Crystal Palace is, as one mother described it, ridiculously baby-friendly. There are reams of baby shops and little coffee shops and all the pubs have highchairs and changing tables. One pub I went to for a first birthday party – Bar 25- had a baby mat at the back, with a box of toys and they show free films on weekday afternoons.
The area has spectacular view over London, which brings me to its downside. The hills. Oh good grief, the hills. There’s one that I pushed a 2-year-old Reuben down in a buggy laden with baby shower paraphernalia and two massive bags of baby clothes. When I say “pushed”, I mean I mainly clung on to him and tried not to let the buggy speed away. Going back up the hill (thankfully minus the baby clothes) was also interesting. In an almost-killing-me way. I was also 5 months pregnant at the time. So, the hills aren’t for me. That’s why I live in a river basin. But provided you can cope with those, it’s a lovely, well-equipped and very family-friendly part of London.
So, what is there to do there?
As well as bar 25, there’s the Living Waters cafe, also full of babies and also stocked with toys and there’s the huge (and somewhat perplexing) Crystal Palace Park, with the Victorian dinosaurs, lovely playground and farm.
What do the locals say?
“There’s lots of parks, baby groups, loads of other parents”
“For the kids – The dinosaurs, the farm, the cafes, ALL the parks, the library, the toddler groups. For grown ups the triangle – local shops in 3 handy streets that link up, cheese/beer shop and indie book shop being the highlights, the views across London, the fresh air, the parks, good pubs, the annual summer local festival in the park, the sense of community…”
“many baby friendly places and pubs, the baby friendly film showings, the house prices not being too excessive, the many wonderful people that live there, the open spaces…and the hills are great free exercise.”
Connections to Central London
Overland (Crystal Palace and Anerley, into Victoria)
Night buses N3