Walks with views: Crouch Hill to Alexandra Palace
Spectacular views of iconic buildings, from shimmering financial towers to a gleaming palace
By Kimberley Smith
Begin with a meander beside the old railway route, by jumping on to the Parkland Walk (S) anywhere between Finsbury Park and Crouch Hill. Take the turning signed for Crouch Hill Station and leave the walk just before the old Crouch End platforms, avoiding the wet paint of fresh graffiti, looking out for muntjac deer playing in the undergrowth along the way.
Exiting the Parkland Walk and turning right on to Crouch Hill (1), you are hit with iconic views in two directions. Behind you are the City, the Gherkin and Canary Warf, while ahead are the glassy sides and towering spokes of your destination, Alexandra Palace.
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The next section of your route follows residential roads, through the Victorian terraces of north London as you head downhill, descending behind rows of houses. Here the streets are wide and quiet, lined with trees and magnificent houses that will give you a bad case of property envy.
Join the Broadway at Crouch End, where you can stock up on snacks or stop for a break in one of the many cafés and pubs that line the way, such as The King’s Head (2) or Haberdashery café (3). At the latter you can enjoy some old vinyl sounds along with wholesome recipes made from seasonal ingredients.
Taking Middle Lane will lead you away from town, down more sleepy streets and up to Priory Park (4). This is a small, picturesque park, with free tennis courts, wide open spaces and a kids’ paddling pool in the summer. Don’t be tempted to sit down for a picnic just yet, though, as you’re hop and a skip from Alexandra Park, which sprawls out before the palace that dominates your peripheral vision.
Arriving at the base of Alexandra Park (5) from Park Avenue North, you find yourself slap bang in the middle, underneath the huge circular window and with plenty of space to stop and catch your breath. Named after Alexandra of Denmark who married Edward, the Prince of Wales, in 1863, Alexandra Palace has had a chequered history, catching alight in huge blazes in both 1873 and 1980.
It’s perhaps best remembered by locals, though, for its recent role as an impromptu ski slope on Snow Day. The most spectacular view is still to come, south from the palace (E), as you traipse higher and higher... and turn to face a fabulous panorama of the city, from the terraced hills you’ve been walking through to the financial towers shimmering in the distance. What else can you spot from here?