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Lording over the London skyline, Crystal Palace may boast one of the highest points in the city at Sydenham Hill, but living here comes at a low price.

“It’s like a cheaper version of Shoreditch,” says Calum Mason, director at Crystal Palace estate agency Winkworth. “You’ve got edgy people, vintage clothing stores, some cool 1950s-60s furniture shops, and high-end shops, too.”

Small, quirky stores, such as charcuterie and cheese purveyors Good Taste, cafes and restaurants are packed inside ‘the triangle’, where the main action is found along the suburb’s three main streets.

Why Crystal Palace?

It might have great connections to central London, but the area manages to retain a small town feel.

Get back to nature and check out Crystal Palace Park, where you’ll find a lovely lake and plenty of opportunities to soak up the cityscape.

However, there’s also a distinctly urban vibe thanks to the area’s myriad chilled-out bars. Perhaps even better than all of that, though, is this simple fact: it’s cheap.

Mason says: “Most people coming to rent here are moving from Clapham and Balham, because they can get twice as much for their money.”

Don’t move here if…

You’re averse to exercise. Walking home from the Overground station inevitably involves tackling a steep hill.

If you like to throw your cash around, don’t bother here: it’s more suited to savvy penny-pinchers.

The people

Crystal Palace is home to an invigorating mix of styles and nationalities.

“We’ve got a lot of arty and theatrical people and quite a few folks from the public sector,” reckons Mason.

Where to hang out

The massive park, site of the original Crystal Palace – a grand glass building erected in 1854, which burned down in 1936 – is ideal for sunny days.

If walking up the high hill every day isn’t enough, the National Sports Centre – with gym, climbing wall, swimming pool, tennis court, badminton and squash courts and more – offers a great workout for everyone.

Once you’re fighting fit, treat yourself and enjoy the eateries along Westow Hill. Joanna’s, which dishes up top-notch international cuisine, is open 10am until late, seven days a week, and is one of the area’s most popular restaurants.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that you can bag a three-course meal here for under £17.

“Even the expensive restaurants here are within reach,” says Ben Bussy, a property consultant at estate agent Abode in Crystal Palace. “It’s all reasonable.”

In the evening the trendy people of ‘the triangle’ gather for drinks in The Sparrowhawk, which also serves up great gastro grub.

At Westow House you can sink local ales over a game of table tennis.




Crystal Palace area guide: Live in London's south east
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