I hope you've all had a fabulous Saturday? Mines been pretty good, but I must admit I'm feeling pretty rubbish from the detox. Saturday is usually my treat day and I'm really craving sugar, ice cream, lemonade, cupcakes etc... lol can you tell?
So to take my mind off it the fiance and I went to Ally Pally (as us Londoners call it!). However, as a new novice Londoner, despite having visited Alexandra Palace at least three times before, we had no idea about lots of things that were there. (The fiance has no excuse - he's lived near here his whole life and had visited before me - so I blame him).
Let me give you a tour...
The infamous broadcasting mast, which Ally Pally is often most known for. In 1936 it became the headquarters of the world's first regular public 'high definition' television service, operated by the BBC, and the tower is still in use - currently being refurbished.
|View of Ally Pally from the rear parkland|
The palace itself was built in 1873, as a counter part to South London's Crystal Palace. It was a centre for recreation, education and entertainment. It is now mainly used for exhibitions and conferences, but also concerts and sporting events. The fiance and I attended a wedding fair here last autumn.
This is the beautiful rose garden that we didn't know existed until today. It smelt absolutely gorgeous!
Some of the roses were just starting to fade - but it still looked fantastic!
Another place we didn't know existed was the deer enclosure. Inside were a whole herd who looked very elegant. They were unfazed by us taking pictures, sometimes turning their heads to pose for us! Such beautiful creatures.
The most impressive part of Ally Pally is the views over the whole of London. On a clear day you can spot all of the landmarks - Canary Wharf, The Gherkin, The Shard, The London Eye, The BT Tower & St.Paul's to name a few...
There are no words really to describe the view - so I will ask you to go and see it for yourself if you can! Especially on a sunny day!
The palace comes a close second in the wow stakes! The beautiful old building has stunning design and intricate detail. However, lots of the palace is in disrepair, with many of the windows either broken, boarded up or worse still bricked up. Despite being named an English Heritage site and having Grade II listed status, the up keep is enormous and difficult to get planning permission for. A particularly sad sight is the contrast of blue boarded up windows next to a stunning round window in the main front facade of the palace.
Despite that it is still in great use - a peep through the window today seemed to reveal an exam hall of some sort...
...with stunning old fashion clocks on stands, positioned around the hall! We couldn't think who could be taking an exam here. I'd be too in awe of the decoration to concentrate!
Another area we didn't know existed is the boating lake at the rear of the palace. Here is a cafe where you can buy feed for the swans and ducks for £1 (I couldn't resist) or even rent swan pedalos for £10 for half an hour to pedal round the lake.
I loved feeding some gorgeous little ducklings, which I even managed to sneakily stroke (while the feed was distracting them). However, there was an evil moorhen that kept attacking them. We also found the tiniest little duckling that seemed to be treading it's way across the water it paddled so fast. So cute...
And that's not all, there are the gardens generally, which are a little hilly, but rewarding to stroll around (or if you're adventurous even run!). There is a fantastic garden centre, which is very big and even has it's own cafe. There is another cafe in the grounds - apparently Italian themed (we didn't come across it today).
Then there is the bar & kitchen in the palace itself which sells lovely pub food with picnic tables outside that capture the fantastic view. There is also a pitch and putt, and an ice rink, plus a private gym if you live nearby and can afford it (which you probably can if you live nearby).
You can even wander around the Palm Court area inside the Palace itself. Although, it's a shame the rest isn't open to public view. I hope one day to see this beautiful building really restored and opened fully to the public as it should be if they want to continue to call it 'The People's Palace'.
I just want to leave you with a little picture to hopefully make you smile this weekend...
|Our cat Anya!|