Capital Ring – Section 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace

Capital Ring – Section 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace

This section of the Capital Ring goes from Grove Park to Crystal Palace. There are some really good views and it is a pretty easy route. I liked this section of the capital ring, mostly because it finishes with dinosaurs. There aren’t enough walks that have such a good finish. Having said that, there is quite a lot of litter in the first half of this route, so that makes it seem less beautiful.

The Capital Ring itself is a loop that allows Londoners to wander around the city through parks, pretty residential areas and forests. The first part of this section near Grove Park is pretty suburban, but it gets greener and greener as you wiggle through South London. This walk is also part of the Green chain walk so follow signs for either route.

Grove Park to Crystal Palace – The basics

Distance: 13.6 km
Public transport: Grove park rail station to Crystal Palace (rail or overground stations)
Best sights along the way: Beckenham Place Park  and the Crystal Palace dinosaurs
Loos: Grove Park, Beckenham Place Park (closed when we visited) and Crystal Palace Park

Grove Park to Crystal Palace Map

Capital Ring Section 3 – Route

If you start at Grove Park station, you can either walk through the residential streets to the start, or wander along Quaggy river to get back to the main trail. Near the beginning of the walk (after crossing the railway) there are good views of the city through suburbia.

There is a woodland walk (called the railway children walk) between the houses which is pretty cool. If you are walking with children (or with me), they might love to sit on the wooden train that is next to the path.

Beckenham Place Park

After you reach Beckenham Place Park, it is easy to follow the route. Part of the park is a golf course, but it also has pretty trees and flowers along the edges. There are some loos at the edge of the car park, but they were all boarded up when we visited.

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There is also a squirrel statue with a creepy face!

Once you leave the Beckenham Place Park, you need to go straight through the car park and left along Southend Road. The next part goes through residential areas for a while.

The path winds its way through some small parks; Cator Park, a school green and Alexandra recreation ground.You’ll be able to see the mast at Crystal Palace the whole way, so it is pretty obvious that the route keeps wiggling in that direction. Right before Crystal Palace, there are two pretty railway bridges (built in the mid-19th century). I thought they were beautiful, all covered in moss.

Crystal Palace Park

Crystal Palace Park itself is really pleasant, although I was sad to find out there is no actual palace. There is a pretty lake, plenty of trees and large lake full of ducks.

Crystal Palace Dinosaurs

However the best part of Crystal Palace park is the walkway lined with dinosaurs! Palaeontologists have learnt much more about dinosaurs since these were created in Victorian times, so they are not particularly accurate anymore. But it is still fun to see them, and to compare them to more modern versions that are more like birds than lizards!!


– Of course, this has to be the dinosaurs. This is the best part of the Capital Ring for children.

Less amazing:

– There is quite a lot of rubbish around the first half of this walk.
– I saw a huuuuuge rat in the water by the dinos, carrying off a slice of bread. Remember if you feed the ducks, you might also be feeding the local rat population! I caught a photo of him below…you might have to click on the photo to enlarge it and see him!

The signage is not always amazing on this section. We found it really helpful to have the google map downloaded to our phones for when there are no signs. Anyway, the map for this section is here  and the map for the whole walk is here.

You can find links to the next sections of the Capital ring here.

11 thoughts on “Capital Ring – Section 3: Grove Park to Crystal Palace

    1. It is a really good walk isn’t it. 🙂

      We did it 2 or 3 sections at a time, so it didn’t even take too long. I keep meaning to walk the whole way again in sunnier/warmer weather.

      1. We did it about 10 years ago and I’ve been redoing it with the dog recently – still need to finish the north sections; best bit is across Wimbledon and Richmond and then from Harrow to Stoke Newington but they are just personal favs: each part has good bits (though i agree Downham and Grove Park is a bit tatty, esp after Eltham Palace). If you search on my blog (assuming you have time!) you’ll find several with my take (always a little eccentric!) Here’s one

        1. I’ll definitely have a look as I love your blog. 🙂

          I didn’t post it yet, but I found the parts near Stratford (once you get away from the canal and onto the Greenway) pretty depressing. We even found a fence with a line of black bags of dog poo hung up in a row. They were only few meters away from a bin(!)

          I also really love the section from Highgate to Finsbury park along the abandoned train line.

    1. They are sooo cool! Even more amazing because they are totally wrong for modern science, so it’s like a lesson in the history of knowledge about dinosaurs.

  1. I have never heard of this but I love that you did an entire series about the various sections! Over the course of 2016 how long do you think you guys spent on the whole thing? Did you drive to the various different parts to start the new section? Can’t go wrong with dinos!

    1. Yep, we finished the whole thing! It didn’t actually take that long, 7 days in total (but spread over several weeks as we only walked at the weekend)

      My hard-drive broke with most of the photos though, so I didn’t write up the last few sections. I meant to go back and take more photos before we moved to Canada, but I ran out of time. 🙁

      It’s all really easy to reach by public transport, so we didn’t need to drive to reach any of the walk. It’s all really well designed for city folk!

    1. He was huuuuge!
      Before this I honestly never considered that feeding ducks would feed rats, but they are clever little dudes!

  2. I just want to say how helpful your posts are – I’m walking the Capital Ring with a friend, but doing it anticlockwise (it made sense at the start?), and your posts have been really helpful in getting us orientated when the official route is hard to reverse engineer.

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