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Crystal Palace area guide

Keep busy in Crystal Palace with Time Out's guide to restaurants, bars, pubs and things to do in SE19

Crystal Palace occupies a privileged position in the topography of London – one of the highest points in the city, at 367 feet. The views, consequently, are amazing and the streets steep. The hub of the community is the central triangle formed by the one-way system of Church Road, Westow Hill and Westow Street, lined with pubs, restaurants like Joanna's and Exhibitions Rooms, and independent shops. Vintage is big here and the area is best on a Sunday morning, when junk shops and stalls spill out on to the pavements of Church Road. The glass palace that gave the area its name burnt down back in 1936 but the accompanying park is still a local asset with its famous dinosaurs and National Sports Centre.

The best bits of Crystal Palace

Eight brilliant reasons to go and explore Crystal Palace this weekend
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Eight brilliant reasons to go and explore Crystal Palace this weekend

Crystal Palace has it all – it’s leafy, eccentric, unpretentiously bohemian, easy to navigate and just 20 minutes by train south of central London. Its appeal is driven largely by its countless vintage boutiques, designer coffee shops, giddy antique dealers, knockout restaurants, and regular oh-so-fabulous continental food markets. Aside from its illustrious history (remember that big old glass palace that burned down?) a visit to Crystal Palace guarantees some gorgeous views of London and gives you the chance to meet plenty of nice local folk who are ready to draw you into the warm bosom of proper south-London society. So here are eight brilliant reasons to make a date to explore Crystal Palace. 1. The view   A photo posted by Marine (@marine.b.b) on Jul 12, 2016 at 12:39am PDT At exactly 367 feet above the metropolis, Crystal Palace occupies a very privileged, very fabulous position in London, overlooking the epic grandeur of our lovely city and beyond. From Anerley Hill, you’ll see all the way out to the sprawling hills of Kent and Sussex (on a clear day) and from Gipsy Hill (pictured), to city icons like St Paul’s, the Gherkin and the Shard. For the best views, walk down the entire length of Woodland Road – once you hit the intersection at Camden Hill Road, squint and you’ll see Big Ben and even the tippy top of Her Maj’s palace. Best time to go? At sunset for golden cityscapes and some extreme cloud porn.  2. The shopping   A photo posted by Sm

Everything you need to know about vintage shopping in Crystal Palace
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Everything you need to know about vintage shopping in Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace has made a name for itself as a go-to hub for vintage shopping, whether you’re after rare furniture, clothing or a snazzy print for your wall. If you haven’t visited yet, venture down south with this short guide (and bring lots of money for goodies). Church Road, which makes up one third of the Crystal Palace triangle, is the heart of vintage shopping in the area with plenty of shops populating this busy street. Bambinos was the first to appear 27 years ago, and it's still going strong today. It's also home to the popular café Boyce Da Roca. Further round the triangle, off Westow Street, you’ll find Haynes Lane Market, a two-floor treasure trove and hoarders' paradise. Well worth a browse – you could find anything from books and vinyls to trinkets and train sets. With furniture up front and clothing further back, you could occupy yourself for a while browsing through the stock at Crystal Palace Vintage. Vintage pieces are reasonably priced, too. Crystal Palace Antiques is home to four floors of vintage delights for the home, with a previous find including a black Eames DSW chair for £28. Designs of Modernity occupies part of the basement of this Jasper Road treasure, with around ten other dealers occupying the rest of the space.   <img id="08732496-bec7-6d92-3538-4c354b6a7883" data-caption="" data-credit="James Balston Photography" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="920473" loaded="920473" image_id="102908591" src="http://media.timeou

Restaurants in Crystal Palace

Joanna's
Restaurants Book online

Joanna's

Joanna’s is a Crystal Palace stalwart, known to locals as the place to go if you want a bit of West End glam without the journey. Wood panelling, whitewashed brick walls and a well-stocked wooden bar bring to mind an old-school New York vibe. Waiting staff are smartly turned out in black and white and there are linen tablecloths, starched napkins and polished cutlery, but the ambience is far from stuffy. Brasserie classics such as steak frites and smoked haddock with poached egg are interspersed with favourites from further afield, including king prawn tempura, thai fish cakes and crispy duck salad. Although the menu does feel a little disparate, dishes are executed with aplomb. Baked cod with olive oil mash was cooked to perfection and beautifully complemented by a sweet red pepper compote. Onglet steak with fries and garlic butter was simple and satisfying. Sticky toffee pudding also delivered, with a light sponge and finger-licking toffee sauce. Don’t expect to be blown away by innovation – Joanna’s popularity is down to excellent service and good-quality food in stylish surroundings.  

