Living in Croydon
What is life like in Croydon
Croydon is a major town in south London, located within the London Borough of Croydon. It lies less than ten miles south of central London, making it a prime spot for commuters, as well as the thousands who work in Croydon's own business district.
It enjoys access to superb transport infrastructure, with excellent rail links to the capital and main roads leading in every direction. Croydon also boasts good shopping and leisure facilities, making it an exciting and intriguing place to live.
A series of large towers are found at its centre, housing a number of large companies. Beyond that is the shopping district, followed by vast areas of residential buildings. This ensures there is plenty of stock to suit every budget and preference among prospective tenants.
What's more, the future looks bright for Croydon, with the Croydon Vision 2020 overseeing a plethora of urban developments and changes designed to make the area more desirable to people and businesses.
Croydon's origins are thought to date back to the Anglo Saxon period, and there is evidence of roads and buildings in very early times. Croydon Minster is one such example of this, with a church being on the site since 960 AD.
In the 19th century, Croydon was a major leisure destination, with a spa, pleasure gardens and a spring of chalybeate water enhancing its appeal. The spa closed soon after the opening of the Crystal Palace, which was destroyed in a fire in 1936.
In more recent times, the opening of the Whitgift Centre – Croydon's premier shopping mall – in 1969 and the Fairfield Halls arts centre in 1962 were landmark events that have contributed to the area's continued success and appeal.
Perhaps the most famous person to have been born in Croydon is supermodel Kate Moss, although she is far from the only high-profile name on such a list. Others include the illusionist Derren Brown and The Inbetweeners star James Buckley.
Artist Tracey Emin, businessman Sir Philip Green, actor Roy Hudd and television presenter Susanna Reid are just some of the other famous people to hail from Croydon.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Fairfield Halls and the Ashcroft Theatre are the premier entertainment venues in Croydon and welcome some of the country's biggest stars from music, comedy and theatre. Many world-renowned groups and acts have performed in Croydon.
Another highlight is the Clocktower, which contains a number of facilities, including a modern cinema, three exhibition galleries and the central library. Several cinemas – ranging from modern multiplex facilities to more intimate and historic venues – can be found in Croydon.
The Croydon region offers plenty of sports and leisure options, such as the Croydon Leisure and Aquatic Centre. In South Norwood, there is a sports stadium with an eight-lane athletics track and space for field events.
Those who prefer to watch rather than play might wish to catch a game at Crystal Palace FC, who are based in Selhurst and currently compete in the Premier League.
Croydon is an ideal base for families or couples who enjoy a day out, as it is close to central London, making all of the capital's major sights, shows and landmarks easily accessible, while it is also a short drive to the Surrey Hills or the South Downs for a greener, more relaxed trip.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Central Croydon is packed with restaurants, pubs and bars, making it a great place for a night out or a quiet meal with family or friends. There is a Restaurant Quarter in South End, with a vast number of eateries serving all types of cuisine.
The Good Pub Guide recommends several pubs in Croydon, including the Derby, the Oakham, the Duke of Gloucester, the Goat, the Sandrock and the Orchard.
Croydon is home to some impressive shopping districts, none more so than the Whitgift Centre, where many of the UK's largest high street names have a store. The Centrale is another mall where high-profile retailers tend to base themselves.
There is also a smart pedestrianised zone that links the two shopping centres, as well as the Surrey Street Market, which is open most of the week and provides an opportunity for people to grab a bargain.
Over the next few years, Westfield and Hammerson are carrying out a £1 billion redevelopment of Croydon's retail district, which will make it one of the premier shopping venues in the country. The benefits of a Westfield mall have already been seen elsewhere in London and this prosperity and appeal is now on its way to Croydon.
Elsewhere, Purley Way has a number of large warehouse stores and the famous Ikea superstore.
Schools & healthcare
With around 100 primary schools and more than 20 secondary schools, the borough of Croydon is the largest Local Education Authority in London. There are also two sixth form colleges and Croydon College open to teenagers who wish to further their education.
In addition to these, there are two City Technology Colleges located in Croydon – the London School for Performing Arts and Technology and the Harris City Technology College.
Croydon University Hospital is a large and respected medical institution in the area, and it is backed up by smaller establishments such as the East Croydon Medical Centre. There are also plenty of local surgeries and clinics to assist residents with their medical needs.
There are few places in the UK as well connected as Croydon, with comprehensive road and rail links found throughout the town. East Croydon station is one of the busiest train stations in the country, with services running to central London in around 15 minutes and to all parts of the south-east and south coast. There are additional stations at South Croydon and West Croydon, as well as a local tram service with stops throughout the town.
The A23 runs through Croydon providing easy access firstly to the M25, and also to Gatwick Airport and Brighton. The A232 is the main route running from east to west, connecting Croydon with other areas in south London.
As with all parts of London, an extensive bus service is in operation and people in Croydon will be able to travel easily within the local area by public transport.