Living in Crawley
What is life like in Crawley
Crawley is a large town located in West Sussex, just a few miles from the Surrey border. As such, it is a popular choice with London workers who wish to live away from the hustle and bustle of the capital in a town where they can get more property for their money.
As a relatively new town, Crawley boasts some impressive facilities and amenities, including the modern County Mall shopping centre. It is well served by transport links and offers a substantial supply of high-quality housing in several attractive neighbourhoods.
It is also ideally positioned close to Gatwick Airport, which brings plenty of employment opportunities and trade links to the area. Crawley has become a business hub in recent decades.
In the town itself, a vibrant shopping scene is complemented by a range of restaurants and bars, and the historic local market continues. More development is planned in Crawley in the coming years, making it one of the country's most up-and-coming locations.
It was not until after World War II that it was decided that Crawley would be built as a brand new town, although the history of settlements in the area dates back much further than the last 70 years or so.
The first settlement is believed to have arrived as early as 500 BC and by 100 AD the Romans had settled in the area. In the ninth century, Worth Church was built in what is now the western part of the new town area and it is thought to be one of the oldest buildings of its type in the UK.
Crawley itself was mentioned for the first time in 1203 when a licence to hold a weekly market in the high street was awarded. The iron works became the most important factor in the region, with the 1600s a peak for this industry.
During World War II, the town suffered at the hands of bombers, and this led to the most significant period in its history, as in 1947 Lewis Silkin MP announced the land around Crawley, Three Bridges and Ifield had been chosen as the location for a new town.
Entertainment, sport and days out
There are plenty of entertainment options in the town, including at Crawley Leisure Park, where residents will find a bowling alley and multiplex cinema.
The Hawth plays host to some of the country's biggest names in comedy, music and theatre and is a favourite with those who love nothing more than to enjoy a show. It also puts on a pantomime each year.
Crawley Town FC currently play in League One, the third tier of English football, so catching a match is a must for all residents. Those who prefer to play rather than watch will find excellent facilities at the K2 leisure centre on the outskirts of the town. It boasts an Olympic-sized swimming pool, leisure pool, badminton and squash courts, indoor bowls rinks, a fully equipped gym, a sauna and steam room and a martial arts room.
Another possible route to fitness is Crawley Athletic Club, which welcomes people from the age of ten. It encourages members to train on a regular basis and take part in competitions and events in their chosen discipline.
With Brighton to the south and London to the north, there will never be a lack of great days out to be had from Crawley. Whether it is the world-famous landmarks of the capital or the famous Sussex seaside people are after, it is easy to reach from the town.
However, it is not all about big cities, as the Sussex countryside also offers highlights including Ashdown Forest (including Pooh Corner), Amberley Museum and the Buchan Park nature reserve.
Eating, drinking & shopping
The town centre provides a number of eateries and bars, with food from around the world available. Crawley Leisure Park also contains a number of popular restaurants, including Nando's, Bella Italia, Pizza Hut and Chiquito.
County Mall is undoubtedly the town's shopping focal point and includes outlets belonging to many of the UK's biggest high street names, including the likes of Debenhams, WH Smith and Next. There are also stores outside the centre.
Schools & healthcare
A number of local primary schools filter into six secondary schools in Crawley. These are Thomas Bennett Community College, Oriel High School, Ifield Community College, Hazelwick School, St Wilfrieds Catholic Comprehensive School and Holy Trinity C of E.
Older students can enhance their credentials with a stint at the Central Sussex College, and Crawley is the venue for one of its largest campuses. It offers courses in everything from plumbing to engineering and cooking.
Crawley Hospital has been run by the West Sussex Primary Care Trust since 2006 and provides a high standard of care to local residents who require it. As with any town of this size, there are also a number of surgeries and clinics available to resolve medical problems.
As a new town, Crawley has been built in an area with excellent transport links. It is next to the M23, which takes drivers straight into the heart of London and it lies just ten miles or so from the M25, providing easy access to the rest of the south-east.
The town centre has a train station and there is another in the Three Bridges neighbourhood, with both offering direct services to London Victoria. There is also an extensive local bus service that connects people with all parts of the town.
Some parts of central Crawley are pedestrianised so walking and cycling are also incredibly popular and add to the relaxed and open feel of the town centre.