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Crystal Palace and Crystal Palace Park walking tour: 1hr

New students! We know that many of you will be self-isolating or unable to visit campus as you're not yet in the UK.

Fortunately, Alfred from our SU Welcome Desk has been out and about filming a series of virtual walking tours to give you a feel for the local area and places you might want to visit nearby.

First up, Crystal Palace and Crystal Palace Park. Below the video we have text and a map of the route Alfred took.... 



If you live in South London, whether it’s New Cross, Brockley, Honor Oak or Forest Hill, just get on the southbound overground (which is usually nice and empty) and stay on for 10 minutes to get to Crystal Palace station.

We recommend this walk because it’s a close and safe adventure for students in south London and because it’s a gem in London. Once you’ve visited, the suggestion to travel all the way up north to Camden Town will make you laugh.

When you get to the station, you will see the park right in front of you. However we suggest you walk up, alongside the park, and go check out the ‘triangle’ at the very top. The streets forming said triangle are places where you’ll find great restaurants, loads of charity and local shops, lots of bars and pubs, and an Everyman Cinema. It’s a bit expensive but they do good discounts for students and it’s both super comfortable and very Ritzy inside. 

That is just some of the wonders of the area, it also has a lovely local bookstore where there are often literary events and book launches, and a great Garden Centre. Also, if you wander down Haynes Lane at the weekend, you will find an amazing outdoor market and a huge flea market, which is just as good (and much less touristy) than Camden Market. 

Once you’ve wandered through the triangle, if you haven’t stopped in one of its many tempting spots, you can head towards Crystal Palace park by the main entrance next to the bus station. This park was a true 19th century creation meant for pleasure. It was here that they moved the impressive glass building of the Great Exhibition in the later half of the 19th century. In fact, the area was actually called north Norwood before the palace relocated. 

Of course the palace burnt down in 1936 (what hasn’t been burned out or bombed at least once in London after all!) Yet remnants of it, particularly the limestone stairs, still dominate the top of the park. If you walk down it, you’ll also see the Crystal Palace Bowl, a natural amphitheatre where the likes of Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Elton John, Eric Clapton and the Beach Boys all played during its heyday. Now only frogs and ducks give impromptu concerts to those who pass by. Next to it there is also a free maze. However, it’s harder than you may think to get to the centre (or to get out of it). 

At the very lower end of the park you’ll see the huge brutalist National sport centre. And further down, surrounded by plants and tall rocks, you’ll see the highlight of the park: actual Victorian statues of dinosaurs. They’re amazing because they show you how a person in the 19th century thought these big lizards looked, and also because they actually missed the mark by a long shot!

Next to the dinosaurs there's also a huge pond where you can pedalo your deadlines anxieties away and a huge cafe that does great coffee and food. 

In other words, it’s a perfect place to go and have a date with friends or partners. This area also has a strong community feeling and it’s nice to be in a place where locals actually know and support each other!

Map of the route taken