weekend of shopping and eating would Kings Cross in London be on the shortlist?
The answer is probably not. And that's a shame as it's probably based on what we think we know about the area, but going back about 20 years ago, before it was transformed.
A quick straw poll of my friends when I revealed my weekend plans included: 'wasn't it a bit of a rough wasteland?' and 'isn't it just a terminus station.'
Even the more enlightened among my (very limited) 'focus group' mentioned 'some kind of regeneration.'
All were true. Kings Cross is a terminus and many will likely only see the mainline or Tube versions of the station.
And while most of us have heard something about regeneration, it has actually been quietly taking place over the last 20 years and is now ready to be enjoyed.
Back in 2009 Kent got its fast connection to the area when High Speed One launched and terminated at St Pancras International - just across the road from Kings Cross.
Once that route was confirmed for Kent's new link to the capital, it kickstarted a transformation of derelict railway buildings and disused yards in Kings Cross, which has been going on since 2001.
Most of us in the county can now get there either by direct train to St Pancras International or with relatively easy changes to pick up High Speed One services.
Now lockdown has lifted, it was time for me to throw myself back into a full-on day out - a daycation - in London. They used to be a fairly regular feature of life pre-pandemic and I'd missed them.
The key to discovering the new Kings Cross is knowing where to look. Head away from the congested road down to Euston and look behind the station.
It is here where the hub of the activity and creativity is. Former railway sidings and industrial land have been transformed into modern public squares and a shopping destination.
Granary Square sits alongside Regent's Canal and leads to Coal Drops Yard, where independent traders, designers and brands are based. It is urban and the right side of gritty, because those in charge of the regeneration made a bold call to preserve the industrial buildings from the 1800s and not just raze everything to the ground.
So we find ourselves strolling around the very buildings and Victorian brick viaducts that processed coal during the industrial revolution and, up until the 90s, hosted the legendary Bagleys and The Cross nightclubs.
Bars and restaurants now surround the canal-side and people are lounging on a set of ampitheatre-style terraces. It seems Londoners have definitely discovered the area.
Yet my friend who lives in London (south of the river) and joining me on daycation, said she: "Didn't know all of this existed."
Fancying a spot of retail therapy, we're welcomed with open arms at Botanical Boys, run by Darren Henderson and Ben Nel, which offers products and experiences connecting people to nature. More recently, African homeware has been added to the range.
The pair are buzzing and the reason for the excitement soon becomes clear. They have worked on a design at Chelsea Flower Show, based on a natural classroom, and took the Gold award.
Aside of their handmade designs, this place has almost claimed the terrarium as its popular USP. These are indoor gardens, usually created in jars and bottles and people can take part in several workshops to create their own, learn about the plants, and wash down their new-found knowledge with something alcoholic and fizzy.
As Darren says: "We're offering experiences and the terrariums are a way of creating something visually to enhance wellness."
It has an effect and I take home a ceramic leaf Nasturtium plate for my own natural touch at home.
It is quite a change of direction for two people who used to work in IT, but the pair's passion shines through in this unique shop.
Another pair with a passion are Paul Firmin and Niko Dafkos, who founded lifestyle emporium Earl of East. It's the place for fragrance, candles, bath and body products.
Paul and Niko develop fragrances and their concept began life in 2014 on a market stall in Hackney selling candles, but their 'side hustle' has grown into several studio spaces. They sell their own products as well as other brands and arrived in Kings Cross in 2018.
Seemingly achieving the impossible, they managed to expand during lockdown to open a second site in Coal Drops Yard offering books themed on lifestyle, cooking, design and architecture.
But, continuing a common theme found in this centre, they also offer workshops on candle making, face masks, pattern and block printing and terrariums.
Paul says: "I do believe the future is about offering experiences. Families are welcome here, to do a workshop, or just browse while having one of our coffees."
Fuelled by one of Paul's coffees, and leaving with one of the duo's delightful Wildflower scented soy candle, it's onto Twiin.
This is the place for that effortless look. The store works with ethical brands from across the world, but the emphasis is very much on a laid-back, sunshine and casual look direct from LA.
It's so laid back, children are running in from outside to play on their arcade grabber machine. They're welcomed in with open arms and very much part of the experience.
