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Best Things to do in Crystal Palace: Dinosaurs, Street Art and More

Best Things to do in Crystal Palace: Dinosaurs, Street Art and More

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It’s time to discover South London – from dinos to street art, these are the top things to do in Crystal Palace. Here’s where to dine, drink, visit and more.

Although the eponymous Crystal Palace is sadly no longer with us, the area that shared its name remains one of the best-hidden gems in South-East London.

Crystal Palace has undergone significant regeneration in recent years and is now a bustling area full of great places to eat and drink and plenty to see and do. 

Ready to explore? These are the best things to do in Crystal Palace…

Things to do in Crystal Palace

Walk Among Dinosaurs

Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

Yes, you read that right – take a step back to the Neolithic, Jurassic and various other prehistoric eras in Crystal Palace Park by wandering among the range of Crystal Palace’s famous Dinosaur sculptures.

Sure to send children of all ages (even fully grown ones with beards) into raptures, stroll around the park and marvel at the stunningly intricate sculptures that have gone so far to form our understanding of what dinosaurs look like today.

The Dinosaur park was constructed between 1853 and 1855 and has mainly remained intact ever since. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins sculpted the fantastic creatures set in a landscape designed by Joseph Paxton. 

In fact, this exhibition was a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and has definitely stood the test of time!

Read Next: Where to Spot the Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

Hunt Out the Street Art

We think that you can tell when an area reaches ‘cool’ status when its street art becomes an attraction in itself. Crystal Palace is no different, with several incredible pieces springing up throughout the area.

Renowned Crystal Palace-based artist Mr. Cenz has more than three decades of experience in the street art scene and has inspired a brand-new generation of street artists. 

Our favourite pieces by Mr. Cenz are on Park Road, just around the corner from Crystal Palace FC’s Selhurst Park, and his piece next to Tesco Express on Anerley Hill, along with nearby Rinse and Repeat by Sr.X, also on Anerley Hill. 

Get your camera phones out, dial up the resolution, and snap these wonderfully vibrant and diverse artistic creations.

Enjoy Crystal Palace Park

Green Chain Walk - Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park is one of South London’s best parks, worthy of a day out in its own right. The park formerly housed the famous Crystal Palace, sadly destroyed by fire in 1936. Only a few remains of the site still stand, including the steps that initially led up to the palace.

Other attractions in the park include the Dinosaurs (though they deserved their own mention), a brand-new 1,100 square metre skatepark, the beautifully crafted and manicured maze dating back to 1870, the Crystal Palace museum and the National Sports Centre, which hosted the FA Cup final between 1895 and 1914.

Steeped in history and thriving with activity, we love spending sunny days in Crystal Palace Park, and we’re convinced you will too.

Wander Through Sydenham Hill Wood

Sydenham Hill Woods

One of the (admittedly many!) things we love about living in London is the easy access to unspoiled nature reserves and natural woodland. And Sydenham Hill Wood is the oldest nature reserve currently protected by Wild London.

Open all year round, we love the colours of springtime and the changing hues during autumn, but this stunning nature walk takes in ancient woodland and Victorian gardens. The wood is home to more than 200 species of trees, rare fungi, birds, insects and woodland mammals you simply wouldn’t expect to find anywhere near South East London.

Explore Cox’s Walk, an 18th-century oak-lined avenue, and the old Nunhead to Crystal Palace railway, with the disused tunnel that is now a registered bat roost. Spooky!

Visit the Crystal Palace Subway

Crystal Palace

Currently closed to the public due to a major renovation project, we urge you to keep an eye open for details on when the Crystal Palace Subway reopens, as you will want to see this unbelievable site.

Located halfway down Crystal Palace Parade, opposite Crystal Palace Park, the subway was previously open to the public three times a year. Originally built to provide pedestrian access to the Crystal Palace from the High-Level station at Crystal Palace in 1865, the subway provided shelter to residents during World War II.

After the High-Level station was closed in 1954, the subway continued to be used by people wanting to access the park before falling into ruin. After being listed by English Heritage, the subway was the location for the Chemical Brothers’ video for their 1996 single Setting Sun before becoming a local cultural events space.

Things to do in Crystal Palace: Eating & Drinking

Yak & Yeti

We love the subtlety of Nepalese cuisine, and Crystal Palace is spoiled with the fayre offered by Yak & Yeti. This modern Nepalese and Indian restaurant also offers some of the most delightful Taiwanese dishes on its diverse and mouth-watering menu.

You cannot visit here without trying the momos. Light and soft parcels of salty delight, complete with a tangy dip, are one of snacking’s treasures. 

We adore their samosas, which are light and fluffy rather than heavy and oily, while their lamb curries provide a melt-in-your-mouth flavour party that has to be tasted to be believed.

Brown & Green at the Station

The Crystal Palace station branch of Brown & Green, like the other three dotted around South East London, is ideal for a leisurely weekend brunch or midweek lunchtime catch-up.

Their sandwiches come packed with tasty goodness, and we’re a sucker for their scrambled eggs with marmite (it’s controversial, we know). 

If this station cafe is too busy, fear not, there are others in Crystal Palace Park and at Crystal Palace Triangle. 

Westow House

Westow House is one of Crystal Palace’s finest gastropubs that combines fantastic pub grub with the perfect pint. Not to mention that there’s an extensive range of gins that will tickle every and all palettes.

Best of all, we love a pub with books lining shelves, and Westow House ticks this particular box with its eclectic selection of reading matter to accompany your beer or cocktail. From classic Shakespeare to the steamy raunch of DH Lawrence, self-help from Pamela Stephenson, or some tomes on South-East London. 

With a glorious outdoor space to enjoy during spring and summer, Westow House will quench your every imaginable thirst.

What to do in Crystal Palace: Practical Tips

  • Crystal Palace is easily accessible by public transport, with regular services further out into South East London and to London terminuses at London Bridge and London Victoria.
  • Crystal Palace is also on the London Overground network, linking West Croydon and Highbury & Islington in North London.
  • Several bus services run from Crystal Palace to destinations across London, and the Number 3, which takes passengers into the heart of London, terminates at Horseguards Avenue in Whitehall.

Things to do in Crystal Palace: Map

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