51 things we love about living in Crystal Palace

September 11, 2013

As we may be moving shortly, I wanted to write a list of our favourite things about living in Crystal Palace in south east London.

Living in Crystal Palace, south London - 51 things we love about living in Crystal Palace

OK, so it’s not all perfect living in Crystal Palace. Everywhere is up or down a hill, and the one thing that drew us seductively into the warm bosom of the community three years ago is ultimately what’s casting us out into the cold (house prices). And speaking of cold, it exists in a Narnia-like microclimate up here in the winter and there’s often snow when there isn’t anywhere else in London. Which has made for some interesting calls to work when the trains grind to a halt.

Thinking about moving here? You should, we’ve been really happy here and will be sad to leave. So here’s our ode to SE19 – the 51 things we love about living in Crystal Palace;

1. Crystal Palace Park

2-6. …including the museum, the farm, the two Sphinxes and the dinosaurs

7. Central London is a mere 20 minutes away on the train (and it’s close to Brixton for the market, Dulwich for the Picture Gallery and park, Forest Hill for the Horniman Museum, and is easy to get to The Tate)

8. It’s very child-friendly. Check out the SE19 Kids website for a day-by-day guide to activities, and also the Crystal Palace Mums Facebook group

9-10. Apart from the supermarket, two of our favourite place to spend time on maternity leave were the Living Water Cafe (really positive community initiative, space for prams and lots and lots of cake) and Domali (again, cake, they don’t recoil in horror as you approach with a child)

11. Another was Waggle and Hum at the Library (shame on you, Croydon Council)

12-14. Three things in surprising places; Vintage Hart – a retro clothes shop in a pub, an amazing flat in an old public toilet, and the beautiful old subway under the bus station

15. Celeb spots. While not much can match the calibre of Bob Geldof in Herne Hill and Paul McCartney in Tulse Hill, I have seen a Labour ex-cabinet minister in the bank, and Eddie Grant in a furniture shop. Take that, Heat magazine

16-17. The mast. Although it’s never laid an egg like its French counterpart, it regularly changes colour and does have a magazine named after it

18. The cinema. OK, so there isn’t one, yet, but there should be (it’s something that the community continues to campaign about)

19. London transport is notoriously tricky to navigate with a pram, but Crystal Palace Station now has lifts to every platform, taking it from a complete no-go area to one of the most accessible stations in London

20.The new Crystal Palace food market

21. And while it’s not strictly CP, the lovely West Norwood Feast is very close

22. This ranks pretty highly on my fantasy house shopping list

23. It’s been on a lot of property programmes including at least two Location x 3’s (the opera singers and the young couple with a baby)

24 – 30. Our favourite Crystal Palace pubs and bars: The Sparrowhawk, The Paxton, The Alma, The White Horse, Westow House, the cocktail bar under The Exhibition Rooms and Beer Rebellion (the pop-up beer bar)

31-37. And our favourite restaurants: Crystal Palace Market, Joanna’s, Mediterranea, Exhibition Rooms, Tamnag Thai, Numidie, the Indian Dining Club

38-40.There’s often chat about the commercialisation and same-yness of the UK high street. Not in CP, where Cafe Nero and the pound shop are pretty much the only big chains. There’s Crystal Palace Antiques (where Grannie Gill once bought a table and chairs that resulted in building an extension on her house to put them in, true story) all the furniture places on Church Street and around the triangle, and the Haynes Lane market

41-47. As well as my personal fave the Shelter charity shop, there’s also a whole host of independent shops including Smash Bang Wallop, Glitter and Twisted and South of the River. A shop that sells a lot of cheese. And then there’s the brilliant Bookseller Crow, where I bought all of the first birthday presents

48. The space! One of the best things about living in Crystal Palace

49. The annual Crystal Palace Overground Festival

50. On a personal note, we’ll always remember living in Crystal Palace as it’s where we bought our first house, it’s the only place our daughter has ever lived, and it’s where lots of our friends are

51. And finally…one of the best things about living in Crystal Palace the view over London, especially on New Year’s Eve, and at night.

Thanks for having us, Crystal Palace (and let me know if I’ve missed anything from the list).




11 Comments

  • Up in the air |

    September 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    […] are definitely moving in the right direction (thank you so much for the amazing response to my Crystal Palace post. It’s making me all nostalgic and we haven’t even left yet). We’re in that […]

  • Things to do with children in London this autumn and winter |

    November 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    […] very nearly Bonfire night, so that means it’s time for fireworks. The Crystal Palace Park ones have a session just for children, with less noisy fireworks and an earlier start of 7pm […]

  • Sheryl Fernando

    November 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Just discovered your blog and love it. As a former two time house owner in CP I was wondering where you are moving to? We moved to sydenham but with baby no 2 on the way are hopefully moving again soon. Have you found somewhere as vibrant as CP?

    1. gillian

      November 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      Hello! And thank you 😀 We’re hoping to move to Bromley, which seems really lovely. Very different though (but then CP is pretty unique, isn’t it? Such a shame everyone else has discovered it too). Let me know where you’re thinking of moving to x

  • Christmas for children at Kensington Palace |

    December 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    […] one palace to another; on Saturday we headed to the children’s Christmas festivities at the west London […]

  • A moving story |

    December 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    […] In just under two weeks time – on my birthday, no less  – we’ll be moving down the hill and up the road to an actual house. Still in London, but further out. What Kirsty and Phil would […]

  • Kylee

    January 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Gillian
    Thanks for the post. We live in Norwood Junction and have a 12 mo old baby…. haven’t ventured out much in our local area but have friends coming for a Sunday lunch in a couple weeks – I have noted your recommended pubs etc…. any particular recommendations for a Sunday lunch with young ones? Thanks in advance! Kylee

    1. gillian

      January 24, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Hello! Would you be heading up to the Triangle? If so The Sparrowhawk and The Alma are both lovely for lunch and very child-friendly (I’d book The Sparrowhawk though as it gets very busy). I miss CP! Hope you have a good lunch, let me know how you get on xx.

  • Ingela P. Arrhenius prints from Archie’s Boutique |

    January 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    […] Boutique is the brainchild of Sarah, a Crystal Palace mum (*waves back up the hill*). If you don’t know it already, it’s fantastic – […]

  • Andy

    March 17, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    CEE PEE even my cat had that tag in the 80’s
    Just spent weekend there after 20 years away. Special place oh and met special lady there
    I could move back just make the triangle car free .I used to do the triangle three times on friday nights wow it was good

  • A chalkboard wall and toddler reading corner |

    July 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

    […] cloud mobile and rainbow cushion were from a shop in Crystal Palace, and were the first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant. The other cushions are Ikea […]

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