Crystal Palace (a)  Sunday 4th February 2.15pm

Not the worst Sunday kick-off time that we've had. Here are a selection of the available trains and with fares (italics means change at Peterborough):
 Leeds 0805 0905 0940 1005    Kings Cross

1705

1720

1803

1835

 Wakefield W 0818 0918 0953 1018    Wakefield W 1901 - 2006 2036
 Kings Cross 1106 1131 1156 1231    Leeds

1915

1934

2023

2054

 Single fare 44 29 29 29    Single fare 44 37 37 37

Fares from Leeds and Wakefield:

48.30

 Advance Singles Wakefield Kirkgate to Kings Cross with Grand Central (0855 down, 1845 back)

51.65

 Off-Peak Day Return Leeds-Doncaster, Advance Singles Doncaster to Kings Cross with Grand Central (same trains as above)

62.10

 Advance Singles Leeds-Newark-Kings Cross each way (out on 0905, back on 1720)

From 66

 Advance Singles

110

 Super Off Peak Return

From Sheffield (there are no cheap fares whatsoever for some reason; you can do it for 9 quid with Megabus though:

 41.80

 Off-Peak Day Return Sheffield-Doncaster, Advance Singles Doncaster-Kings Cross with Grand Central (0800 down, back on 1845)

78

 Super Off Peak Return

Notes:
1. Railcard holders can normally get one third off the above prices.
2. Groups of three or more can get approx 27% off East Coast Advance Singles fares if booked at www.virgintrainseastcoast.com.
 
If you don't mind spending most of the day on a coach you can get there and back for as little as 17 from Leeds with National Express.

Getting to the ground

It's pretty easy to get from Kings Cross to the ground. You've got the choice of three stations to head for - Thornton Heath, Selhurst, or Norwood Junction. The first two are around a 15 minute walk from the ground, and to get there you catch a tube to Victoria and then an overground train (normally every 10 minutes, but only every 30 minutes on Sundays, total journey time around 40 minutes). Norwood Junction, on the other hand is reached via tube to London Bridge, then overground train (normally 8 an hour, but very limited service on Sundays, total journey time around 40 minutes), and is only 10 minutes from the ground. The cheapest way of getting over there is with an Oyster Card or contactless debit/credit card (4.50 each way). Otherwise you'll need a One Day Travelcard zones 1-4 (12.70). Your best bet is probably to travel out to Thornton Heath for the pubs (see below), then back from Norwood Junction (train at 16.32).

Pubs
If you get off at Thornton Heath there's a Wetherspoons (the Flores Sandes) straight over the road from the station. It's not the best Spoons though, and you can be sure it'll get packed. A much better bet is the Railway Telegraph, which is just 50 yards down from the station. The pubs around Selhurst station are normally home fans only, which is a shame because one of them is a Shepherds Neane pub that gets good reviews. You should though be able to get in Selhurst Railway Club, which is out the 'back' door from the station and along the alleyway a bit. It'll probably cost you a couple of quid to get in, but once inside the beer will be pretty cheap. I'm not sure about around Norwood Junction, but I suspect they're basically home pubs, nothing special, or closed down. There is a Spoons reasonably close by, but again it gets mixed reviews at best.

My personal recommendation though is the Pawson's Arms. It's a bit out of the way and a 10 minute walk from Thornton Heath station, but it's well worth the hike. It's basically a Palace pub, but they make away fans very welcome. The beer's decent (London Pride and Doom Bar when we were there), and they do sandwiches. Even though it gets busy towards kick-off the service is amazingly quick. They could certainly teach Wetherspoons staff a thing or two!

Other options are:
- drink in the pubs around Kings Cross; you'd have to leave before 2 o'clock to make kick-off though
- find a pub around London Bridge (the Old Kings Head would be my suggestion) then jump on a train to Norwood Junction at the last minute

Pub map
Kings Cross pub map
Football Ground Guide
London Transport