Crystal Palace. Home to Crystal Palace Park, the dinosaurs and the ‘Eiffel Tower’ of South London, otherwise known as a television transmitter. Having lived in South East London for the past three years it’s crazy to think I hadn’t yet explored Crystal Palace. There is surprisingly a lot to see and do, so I’ve put together this list of recommendations for top things to do in Crystal Palace.
Since opening in late November, Crystal Palace had actually been without a cinema for over 50 years. The site of the latest Everyman Cinema was home to the Rialto Cinema before it closed in 1968. The cinema houses four screens, two of which are large in size, two bars and a generous seating area in the cinema lobby. And if you’re looking for snacks, you won’t just find popcorn on the menu. Think burgers, make your own sundaes, homemade milkshakes and pizza!
There are so many boutique shops located in Crystal Palace, specifically along the Church Road area. Two of my favourites include Mrs Robinson and Decorum. The former is a great spot for getting inspiration for the home. With trinkets, hanging decorations and unique pieces of furniture. Decorum is our favourite of the two. The low lighting creates a relaxed shopping atmosphere and the select few pieces on display make for beautifully decorated shelves. From plates and bowls, to gorgeous concrete candles, it’s the ideal place to pick up a different type of item for your home. You’ll also find a pop-up Decorum located in Shoreditch’s BoxPark.
Grab a Pint in the White Hart Pub
There are a few pubs dotted around Crystal Palace Park, but my recommendation would be the White Hart. It’s got a warm homely vibe, board games, dogs and Camembert baked in sourdough bread. What’s not to love?
We visited on a Saturday afternoon and managed to bag one of the window spots, which was perfect for watching the busy high-street go by. The heating was on full blast, I was settled in a comfy chair and after cheese, bread and chips plus a cider, I was well and truly ready to have an afternoon nap!
And if you’re looking for something a little more substantial to eat I’d highly recommend their fish and chips!
Explore Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is one of the highlights in South East London. For us, it takes us less than five minutes to walk to the park and once you’re there, you could genuinely spend hours walking around. This Grade II Listed Park was built by Sir Joseph Paxton’s company between the years 1852 and 1855. In the park once stood the impressive Crystal Palace, which was destroyed by a fire in 1936.
In this day and age, you’ll find a whole host of things to see and do. In the autumn you’ve got the gorgeous autumnal coloured trees and dog walkers galore, and in the summer there are groups of a friend enjoying BBQs and a few drinks on the grass and families running around the park looking for the Dinosaurs. As well as that you’ve got The Maze, the Skatepark and two Sphinxes!
Do a Bit of Antique Shopping
Crystal Palace is a perfect destination in South East London for those looking to get their hands on a vintage or antique find. Bambino’s on first look is your typical antique store, with old cameras, biker jackets and large statement pieces of furniture available to buy. But on second look it’s a treasure trove for second-hand records. There are crates outside, as soon as you walk in and filling the entirety of the downstairs.
Haynes Lane Market was a surprising find during our walk. It wasn’t until we spotted a sign pointing away from the main high street that we became aware of the market, which is so deceiving in size. What you think starts off as two rooms, becomes a maze of stands and stalls. Think records, tea-cups, books, collectable children’s toys. You name it they’ve got it. To see the whole market you really need to dedicate a good portion of an afternoon to it. Haynes Lane Market is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I’ll be continuously adding to this blog the more I get to explore Crystal Palace, so expect lots more photos and recommendations, especially coffee shops and bakeries! We just need to work our way through them first! Have you ever visited Crystal Palace? Or South East London for that matter? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know what you think!
Until next time.