Crystal Palace: area guide to homes, schools and transport links
Property area guide on Crystal Palace with average property prices, current houses and flats for sale, best streets, up-and-coming areas and commuting times.
New warehouse-style flats and converted apartments.
There is a large choice of well-rated schools for all ages in the area.
This area is dominated by singles, couples and young families looking for somewhere cheaper than nearby Dulwich.
Mayor Boris Johnson descended on the lively south-east London suburb of Crystal Palace in October 2013 to announce Chinese funding for a “new” Crystal Palace to be built on the site of the original Victorian building that housed The Great Exhibition in 1851.
The Shanghai-based ZhongRong investment group plans a giant glasshouse the size of five football pitches and six storeys high, likely to house a hotel, plus conference and exhibition centres. It could also pave the way for the much-needed restoration of neighbouring Crystal Palace Park.
The Joseph Paxton-designed palace, which was moved to the area in 1854 after the exhibition in Hyde Park, became the world’s first “theme park” and hosted 20 FA Cup finals. But it burned down in 1936.
While today’s local residents are delighted by news of the reconstruction, right now they would like someone to sort out the traffic that blights the “Crystal Palace Triangle”, the town-centre trio of streets where recent regeneration has been most obvious since the London Overground line arrived.
Community groups saw off earlier unsympathetic plans for the palace site, and there is much excitement about the likely reopening of a beautifully tiled subway — the only part of the building to survive the flames.
Until it adopted the name of its landmark building, Crystal Palace was known as Upper Norwood. High up on a hill it has some of the best views in London northwards to the City and south over open countryside to the North Downs. The area has suffered from being located at the boundary of five boroughs — Bromley, Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon — but this has given the town an independent spirit that has kept high street chains away while allowing quirky pubs, restaurants and shops to flourish.
Crystal Palace developed from the mid-19th century with the arrival of the two stations and rail companies bringing tourists to the area. Many of the large Victorian mansions around the park have been converted into highly prized flats, but large Victorian houses remain in family ownership in the Fox Hill conservation area between the town centre and Crystal Palace station. Estate agent Tyrone Eneh of the local Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward branch calls Crystal Palace a multicultural village with boutiques, bars and restaurants that for a long time was overlooked but is now increasingly sought after.
The most expensive home currently for sale in SE19, the Crystal Palace postcode, is in Beulah Hill. The seven-bedroom detached early Victorian house with a separate coach house is on the market for £2.25 million. In the Fox Hill conservation area two-bedroom Victorian cottages start at about £500,000 and four-bedroom houses start at about £800,000.
The area attracts: Tyrone Eneh says it’s a happy hunting ground for first-time buyers with one-bedroom flats starting at about £220,000. Since the arrival of the East London line in 2010, the area has become popular with young professionals and couples working in the Canary Wharf banks.
Staying power: the search for good state secondary schools drives some families out to the home counties.
Postcode: SE19, the Norwood postcode is the main Crystal Palace postcode but there are also roads in SE20, the Anerley postcode and SE26, the Sydenham postcode. As Tyrone Eneh points out almost everything with an SE postcode is cheaper than something with an SW postcode.
Best roads: in the Fox Hill conservation area these are Fox Hill itself, Belvedere Road, Tudor Road and Cintra Park — they are also an easy walk from the station. To the north, Crystal Palace Park Road has magnificent houses turned into roomy flats.
Up and coming: Crystal Palace has a number of 1960s houses and flats that are less popular than period homes and are therefore cheaper. For example 1960s detached modern houses in Braybrook Gardens, adjacent to Fox Hill, sell for around £450,000, while the Dulwich Estate owns a number of blocks of flats off College Road, where two-bedroom flats sell for around £280,000.
Travel and commuting: Crystal Palace station is now on the East London overground line and the journey to Canary Wharf, changing at Canada Water takes around 22 minutes; there are also trains to London Bridge and Victoria taking around 26 minutes. The station is in Zone 3 and an annual railcard costs £1,424. The number 3 bus connects Crystal Palace with the West End ending at Oxford Circus.
