Crystal Palace Park

A few weeks ago, I promised that I would return to Crystal Palace and take some views of the park. When the government decreed that the Crystal Palace could not remain in Hyde Park, designer Joseph Paxton formed the Crystal Palace Company to buy the palace and relocate it to a site on Sydenham Hill. It’s worth reading the more detailed history on Wikipedia. On that page you will find a map of the park as it was in 1857 which you may wish to keep open as it will allow you to picture where each of the items I choose for this post is located.

When you exit Crystal Palace Station, there is a wall that abuts to the Railway Colonnade that has a pretty mural advertising things in the park including the National Sports Centre and the Dinosaurs…

Crystal Sauropod Train

As you leave the station, you will find a footpath signpost…

Crystal Palace Park Sign

…Quite a lot of walking routes pass through the park.

If you walk in the general direction of the mast in the background you will climb through some trees until you find the Italianate Lower Terrace…

Crystal Palace Terrace_01

…and get a clear view of Crystal Palace TV transmitter mast which occupies part of original Palace site at the top right hand end on the map.. The grassy bank between the sections of terrace was once one of the sets of steps leading up to the lower terrace. Only the central set of steps remain to allow access to the next level. On the lower terrace, nothing remains of the fountains but the central steps to the Upper Terrace are still there to give a vague feeling of how elegant the gardens once were…

Crystal Palace Terrace_02

…The grassy mound beyond is where The Crystal Palace itself was sited.

At the top left of the plan of the gardens, one of the original entrances to the Palace now serves as a bus station…

Crystal Palace Bus Station

Back in the park and at each end of the Upper Terrace, the steps down from the Palace itself remain complete with flanking Sphinx’…

Crystal Palace Sphinx

…These ones at the right hand end of the terrace are below the TV transmitter.

The Crystal Palace Bowl sits below the terrace at this point, just a little further to the right..

Crystal Palace Bowl

…The original structure, built in 1961, resembled a miniature Hollywood Bowl. It fell into disrepair and was replaced with the current structure in 1997. This ‘Bowl’ has also fallen into disrepair but the local council are looking at potential future uses for the stage.

All of the central fountains shown on the map have disappeared. However, the Intermediate Reservoir remains and is used by a fishing club…

Reservoir - Crystal Palace Park

The area where the main central fountains and cascades once stood has been taken over by the National Sports Centre – this view is from the right hand side of the map…

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

In the area where the lower reservoir was located, there are now public toilets, a restaurant and this rather colourful container bar serving booze and ices…

Booze n Ices - Crystal Palace Park

…and the southern section of the central avenue remains as a tree-lined walk…

Crystal Palace Park Avenue

…although now, the steps midway lead up to the National Sports Centre.

The Lake on the bottom left of the map remains and is partly used as a boating facility. That’s where we find the Tertiary and Secondary islands – home of the Dinosaurs. I will be showing them in a separate post 😎


  1. I’m so glad you shared Crystal Palace Park with me, Martin. I have been fascinated with the original Crystal Palace for some time, having been introduced through a British television historical drama on “Masterpiece Theater.” When first introduced to the public it must have been quite an occasion. The whole park and pathways must make for a wonderful visit And the photo of the tree canopy is outstanding, I really enjoyed this piece, Martin.

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