Sporting Heritage at the Palace

Where better than Crystal Palace to be inspired!  With it’s iconic GradeII* listed National Recreation Centre, spiritual home of many sports, long standing home for the London Youth Games that’s grown to be Europe’s largest annual youth sports event.

It’s the site of the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre! For over 150 years its grounds in Crystal Palace Park have engaged the young to old, from grass roots to Olympians, covering more sports than any other venue in the country, from athletics, diving, swimming, cycling, motor racing, football, gymnastics, boxing, skateboarding with a list as rich as the stories are long! In 1866 Crystal Palace hosted the first ever National Olympian Games, the precursor to the Olympics . In 1869 Crystal Palace became London’s first home of cycle racing  that is still ongoing to today (read here about CP Crits 150th cycling anniversary at Crystal Palace).  In 1873 Crystal Palace  became the home of Water Polo too, with possibly the first ever promoted Water Polo competition!

Today the NSC remains unique in the huge range of different sports, training, sporting events and recreation it offers for all abilities, and its history that’s inspires thousands and makes sporting legends!

The NSC was opened Crystal Palace ‘National Recreation Centre” in July 1964 by the Duke of Edinburgh. It reported in the press at the time as a “…central home for amateur sports where young people can take part in a wide range of physical recreations, including gym swimming. tennis, athletics and football


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Sporting Heritage is Crystal Palace – past and present!


Find out here what unites the great WG Grace the writer Arthur Conan Doyle at Crystal Palace on a rainy 23rd August 1900!

FA Cup finals took place between 1895-1914.  At Crystal Palace, King George V  was the fist time a monarch had attended a cup final.



Morning Post – Saturday 13 September 1873 – Water Polo arrives  to Crystal Palace!







Midnight Madness finals!

The iconic sports venue, with a sporting legacy for over 150 years,  and the London home to the most World and All-Comers Records in athletics…

This powerful image that reminds me of the abundant opportunities for personal and professional development at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. Knowing that I’m sharing the facility with greats both past and present continues to push my personal growth to realms and places that I would never have anticipated. David Laurence, Sport & Fitness coach at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

I’ve just voted for Crystal Palace NSC. My home for many years during my career as an athlete and still my favourite sport venue in London 💙  Susie Rodgers MBE