Shops and restaurants: the Triangle of roads in the town centre — Westow Hill, Westow Street and Church Road — has a good selection of independent shops and restaurants as well as a large Sainsbury’s. Worth looking out for are: The Milkhouse Candle Co; Simon Carter, a small menswear chain with other branches in Mayfair, Bloomsbury, Wendover and Ilkley; Blackbird Bakery; the Crow on the Hill bookshop, and the Living Water Satisfies café.
Also try Good Taste for cheese and wine; Numidie, a French-Algerian wine bar and bistro; long-standing local restaurant Joanna’s; The Exhibition Rooms restaurant and cocktail bar, for modern British food, and traditional Italian restaurant Lorenzo’s. Newcomer The Crystal Palace Market is an all-day brasserie that is opening a butchers and fishmongers soon. Church Street is full of “curiosity” shops and at the antiques market in nearby Jasper Road, many people make a beeline for top mid-century furniture dealer Designs of Modernity in the basement.
Vintage Hart sells vintage clothes from Thursday to Sunday at the White Hart pub and there is an antiques and vintage market in Haynes Lane, with an outside Saturday food market. The Secret Garden is a well-stocked garden centre behind Sainsbury’s by Westow Park, and of the growing number of gastropubs, The Sparrowhawk in Westow Hill is among the best.
Open space: Crystal Palace Park is the listed, 200-acre park that was created when the palace moved from Hyde Park to south London. It has many much loved features such as the life-sized model dinosaurs with a free mobile phone app, a children’s zoo, a fishing lake and café.
However, much of the park, especially the fine Italian terraces, are now in a shocking state of disrepair and the central area is dominated by ugly and underused car parks serving the National Sports Centre. The park has been blighted by decades of arguments about the future of the site where the crystal palace once stood; and in spite of a Stage 1 bid to the Heritage Lottery fund, realistically there is no prospect of immediate improvement now Bromley council has signed an exclusivity agreement until February 2015 with ZhongRong Holdings.
Leisure and the arts: The National Sports Centre in Crystal Palace Park has a famous athletics track and stadium and a listed sports centre with a rare 50 metre swimming pool; sports halls, a gym and new beach ball volley pitches. Locals continue to campaign for a cinema; in the meantime during November 2013 cinema-goers have the fourth annual Crystal Palace International Film Festival to enjoy at various local venues, finishing on Saturday (Nov 9) with a comedy night hosted by local resident, comedian Mark Steel.
Council: Bromley (Conservative-controlled) Band D Council tax 2013/2014 £1,313.08; Lambeth (Labour-controlled) Band D Council tax 2013/2014 £1,228.29; Southwark Council (Labour-controlled), Band D council tax 2013/2014 £1,215.14; Croydon (Conservative-controlled), Band D council tax 2013/2014 1,474.9; Lewisham (Labour-controlled), Band D council tax 2013/2014 £1,363.35.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE: CRYSTAL PALACE
* When did the Glaziers become the Eagles?
Crystal Palace Football Club began life playing in the Southern League division two on 2 September 1905 at a ground in Crystal Palace Park. Not surprisingly the team were known as the Glaziers. In 1973 Malcolm Allison became manager and the team changed its crest and became known as the Eagles.
* How is Crystal Palace linked with our recent Spotlight on Paddington?
Two water towers stood at each end of the Crystal Palace. They held the water that powered the fountains in the park and were designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was responsible for building the Great Western Railway and Paddington station.
* How was TV history made in Crystal Palace?
Between 1933 and 1936, the Baird Company, the company started by television pioneer John Logie Baird, had extensive TV studios under the main concourse of the Crystal Palace. The studios were destroyed in the 1936 fire but the Crystal Palace TV transmitter, which until Canary Wharf was built, was the tallest building in London, remains a famous landmark.
Five-year property price trends: Crystal Palace comparison with UK average
Average prices: Buying flats and houses in Crystal Palace