What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Away are still housed on one side of the Arthur Wait Stand, however they have been relocated to the opposite side near the 'Croydon Advertiser Family Stand'. Just over 2,000 away supporters can be accommodated. Nikita a visiting Gillingham fan informs me; 'If you are seated towards the rear of the stand then you will find that you are sitting on old wooden seats and there is very little leg room'. Plus the views of the playing action are not particularly great from the back of the stand, due to the overhang of the roof. And if that is not enough then there is the odd supporting pillar to contend with too! Whilst Alex Jones adds; 'If you sit in the bottom half of the stand for an afternoon kick off, in the earlier part of the season, then don't be surprised if you end up trying to keep the sun out of eyes'.
On my last visit there was a particularly good atmosphere within the ground, especially from the home fans in the Holmesdale Road End. I was impressed with the Palace fans, who clearly were passionate about their Club, but in a non-intimidatory manner, towards away fans. In fact there was plenty of good banter going on between the two sets of supporters. There are plenty of refreshments available, however, if you if there is a sizeable away support, then getting food and drink could be a problem because there is only one small refreshment area to cater for the whole away support. Plus as there is no formal queuing system, then joining the scrum that inevitably ensues at the counter, is not for the faint hearted so you may consider getting something outside of the ground before the game starts. Also if you do happen to visit the Gents, watch out for the small downward flight of steps to the toilets. I almost went flying!
On the whole Crystal Palace is a fairly relaxed ground to visit and you are unlikely to encounter any problems, except perhaps getting stuck in the traffic on the way to the game!
Where To Drink?
Opposite Thornton Heath Railway Station there is a Wetherspoon pub, called the 'The Flora Sandes' which is popular with both home and away supporters. Also close by is 'The Railway Telegraph' on Brigstock (as you come out of Thornton Heath station turn right and the pub is further down on the left). This pub serves Youngs beers and is quite spacious. It is then about a 15 minute walk from here to the ground (as you come out of the pubs turn right and follow the other fans). There are plenty of Kebab & Chip shops available on the route to the ground.
Otherwise near Norwood Junction Railway Station on the High Street is another Wetherspoon outlet called 'The William Stanley' (From the Station turn right at the Clock Tower into the High Street). The nearby 'Ship' pub on the High Street has also been recommended to me. Generally beer and lager are served inside the ground. Please note though that for certain high profile games, the Club choose not to serve alcohol to away supporters.
How To Get There By Car & Where To Park
Leave the M25 at Junction 7 and follow the signs for the A23 to Croydon. At Purley bear left onto the A23 at its junction with the A 235 (to Croydon). You will pass roundabouts and junctions with the A232 and A236 as you pass Croydon, after which the A23 bears left at Thornton Heath (at the Horseshoe pub roundabout). Here you must go straight over, into Brigstock Road (B266), passing Thornton Heath Station on your left and bearing right on to the High Street. At the next mini roundabout, (Whitehorse Road/Grange Road) go left into Whitehorse Lane. The ground is on your right.
Richard Down informs me; 'An alternative route for fans coming from the North, is to leave the M25 at Junction 10 and follow the A3 towards London. After about ten miles you will reach the Tolworth roundabout at which you turn right onto the A240 towards Epsom. After about three miles turn onto the A232 towards Sutton. Follow the A232 through Sutton and Carshalton and just before reaching Croydon, turn left onto the A23 north towards Thornton Heath'. Where the A23 bears left at Thornton Heath (at the Horsehoe pub roundabout). Here you must go straight over, into Brigstock Road (B266), passing Thornton Heath Station on your left and bearing right on to the High Street. At the next mini roundabout, (Whitehorse Road/Grange Road) go left into Whitehorse Lane. The ground is on your right.
Most streets around the ground are either designated residents only parking on matchdays or are pay and display with a four hour limit. So please take note of any street signs advising of parking restrictions, or else you win run the risk of being towed away. Please note that the traffic can be pretty bad on Saturdays even without football traffic, so make sure you allow yourself some extra time to make the journey.
Post Code for SAT NAV: SE25 6PU
The nearest railway stations are Selhurst or Thornton Heath which are served by London Victoria main line station, Clapham Junction, London Bridge (every 30 mins) and East Croydon (every 15 mins). You can also use Norwood Junction station which is also served by Victoria, but is a little further away. It is then a 10-15 minute walk to ground. Please note that Crystal Palace station is nowhere near the ground.
If you are coming from outside London, it may be an idea to purchase a 'Travelcard' at the first tube station you encounter (or some train operators also allow you to add this onto your train ticket) and tell the clerk that you want a 'Travelcard' that will cover you as far as Selhurst or Thornton Heath. The card then allows you unlimited travel on the tube and trains within the London travel zone and avoids having to buy a ticket for each leg of the journey.
Lisa Lark a visiting Norwich City fan adds; 'If travelling to Selhurst Station from London Victoria, that it's better to get on at the front of the train rather than the back. We found that on leaving the train at Selhurst, that for the rear carriages there is a gap of 2 to 3 foot between the train doors and the platform, not the most pleasant of exits I've made from a train. If you are travelling with young children or are less agile, then it is best to be at the front of the train'.