Situated in South London, Crystal Palace is a lovely neighbourhood named after the Crystal Palace Exhibition building that was located in the area from 1854 to 1936.
The stunning glass building was sadly destroyed in a fire nearly a century ago, but the destination still has plenty to offer visitors who want to get off the beaten track for an afternoon and see a different side of London. Here are nine reasons you should pay a visit to Crystal Palace:
A beautiful park
Once a Victorian pleasure ground, this 200-acre gained prominence after the Crystal Palace Exhibition building, was moved here from Hyde Park following the Great Exhibition of 1851. The park contains a maze, lakes and a concert bowl, as well as the National Sports Centre. The stadium was once the home of Crystal Palace FC, but the club moved from the venue during the first world war. Other highlights include the Italian Terraces and the Crystal Palace Museum, and the park is one of the starting points for the Green Chain Walk.
The most popular attraction of Crystal Palace Park is the dinosaur statues. In the 1850s, sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was commissioned to make 33 life-size models of dinosaurs and other extinct animals. As some of the world’s first dinosaur sculptures, these statues may not be entirely accurate to today’s standards, but they are an excellent representation of scientific knowledge at the time, and the mistakes don’t make them any less enjoyable. In 2002, the models went through an extensive restoration programme, and they were given a Grade I listing in 2007.
A tall tower
Towering over the area is the Crystal Palace transmitting station. It’s currently the fifth-tallest structure in London and is the main television transmitter in the London area. It was built in the 1950s, and the first transmission from the tower took place in 1956, and it’s still in use today.
A gorgeous subway
Originally built to provide access to the Crystal Palace, this beautiful vaulted walkway went out of use after the fire destroyed the building above. With intricate pillars and a ceiling covered in orange and white tilework, the subway was used as an air raid shelter during the second world war. It currently has Grade II listed status but is usually closed to the public except on open days, which are held a few times a year. Recent efforts to restore the walkway and open it to the public have been promising.
Lots of vintage goods
One of South London’s best kept secrets, Haynes Lane Market is an indoor market situated over two floors – and it’s got a little bit of everything from antiques, vinyl and books to clothes, toys and clothing. Whatever your interests, there’s probably something for you at this shopping destination, and even if you don’t find something to purchase, it’s definitely worth a visit just to have a rummage around and see what treasures you uncover.
London is known for its gastronomic delights, and Crystal Palace won’t disappoint any foodie visitors. Options include Joanna’s Brasserie, which offers diners tasty food and a sweeping panorama of London. The Exhibition Rooms is a classic dining room serving up British favourites, or why not head to the food market? It’s open every Saturday and sells a wide range of farm-fresh fruit, vegetables and other produce.
If you fancy a tasty tipple, then consider heading to the cocktail lounge downstairs in the Exhibition rooms. Other options include the Cocktail Embassy, which serves up classics like gin and tonics, as well as its own unique mixes. There’s also the wine bar at Numidie, which has been decorated with a beautiful Moroccan theme.
Whether you need a caffeine-fuelled pick-me-up, or want to relax with a cuppa and a sweet treat, then Brown & Green near the train station could be the perfect spot. It’s also known for its delicious brunch menu.
Bibliophiles should be sure to pay a visit to Bookseller Crow, an independent bookshop that stocks a fabulous combination of new releases and old classics, as well as quirky and unusual publications.
If you’re planning a visit to the capital, and are looking for 4-star hotels in London, the Park Grand London Hotels are an ideal choice. With well appointed rooms and city-centre locations, these hotels offer the perfect combination of comfort and style. What’s more, they’re within easy reach of top London landmarks and attractions like Crystal Palace.