I no longer feel part of the community here than anywhere else I have lived.
I founded Crystal Palace Artists Open House in 2019 right after my move because there is a fantastic creative community full of enthusiasm. We are taking a break this year because of the Covid but we will be back in 2022.
Where to eat and drink
There are plenty of really cool independent places in the Triangle, where three main streets intersect in the heart of Crystal Palace. Coopers is a bakery by day and a bar by night, decked out in old, and Varanda took over an abandoned building with Mexican street food and great cocktails. Alma is ideal for an outdoor drink.
The Crystal Palace Park is huge, this is obviously where the Crystal Palace was moved after the Great Exhibition; before it was called Penge Place. Westow Park is really cool, there is a great community of dog walkers and it’s great for the kids. The lakes of South Norwood are beautiful and you can sail with them Croydon Sailing Club.
British military fitness has a new location in Crystal Palace Park run by two former paratroopers who train 18-75 year olds with the same encouragement. The Crystal Palace National Sports Center is unique. My son attends Deep Dish beach volleyball there and the GB team is training next door so there is a fantastic atmosphere.
Crystal Palace Festival is on for the rest of August in the renovated Crystal Palace Park Bowl with everything from big names to local musicians, free movie nights and workshops. There was an eight-year local campaign to reopen the old cinema and now it’s an Everyman. It hosts Crystal Palace International Film Festivall every March.
If I’m honest, my apartment is almost my dream property. This is a beautiful historic Victorian house in the heart of it all, close to the Triangle, has a huge garden and backs onto Stambourne Woods which is a hidden oasis. Harold Road is also charming, with large, chic houses overlooking the recreation grounds.
To be honest, I don’t ride a bike because the hills are a bit intimidating. But the transport here is really good, there are buses that take you directly to Brixton and you can catch a train to Victoria, London Bridge or Canary Wharf from Crystal Palace or Gipsy Hill. It’s also on the Overground network.
Crystal Palace Food Market is like our own mini-borough market. Crystal’s Cookies is run by a guy who cooks in his kitchen and takes them out fresh to sell at the stand and they are fantastic. Sainsbury’s offers free parking for people shopping in the Triangle, not just at the supermarket, which is a great boost for local shops.
Only in Crystal Palace?
Where would you find dinosaurs and sphinxes in the local park?
What’s the catch?
Rents are going up because it’s a booming field, so it’s tough for small businesses. It’s a shame because it is this uniqueness that attracts people.
In three words
Creative, community, green.
Rockmount Primary Schools, David Livingstone Academy, Paxton Primary and St Joseph’s RC Junior School are all rated Outstanding by Ofsted. For high school students, Harris City Academy is exceptional as there are several “good” high schools nearby.