Alexandra Palace: Views, a park and a growing cluster of independent shops
- Credit: Archant
Muswell Hill’s quieter eastern neighbour, the streets north of the Palace and the Park are popular with young families who move there for the spacious period housing and excellent state schools. The hill also offers stunning views over London and plentiful green space so is a popular spot for a stroll.
Alexandra Palace is situated in the London Borough of Haringey within the N22 postal district. It is in the Hornsey and Wood Green parliamentary constituency. The total council tax bill for Band A properties in Haringey is £989.35; for properties in the average Band D it’s £1,484.01; Band H homes pay £2,968.02.
The average price of a two-bedroom flat in the area is £440,804; for a terrace it’s £810,323 and for a semi-detached home it’s £989,000. Homes are predominantly very large Victorian and Edwardian properties and there are some streets of inter-War properties fitting into the style of the area.
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Alexandra Palace is home to many young families who have moved to the area specifically for its popular and oversubscribed state schools. Rhodes Avenue Primary School is a particularly popular option, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Comprehensive co-ed Alexandra Park secondary school was also rated ‘outstanding’ for both the school and sixth form.
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Transport links within this part of north London as a whole are currently its weak link and many residents rely on cars. Transport infrastructure is improving, however, and with the proposed addition of a Crossrail 2 station in Alexandra Palace, the area is ripe for investment now. Alexandra Palace station is served by the Hertford Loop, which provides a fast rail connection to King’s Cross and Moorgate in one direction and out to Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage in the other. The nearest tube stations are Wood Green on the Piccadilly Line and East Finchley on the Northern Line. Buses connect the area to other north London suburbs.
Landmarks and history
Alexandra Palace was build in 1873 as the north London equivalent of Crystal Palace. It regularly attracts world-famous talent for concerts and exhibitions, while its surrounding park spreads across 80 hectares of hilly and flat terrain, offering fantastic views of London.
The building was also the location for the world’s first public television broadcast in 1936, after the BBC leased part of the building as a production and transmission centre.
Shopping and culture
There is a parade of shops on Alexandra Park Road, which should be the independent business fan’s first destination when headed to the area. Alongside Owen’s Food Store (see Eating and drinking, below) you can find semi-permanent pop up interiors and design shop Tash & Tanya, run by a print maker and needleworker who’ve put their stamp on a variety of interiors items. They also stock pieces by a range of other local designers including a Shibori-dyed textile designer, a ceramic maker, illustrator, and linocut printer.
Nearby Fringe is a knitting shop for those of a more diy craft persuasion, selling yarn, patterns and some knits. Music Muswell Pianos is keeping no secrets with their name: the shop specialises in selling but also leasing and restoring pianos. They also sell sheet music and essentials such as guitar strings, bass strings, violin strings, cello strings, guitar picks, leads and cables, microphones, headphones, guitar straps, instrument cases, gig bags alongside brass, woodwind and other string instruments.
Gardeners should head to award-winning Sunshine Garden Centre, which boasts an extensive range of plants, tools and accessories on the site of a former swimming pool.
Eating and drinking
Owen’s Food Store and Café opened in 2010 providing a deli and excellent lunch spot to the area, while The Yard café at Alexandra Palace station, provides commuters with a quality caffeine fix to start their day. The Sweet Tree Bakery is the go to spot for mouth watering home baked breads, cakes, pastries, muffins, sandwiches and coffee.
Ally Pally farmers’ market is held every Sunday at the Muswell Hill entrance to the park, with stalls selling local produce such as Wildes Cheese, made by a Tottenham-based producer, alongside a wide range of street food from Algerian sweets to Mozambican chicken, and Kokoa Collection hot chocolate.
Evening refreshments can be found at the Maid of Muswell where pub grub and ales are the order of the day with a Tuesday quiz night for added entertainment. Just across the train tracks The Starting Gate is a Victorian pub serving pizzas.
Sport and leisure
Walkers are well provided for by the abundant green space in the area and there is a large and friendly dog-walking community in Alexandra Palace Park, which has a boating lake and a cafe and will soon have a Go Ape adventure playground. Alexandra Palace itself is home to an ice skating rink but is also in the process of being regenerated and will soon have a new theatre and BBC museum among other attractions.
Golfers are well served by Muswell Hill Golf Club while Albert Road Recreation Ground has numerous sports facilities for both adults and children including tennis and basketball courts, football and cricket pitches and a bowling green, as well as the Pavilion Café.
Also popular is the Parkland Walk, which runs from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace along miles of disused railway tracks.
Good for kids
Zebra Ceramics is a ceramic painting studio and cafe. Kids are catered for with indoor and outdoor play areas and there are also ample opportunities for them to get involved with painting their own ceramic items and to have parties. Their hand and foot casting service is also popular with new parents who want to memorialise tiny hands and feet in silver or bronze.