It is probably fair to say that this spectacle — as well as the bands which perform at Alexandra Palace — are the only things that draw in visitors from outside the area.
As a desirable place to live, Alexandra Park has been thoroughly overshadowed by Muswell Hill half a mile up the road, with its cafés, bars, boutiques and culture. Don’t go looking for good places to eat or fashionable shopping in Alexandra Park’s gloomy sort-of high street, either.
However, house buyers may be missing a trick because the district of Alexandra Park has plenty going for it, including the 200-acre park itself, plus a train station — like Muswell Hill, it doesn’t have a Tube — with services to Moorgate and King’s Cross in about 20 minutes, fantastic local schools and good-value homes.
WHEN SIZE MATTERS
Nigel Ellis, of Prickett & Ellis estate agents, accepts that Alexandra Park may not, per square foot, be very much cheaper than its more high-profile neighbour, but says the wide choice of smaller homes makes it more affordable.
“Not everyone wants to pay £1.5 million for a five-bedroom Edwardian house in Muswell Hill,” he points out. “The houses in Alexandra Park are also Edwardian and very pretty, but they are a more manageable size for some buyers.”
A typical home in Alexandra Park would have four bedrooms, measure about 1,200 to 1,300 sq ft and cost about £900,000. Buyers tend to be couples moving out of central London and trading up from a starter flat to a family home.
In Muswell Hill the houses typically measure about 2,100 sq ft, and are priced at well above £1 million.
A two-bedroom conversion flat in Alexandra Park costs between £375,000 and £425,000. In Muswell Hill an average two-bedroom flat can easily top £600,000.
Alexandra Park’s greatest asset is the Green Flag-winning park, which hosts a regular Sunday farmers’ market.
Alexandra Palace, which stands within the park, is used mostly for antiques fairs. There are also long-term plans to use Lottery funding to open up sections of the palace currently closed to the public.
Local schools are excellent. Both Alexandra Park School, for seniors, and Rhodes Avenue Primary are considered “outstanding” by Ofsted, and Amy Porter, sales negotiator at Hobarts estate agents, says many houses are snapped up by families specifically because of the area’s educational opportunities.
Hakan Bosati, a partner at Tatlers estate agents, agrees that Alexandra Park’s unique selling point is its schools. “They have really put the area on the map,” he says.
The proof of this is the shrinking catchment area of Alexandra Park School which, in 2012, was 0.9 miles. Today it is 0.56 miles as families pack the area, and house prices within this catchment zone are, estimates Bosati, 10 to 15 per cent higher as a result.
Residents wanting to eat out won’t starve to death. There are a couple of cafés within the grounds of the palace and a Bar & Kitchen, with a gastropub-style menu.
But don’t expect to be wowed by Alexandra Park Road where your choice is the Maid of Muswell, The Hilly Kitchen or Owens deli and café.