As a self-confessed leopard-print addict, I can't resist buying a skirt in the print. But this is not gaudy Bet Lynch of Corrie's Rovers, but a classy understated pattern.
In need of a lunch pit stop, we repair to Vinoteca, a short walk away in Pancras Square. Recreating the ambience of the wine bars of Spain and France, it offers a selection of rustic dinners and brunch and a large wine selection. Sadly we didn't indulge in the wine, wanting to keep a clear head for the shops, but meaty duck rillettes and sourdough kept my energy levels topped up, while my friend enjoyed Halloumi and grilled peppers on toasted muffins.
Fortified, we check out Wolf and Badger.
There isn't really one word that sums up their only UK store, it just has everything: Homeware, ethical beauty and fashion, jewellery a florist, a deli on the lower level and it even teams up with a restaurant partner - called Hicce - on the upper level.
It is three-levels of browsing heaven. On the day of our visit, Kings Cross has been enjoying a week of London Design Festival activities which has brought public art exhibitions to the centre and many stores have offered extra workshops. Wolf and Badger has been running print, drawing and dried flower making classes and one is in full swing while we browse the clothes rails.
Coal Drops Yard hosts more than 50 stores. It's also here, plus in nearby Granary Square and at Pancras Square, you're likely to stumble across public art. On the lower level, Bethany Williams' display of flags called All Our Stories, illustrating the stories of children, grabs the attention, as does The Illuminated Garden, a display on sustainability featuring Super Nature TV.
Granary Square is the main home of UAL Central St Martins and students have taken over the square for the Outside Art Project, a regular feature of Kings Cross life. Students have highlighted a material ‘hero’ to address cultural and environmental sustainability.
Or what about a Hemp Automat - a vending machine like no other, designed to dispense innovative products using the carbon negative material created by Kiosk N1C x Super Nature.
Sustainability and Kings Cross fit well. As well as many of its buildings being graded outstanding for their eco credentials, thanks to visionary architecture we didn't lose the buildings which powered Britain when we were at the top of Industrial Revolution league table.
While some of these installations came to a close at the end of September, as the London Design Festival concludes, you get the sense there is always art to be seen in this area.
And if you don't believe me, then you have the word of actor and contemporary art collector, Russell Tovey (Being Human/The History Boys/Him and Her/Gavin and Stacey).
His free audio tour highlights the changing art of Kings Cross, through its Outside Art Project and reveals the history of an area founded more than 2,000 years ago, but left to go to rack and ruin after the Second World War.
Finally on our tour, we brave the crowds to get a table at Dishoom for dinner. There's crowds for a reason, Dishoom is gaining a reputation for its Indian street food with its venues transporting people back to the feel of old Bombay.
Each dish is fully explained, plus helpfully our waiter talks through how many dishes are suitable for two people. We opt to share Lamb and vegetable samosas, chicken Tikka, made with a sweet vinegar marinade, chicken berry biryani, the rich house black daal and a Roomali roll stuffed with paneer.
Everything is delicately spiced and it was so good, a good dent out of a samosa was taken before I could snap any pictures. An India Pale Ale washed it down nicely.
Much like a Roomali roll, we are stuffed - but with food, culture and history.
And hopefully we've helped smash a few preconceptions about Kings Cross?
Some more need to know details
Sadly, we didn't get chance to check out this restaurant, but if Italian is your thing, then a visit to Lina Stores is a must.
First opened in Soho 75 years ago, antipasti, pastas and paninis are served in a gloriously retro mint green interior.
October at Coal Drops Yard sees The Drops return. This is a market to showcase some of the UK's emerging and up and coming designers and runs from October 1-3.
For all things vintage, check out the Classic Car Boot Sale, which runs on October 9 and 10. Star of the show is the vintage vehicle display, with rare hotrods, lowriders, muscles cars, choppers, scooters, custom cars and bikes.
We highly recommend Ruby Violet for an impromptu ice cream. Made with organic milk, they also offer a range of vegan sorbets. They have a van and a parlour at Midland Goods Shed in Wharf Road.
If you have the time, the regenerated Kings Cross can be combined with some of the more traditional visitor experiences, such as the wellcome collection, a series of free exhibitions designed to explore health, emotions and human experience.