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Crystal Palace Market
Restaurants Book online

Crystal Palace Market

 This bustling all-day restaurant, not to be confused with Crystal Palace Food Market, has become part of the critical mass that is turning Crystal Palace into a food destination (others notable venues include the branch of the Blackbird Bakery, and the upmarket cheese, wine and beer shop Good Taste Food & Drink. The look of this new-style brasserie is bang on-trend with bare-brick walls, white Brooklyn-esque tiling, wooden floors, the de rigueur open kitchen and a large central shared table.The vibe is friendly and welcoming, and the menu simple: eggs and omelettes for breakfast, a selection of burgers at lunchtime and, at dinner, the big Josper grill that takes pride of place in the kitchen makes light work of the proteins. The British and ethical origins of gurnard, salmon, whiting and wild sea bass (all displayed on ice) are proclaimed on the menu, and steaks are 28-day matured and prime British. Fish, fowl and meat main courses are served with chips and a sauce (including excellent own-made ketchup), while side dishes – salad, potato gratin and the like – cost about £3.Our roast gurnard was a touch on the dry side owing to the searing heat of the Josper grill, but our starter of padrón peppers benefited from the quick, dry heat. A veggie dish of roast sweet potato and butternut squash, with its smoky, charred edge, was spot-on. There’s a decent range of wines and classic cocktails while desserts are of the crowd-pleasing sort: red velvet cake, chocolate fondant, and ice

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Book online
Brown & Green
Restaurants Book online

Brown & Green

Venue says: “It's sunshine salads and smoothies time! Pop in and try our daily changing specials to make you ziiiiiiiing!”

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Exhibition Rooms
Restaurants Book online

Exhibition Rooms

The Exhibition Rooms continues to offer a winning combination bang in the heart of the Crystal Palace triangle. It’s a venue that can satisfy a number of criteria depending on when you go. For lunch, this leafy brasserie with lime green walls and light streaming in through sash windows is a relaxed choice for a smart yet unpretentious meal. In the evening, with large glittering chandeliers and soft lighting, it takes on a cosy, intimate feel. The downstairs bar, all leather and velvet in reds and purples, has a DJ at the weekends and a decked beer garden. On our lunchtime visit, the food was as reliable as ever, with a menu offering smart brasserie dishes alongside gastro favourites. Tender duck with a rich jus and crisp rösti was skilfully prepared and well presented. No less effort was given to the ‘signature’ burger, a satisfying stack laden with quality beef and accompanied by a tangy onion chutney. Sticky toffee pudding, complete with retro spun-sugar basket, was equally competent. Service was friendly and prompt, and the comprehensive drinks list runs from great cocktails to a global choice of wines, with plenty by the glass. It’s not the place for cutting-edge cuisine, but it’s a reliable choice for well prepared meals with classic flavour combinations.  

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Book online
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Crystal Palace highlights

Crystal Palace Park
Attractions

Crystal Palace Park

Children going through the dinosaur phase always enjoy a visit to 'the monsters' - five dinosaur sculptures that lurk among the trees around the lake. The remains of a Victorian pre-historic theme park created on the site by Benjamin Waterhouse-Hawkins, the dinosaurs were restored in 2003.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Crystal Palace Food Market
Shopping

Crystal Palace Food Market

Great south London food market that has loads of scrummy goods on offer, including Malaysian street food, Bickertons fruit vinegar and gluten-free pastries.  

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars

Bars and pubs in Crystal Palace

Westow House
Bars and pubs

Westow House

Dog-friendly ale pub with eight pumps, craft beer in the fridge and a 1950s pinball machine

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Beer Rebellion
Bars and pubs

Beer Rebellion

Beer, burgers and a little bit more at this independent bar, which began life as a pop-up, but is so popular they've stayed put.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Cocktail Embassy
Bars and pubs Buy tickets

Cocktail Embassy

Venue says: “Happy hour every day 5-8pm and Sunday all day. Exclusive cocktails and DJ over the weekend. Open until 3am... what else do you need?”

Time Out says
  • 2 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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The White Hart
Bars and pubs

The White Hart

The White Hart may have all the usual cask ales and specialty ciders that you find in just about every pub in London, but it also has a 'stitch and bitch' knitting club, quiz night, open mic night and craft cocktails for a fiver.

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Love London Awards: last year's winners

Restaurants

Sicilian Art

Sicilian pizzeria run by Giulian, who has been making pizzas since he was 16, so he knows a thing or two about the circular dish – Giulian even won second place for taste in the 2008 World Pizza Championship. Sicilian Art also have a BYOB policy with a £1 corkage.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Brown & Green
Restaurants Book online

Brown & Green

Venue says: “It's sunshine salads and smoothies time! Pop in and try our daily changing specials to make you ziiiiiiiing!”

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Book online
Crystal Palace Food Market
Shopping

Crystal Palace Food Market

Great south London food market that has loads of scrummy goods on offer, including Malaysian street food, Bickertons fruit vinegar and gluten-free pastries.  

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Crystal Palace Park
Attractions

Crystal Palace Park

Children going through the dinosaur phase always enjoy a visit to 'the monsters' - five dinosaur sculptures that lurk among the trees around the lake. The remains of a Victorian pre-historic theme park created on the site by Benjamin Waterhouse-Hawkins, the dinosaurs were restored in 2003.

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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See the full results of last year's Love London Awards

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