Crystal Palace Park - The Future - The Master Plan

Anerley Hill

At the moment, the Anerley Hill edge acts as a barrier with high railings separating pedestrians on the pavement from the Park. Anerley Hill will be the site for the replacement of the Lodge. When the tower block in the centre of the Park is removed, a smaller low rise building will be constructed by the station providing temporary accommodation for visiting athletes and school parties. There is also the potential to provide teaching facilities for Capel Manor College.

Old Palace Site

The Master Plan envisages a new "Tree Palace" rising on the foundations of the Old Palace site. A wide public boulevard would be created bringing the hilltop back into full public use and linking all five of the local boroughs together. A new grid of trees will be planted creating giant open-air 'rooms'. The trees, echoing the footprint of the original palace, will create a canopy five to ten metres in the air.

Terraces and Sunken Gardens

The Italian terraces were a key feature of Paxton's park but over the years they have fallen into a sorry state of disrepair. Under the Master Plan the proposals are to restore the remaining terraces and revive some of their splendour by creating two new sunken gardens. These will be designed for full disabled access with new entrances from the centre of the park, where the old stairways to the terraces used to be, and a series of sloping paths inside leading up to the terraces themselves.

Treetop Walkway

A treetop walkway is planned which would take visitors to the park through the wooded areas of the traditional English landscape. Because of the steep gradient across the length of the park the walkway can start at ground level at both ends, running from near the terraces to Crystal Palace Park Road.


A new gateway for the park could be created, opening up access from Dulwich into the park. Currently the Caravan Club occupies six acres of parkland on a long term lease. The Master Plan would hope to relocate the club outside the park and return just under five acres of the enclosure to parkland. Little over an acre at the edge of the park could be used as a site for housing which could raise £8 million for the park improvements. No decision has been made on housing - it is an option which may not be used.

English Landscape

This traditional English landscape is perhaps the best preserved aspect of the original park. The plans here are to enhance the area while maintaining its character. Proposals include a restoration of the maze and an improved concert area, with a new café facility housed in one of the terrace greenhouses.

Paxton Axis

Joseph Paxton's Grand Central Walkway linking the old Palace site with the Penge entrance will be restored. During the 1960s, the walkway was blocked by the construction of the National Sports Centre, the Athletics Stadium and the concrete podium that contains the indoor athletics track. All that remains of the original is a brief stretch down by the Penge gate. Under the new plans, the podium will be demolished and the Paxton Axis will once again run along the length of the park

Cricket Pitch and Sydenham Gate

The Master Plan will enhance the Sydenham gate with a permanent new entrance to the park. Six villa-style blocks will be built on the former site of the historic villas along Crystal Palace Park Road. This could raise a further £4 million that would help to deliver the Master Plan however no decision has been made yet. The old historic cricket pitch, which was the home ground of Victorian cricketing legend W. G. Grace, would be restored and a new cricket pavillion built. A series of ecological ponds will be created nearby on land that is currently prone to regular flooding. The Park Rangers' facilities will be relocated from the Penge Gate to the site of the old rangers' lodge.

NSC, RSC and Stadium

The Grade II* listed National Sports Centre (NSC) building will be retained but converted into a dry sports pavilion for sports such as five-a-side football and hockey. The NSC currently sits in a bowl where the land will be filled in creating level ground. The Olympic sized 50 metre swimming pool (the only one in London) will be moved to a new Regional Sports Centre (RSC) within the park. It will be built on the site of one of the stadium stands which will sit underground, with an accessible green roof acting as part of the park.

Lower Lakes and Penge Gate

A new dinosaur interpretation centre will be built replacing the shabby buildings that currently exist. This will provide a new educational focal point for the Penge end of the park, wider community park interpretation and information facilities and a revamped café. Boats will be reintroduced onto the lake and much of the existing, unnecessary fencing will be removed.

Capel Manor and Farm

The much loved urban farm is due to reopen in September. Capel Manor, one of the country's leading horticultural and animal husbandry centres has won planning permission from Bromley Council to open the farm again after a long hiatus. The farm will be open 300 days a year, an average of five days a week, including weekends.

Heart of the Park

The centre of the park is currently dominated by tarmac, car parks and roads. The Maser Plan will return this land back to green landscaped parkland. Key features will include an adventure playground built on the foundations of of the current 11 story lodge tower block (which will be demolished), new landscaped water features and a police and first aid pavillion. It will mark out a transitional area which integrates the 'wilder' elements of the Lower Lakes and English landscape with the more formal terraces and gardens.


Two large greenhouses will be constructed flanking either end of the terraces. One will contain Mediterranean plants and the other tropical plants. They will echo the design of the original Palace, which had two large wings on the same sites.

Energy Tower

The 86 m high renewable energy tower, on the site of one of the old Brunel water towers, would act as an iconic symbol for the park, blending cutting technology with respect for the environment. The tower would help power the park through a combination of wind, solar and biomass energy an act as an educational focus point for the park.


Details for the museum concept (which is not included in the costing here) have not been finalised but it is likely to be a new building alongside the subway and on several levels.

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10/7/07 Last updated 10/7/07