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June 10th 2014

Robert’s tips for Crystal Palace

With great independent restaurants, bars, vintage shops and a park, our local and City Partner Robert is a big fan of the neighbourhood Crystal Palace. Here he shares his valuable tips..

Robert’s tips for Crystal Palace - June 10th 2014

Prior to writing this blog I did a little bit of research into the history of the actual ‘Crystal Palace’. Now, for anybody who hasn’t seen images of this colossal glass building sitting atop Sydenham Hill as it did between 1854 and 1936, it must have been an absolutely spectacular sight to behold. What I didn’t know was that the Palace was originally built in Hyde Park three years previous to host the Great Exhibition of 1851. Either way, its re-location south of the river led the entire area being re-named from Penge Common to Crystal Palace (home of the Eagles!).

Crystal_Palace_General_view_from_Water_Temple

The original Crystal Palace

I live just down the hill from Crystal Palace these days, and have seen it come a long way over the last 10 to 15 years. In its current form it embodies everything that is good about residential and commercial upgrade in London. The town centres around the triangle, a one-way road system which plays host to a brilliant mix of independent restaurants, bars and vintage/antique shops. Personal favourites for places to eat include Numidie for some authentic French-Algerian bistro food and souk-style bar, and the Exhibition Rooms where excellent modern dining is complimented perfectly by a wicked cocktail menu in its cozy-lit downstairs cocktail lounge.

Crystal Palace_Exhibition Rooms_1

The Exhibition Rooms

Crystal Palace_Exhibition Rooms_2

The Exhibition Rooms

In nice weather, Crystal Palace Park is a huge offering a myriad of offerings to visitors of all ages. It is home to the iconic Crystal Palace National Sport Centre (a listed heritage building) which has recently received a £20m refurbishment to improve its range of top sporting facilities including its international-standard athletics track and beach volleyball courts! It also contains a boating lake, a concert bowl, a farm and those nostalgia-inducing dinosaur statues I remember from school trips and weekend trips alike. You can buy ice creams there too. What more could you possibly need from a park?!

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park

Aside from drinking at Westow House, with its massive selection of books and quality live music, what I like most about the area is the views it offers into the centre of London. On a clear day/evening, the view of the entire skyline from Canary Wharf right across to the Wembley arch is pretty special. I have even seen photographers camped around their tripods waiting to get the perfect shot. Good times.

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Westow House

Westow House

Westow House

‘Palace is a really great place, simple as that.

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