Off To The Palace


Summer’s here, the weather’s lovely and bright and hot, and so there’s no reason not to go out every weekend to see what the city has to offer. Especially when there are festivals and events on all the time too, there’s always something happening every week. A case in point is a weekend I spent at Alexandra Palace last month, where they had a couple of things going on. I’ll write more about it below, and link to all the videos I created, but here’s the Palace’s own video of highlights:

StrEatLife Festival

This was a 2-day street food and entertainment festival, which they hold once a month over the summer, and I went there on both days. I had never been there before, so it was as good excuse to do so. And it was definitely worth it. Alexandra Park is a beautiful space, the Alexandra Palace building is very impressive, and the views of the London skyline are absolutely incredible, especially in such gorgeous summer weather. It was hot and sunny both days, the rain only creeping in on Sunday evening.

Lots of people sitting on the grass in Alexandra Park, surrounded by trees, with the London skyline filling the horizon.

The festival took place just a few days after the terrible events in Manchester, but it certainly didn’t put people off. It was jam-packed and everyone was having a great time. The police were visible and were search bags as people came in, but they weren’t intrusive. And of course I tried some of the food. Across the two days I had sausage and chips (called Bob’s Inches) from Bob The Griller, a Hawaiian (ham and pineapple) pizza from the Woodfired Pizza stall, a cheese and bacon burger from the Backstreet Diner, an ice-cream from the Ice Cream Cab, and a Classic Waffle with white chocolate sauce from The Waffle Float.

Large sausage and chips that I had from Bob's Griller

And I had plenty to drink of course – I tried Cheddar Valley Cider and Jake’s Kentish Cider none of which struck me as being great but they were ok. Very refreshing on such warm days, that’s for sure. Finding the toilets was really easy too, it must be said, as the signs were really big and clear white text on a dark blue background, which made them really easy to see. As a visually impaired person, that helped me greatly.

Signs above the toilet doors at Alexandra Palace, with very large white text on a dark blue background.

And there was entertainment too, including a stage on which bands were performing every so often. I caught a brass band called Brasstermind, who played a lot of covers of well known songs. In the video below, you can hear extracts from Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This by The Eurythmics, Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder, and Let’s Dance by David Bowie. They also played songs by The Kinks (All Day And All Of The Night), Michael Jackson (Human Nature) and Rihanna (What’s My Name?). So it was a very lively way to finish off the Saturday, the crowd loved it.

Crowds of people exploring the StrEatLife festival food and drink stalls in front of Alexandra Palace .

I took a few videos of Alexandra Park and the StrEatLife Festival here:

The Great British Tattoo Show

This was taking place inside Alexandra Palace on the same 2 days as the StrEatLife Festival (which was outdoors). So that was another reason to go there, to check that out as well. I should note that I have absolutely no interest in getting a tattoo for myself, it’s not for me. But it’s still fascinating to see the artistic creations of the tattooists. There was even a taxidermy stall and a display of classic cars, and a few stalls selling t-shirts, jackets and other garments.

Table laid out with anime inspired tattoo designs

If the show had just been about that, then it wouldn’t have interested me on its own. However, there was a lot of other entertainment going on there as well, and that’s what really made it worthwhile. There were fashion shows of lingerie, urban clothing, latex and more, there were acts like the Circus Of Horrors (including a contortionist and a hula-hooping dancer), performers playing with fire (including Fireman Dave), and burlesque dancing with Aurora Galore.

And there were also singers and bands playing, including a band called The Outers (I saw them covering a Radiohead song), and a lady called Bella McKendree who had a lovely voice and will soon be releasing her debut album. Plus there were a couple of guys who have formed a band called Gay Bum. Yes, that really is their name. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and their songs are quite funny, with very dark humour sometimes.

There were also some ladies there offering massages, where you sit on a stool and they massage your shoulders, back and arms. So I tried that too, and it did seem to loosen me up and ease a couple of areas that were aching a bit after all the standing and walking around I’d been doing that day.

Red-haired tattooed lady modelling lingerie on the catwalk stage.

Lady doing the splits while hula-hooping with 3 large hoops

It worked well with the StrEatLife Festival just outside too, as you could go outside for food and drink throughout the day. There were a couple of stalls inside the Palace as well, and I think there was a bar in there somewhere, but the main culinary delights were outdoors. That said, there was a Brothers Cider stall inside the venue, so I tried their Pear and Wild Fruit varieties, which were nice.

Fireman Dave juggling 3 fire-lit clubs on the stage.

Burlesque dancer Aurora Galore blowing a huge fireball

So I loved it all. Alexandra Park and Palace are an amazing place to visit – if you’ve never been, you really should. The views are breathtaking and they regularly hold big events there. On this particular weekend, both the StrEatLife Festival and the Great British Tattoo Show were really enjoyable, and packed with loads of people, it was a great atmosphere. There was something for everyone there.

You can see some footage from the weekend on my Youtube channel at the following links, and lots of photos on my Instagram too. Hope you enjoy!

Author: Glen

Vsually impaired, with Aniridia & Nystagmus. I'm a fan of Doctor Who, classic sitcoms, Queen and 60s-80s rock & pop. I like to blog about my experiences as a disabled person, and about the things I enjoy in general.

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