I remember when I was a kid, Jurassic Park was a blast !! It looks awesome and tempting, despite the ferocious T-rex and Raptors. I mean…look at how adventurous and amazing the size of the parks and the creatures that live on it.
Of course, this kind of park would never actually exist in real world, it would be quite creepy to raise a real life T-rex in a park, but everything begins with an idea right, and somehow London has a Park with this kind of concept, That Park is Crystal Palace Park.
Crystal Palace Park is a Victorian / English Heritage Grade II pleasure ground, located in the south-east London suburb of Crystal Palace, which was in turn named after The Crystal Palace, which had moved from Hyde Park, London after the 1851 Great Exhibition.
This site has a quite long history, so bear with me for awhile.
After the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, Joseph Paxton appealed for the retention of The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, but the government decreed that the Palace removed. Paxton formed the Crystal Palace Company, and the share issue raised £1.3 million for the purchase of the Palace and a new site at the summit of Sydenham Hill in Kent.
The development of ground and gardens of the park (which straddled the border between Surrey and Kent) cost considerably more than the rebuilt Crystal Palace.
Edward Milner designed the Italian Garden and fountains, the Great Maze, and the English Landscape Garden. Raffaele Monti was hired to design and build much of the external statuary around the fountain basins, and the urns, tazzas, and vases. The series of fountains constructed required the building of two 284 ft high water towers, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, at either end of the palace. The sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was commissioned to make 33 life-sized models, completed in 1854, of the newly discovered dinosaurs and other extinct animals in the park. The park was also given a gift of a megatherium skull by Charles Darwin, which is now moved to National History Museum.
Queen Victoria opened the rebuilt Crystal Palace in June 1854. The park is situated halfway along the Norwood Ridge at one of its highest points. This ridge offers views northward to central London, east to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and Greenwich, and southward to Croydon and the North Downs. Rail access to the park became possible when the Crystal Palace railway station opened in 1854.
The park has been used for various sporting activities from its early days. The Crystal Palace Park Cricket Ground was created on the site in 1857. In 1894, the two largest fountains were grassed over and the south basin was converted to a football stadium in 1895. The stadium was used for the FA Cup Finals for 20 years starting with the 1895 FA Cup Final – 1914. Sadly In 1936, The Crystal Palace burnt down, and some site was severely damaged, not just from the high fire but also from the air raid during the second world war in 1941.
This Park offers several place of interest such as:
- The Italian Terraces with their sculptures survive from the destroyed Crystal Palace (The upper and lower terraces linked by flights of steps with sphinxes flanking each flight).
- The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, a group of sculptures of dinosaurs and extinct mammals complete with a ‘geological’ landscape, are in and around the ‘tidal lake’ on the south-east side of the park.
- A free maze. The maze is 160 ft in diameter and occupies a total area of nearly 2000 square yards. This maze use originally dates from about 1870 is one of the largest mazes in the country. (In its heydey it was a popular place for a stroll after tea, it is sometimes known as the tea maze).
- Former Boating Area
- Children Playground
- Children Farm
- Fishing Lake
- And a concert platform.
Despite how far it is from central London, I was deeply in love with this park, and one of my five favourite gardens and park in London.
It so serene and somehow give an enchanted old ruins vibe. It was an ideal place to let yourself away from hectic city life.
It’s also a perfect place for family fun day, I’m sure your kids would love to go to this Victorian “Jurassic Park” to see a Dinosaur on their real life size, and learn some fun fact about it from the description panel, and the audio trails that you could listen to from your smartphone in here.
Before I closed today’s post, Here’s some Tips & Tricks for you who planning to visit Crystal Palace Park:
- To get to this place you need to change. The first station would be White Chapel on (Hammersmith Line) Pink Line on your tube map and move to Crystal Palace on (London Overground) Orange line on your tube map. (Make sure to check the train will stop in crystal palace first before went into the train.) it takes ± 30 minutes train journey from central London.
- If you’re confused, download Tube Map London Underground Apps by Visual IT Limited from your google play store. This map could be used offline and give you a direction on how to get to a specific station.
- The park is ± 12 minutes walk from the station.
- The Park Open Every day from Monday – Sunday generally from 07:30 a.m. – 18:00 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday open from 09:00 a.m.)
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Cheers from London !! 😉