By MATT DAVIES, JULY 2017
The explosion of social media has made the world a much smaller place. A sense of adventure has gripped people of all generations, which to me seems a wonderful thing. Taking in new sights, trying new things and embracing different cultures help make us who we are in many cases. And on a more shallow note, the world is, simply put, full of cool stuff to see and discover.
However, you don’t have to trek the length and breadth of the world for these – there are a number of hidden gems sat right here in our great capital and the areas surrounding it.
One such, oft overlooked, spectacle sits right in Crystal Palace Park, SE19.
An old palace hidden among trees and other shrubbery, all of which contributes to this long-forgotten aesthetic, further optimised by the authentic rubble steps and intriguingly out of place sphinxes. It was originally built in 1831 in Hyde Park, only to be dismantled and rehomed in 1834 where it currently takes up residency in South London.
Just three years later, the palace experienced a fire so fierce, it was said the blaze let off a glow so bright that people stood and watched it as far off as Brighton. What’s left today is a rare insight into a bygone time – if you fancy a look at some long-lost beauty, without the time, cost and commitment an intercontinental expedition necessitates, you need look no further than here.
Also at home, and well worth a look, are the Crystal Palace dinosaurs. Much can be said on these – a job for a different blog – but nobody gives a more insightful account of their origin and purpose than Bill Bryson in his work A Short History of Nearly Everything.