There is absolutely nothing wrong with Croydon, although it does seem to have a really bad reputation.
Travel links to this town are amazing. From East Croydon you can get to the South of England (Brighton and Portsmouth) easily with direct trains running every hour. Gatwick airport can be accessed within twenty minutes with many direct trains every hour, and London Bridge, Waterloo and London Victoria also have direct trains that take approximately 30 mins all day. There is also a tram link that links the east of the borough to Wimbledon. This is maintained really well and is a lot cheaper than trying to drive. Buses also link Croydon to all the surrounding neighbourhoods of this huge London Borough.
Croydon town center is a big bustling joy for shopping, with two huge shopping precincts, The Whitgift and Centrale, and you would be hard pushed to find something you can not purchase in one of these. On the tramlink you can also reach Ikea on the Purley Way, surrounded by retail outlets, a huge cinema and several restaurants.
The nightlife is busy, with countless bars and clubs that stay open late and use a high security system of CCTV all around the town centre. There are also several hotels for those who want to visit the town for a weekend for some shopping.
Having worked in the Criminal Justice System for a long time in Croydon, I would say that Croydon is let down by a minority of individuals who target vulnerable individuals. Sadly, this is the case throughout the entire country though, so don't let the reputation of yobbish behaviour put you off from visiting.
Some famous links to Croydon include Terry and June (sitcom), Derren Brown, Kate Moss, Status Quo and many more (including the hair do "Croydon Facelift").
Okay, so the centre is not a paradise island, and there are some issues with late night drinking that drag down the reputation of the area, but give it a go for shopping. You will be suprised how accessible it is and how enjoyable a day out can be here.
Croydon is a thriving, multicultural town which has a relatively large town centre with two large shopping centres as well as outdoor shops. It also features a massive library and has loasds of business both retail and corporate.
From Croydon it is very easy to get to other places such as Purley Way which is a very popular entertainment complex. Here, you can go to Ikea, Mothercare, Outfit, DFS, Next etc and there is free parking whenever you go. There are a range of restaurants there also as well as a drive thru macdonalds and burger king.
From Croydon, it is also very easy to get to central London, if you are looking to see the real heart of England. The trams, busses and train stations make it very easy to get about and if you need to get on a plane, well you are only 30 minutes away from Gatwick. I could not live anywhere else.
"...Its like being on the road to hell"
"What like taking the bus through Croydon?"
"The next topic is Unlikely Road Signs"
"You are now leaving Croydon, well done!"
Both of the above are quotes from the popular comedy TV show 'Mock the Week' and both were met with much laughter, I typed these from memory so they may not be exact but the message is still clear - Croydon has a bad reputation. If you want more proof, in an online survey of which 4,000 people took part in, Croydon was voted the chaviest town in the UK with a 22% majority.
The big question is then - is this reputation correct? My answer - No, while Croydons not perfect, is not that bad either.
There are many good points about living in Croydon, it has a large high street with all the shops you'd expect as well as a fair few you wouldn't (a sci-fi bookshop and a punk/rock clothes shop in the chaviest place in the UK?). The main shopping centre - 'The Whitgift Centre' is not the prettiest of places but it's well laid out and is rarely either too busy nor too empty.
Sticking with the high street, there's a large cinema on the outskirts which plays every new release including the new 3D films. There is a lovely park called 'Queen's Gardens' which is just a few minutes walk away and the perfect place to have lunch on a sunny day. There's also a large theatre/arts centre called Fairfield Halls which has a variety of shows on throughout the year including plays, comedies and classical music. (Trivia time - the Fairfield Halls was used to film the first 10 minutes of the film the Da Vinci Code when Langdon is giving a talk to his students)
A short walk from the high street brings you to East Croydon Station which leads me to one of Croydons best features - brilliant public transport. There are loads of buses around every nook and cranny in Croydon - you really can get a bus anywhere, most buses come every 10 minutes and there are also several tram lines. As Croydon is a borough of London, all buses and trams can be paid for using oyster cards which are relatively cheap compared to most non London transport. Also, if you fancy getting away from Croydon, it takes only half an hour to get to the centre of London from the Station and it has good railway links to anywhere else you could want to go in the South.
Another plus point is the nightlife; Croydon has a large number of great pubs, mostly weatherspoons, around the high street and in the surrounding area. There are also a few, small but decent, clubs to suit every taste; I'm planning on reviewing each of these separately in the future.
Yes, there are Chavs in Croydon, there are areas in Croydon I feel uncomfortable walking around alone, there are gangs of youths and scary looking people I cross the street to avoid and I would never be out alone after dark. However, I lived there for the first 18 years of my life (I'm 19 now), I often walked around outside on my own and I've never been attacked nor have I seen anyone being seriously attacked. Perhaps I'm just careful or lucky but it really is possible to walk down the streets in Croydon without anything bad happening.
However because of the fear factor of simply being in Croydon, the lack of community spirit and the bad reputation created by the minority of Croydon youths, people don't trust each other and somehow it just doesn't feel safe. Even though when I'm out with my friends we probably look more like a herd of nerds than a gang, I've noticed people crossing the streets to avoid us and giving us nervous looks. It's sad really, while there's nothing especially special there and it's not the nicest looking place, Croydons actually not that bad.
i have to admit, Croydon wasn't my favourite city to live in. the city centre was fine, and very generic, with a shopping centre and very good transport links (there are three train stations in croydon, an excellent bus service and a tram as well), a cinema, bars, clubs etc. However, you can end up in the wrong part of town very quickly. West croydon especially looks like a ghetto, and is quite frightening - it''s a marked difference from east croydon which is bright and fresh and seems like it's had time and money spent on it.
I'd live here again, it's in zone five of london and understandably has great links into the city, but it wouldn't be my first choice by any stretch of the imagination. I hate to imagine what the credit crunch has done to some of the areas that seemed to be struggling, hopefully they'll be a bit of money and love injected into the town again, to clean it up and encourage people to visit again.
[Originally posted on www.helphound.com]
i also come from croydon, but i don't see it through rose tinted glasses. yes the shops are fantastic, every shop you can think. these are mainly divided between 2 shopping centre the whitgift centre and the drummond centre. great transport links from 2 mainline stations east croydon and west croydon, the tramlink service from new addington and wimbledon.
having seen the changes in croydon, both god and bad, my opinon is great for a days shopping, but don't expect friendly happy people. watch your bag and purse and any personal belongings.
enjoy your day but i am sure that you will be glad to get home
Croydon has long been the butt of jokes in TV sitcom land, about what a dreadful place it is. But is this justified? Probably. I live in Croydon, and have done for quite a few years. If I had the choice I would move, but there are a number of factors keeping me here. My husband needs to be in the area for work, our families live in the vicinity and so do a lot of our friends. All those reasons aside, I'd leave tomorrow! For the past few years Croydon has been trying to attain city status, and has so far failed. I'm not surprised. To me, a city is a place of character, which unfortunately Croydon is not, and probably never will be. If you venture into the town centre you could be anywhere, it has nothing to distinguish it from any other anonymous town in the UK. The buildings are an architectural disaster, a mish-mash of old and new which just doesn't work. This year trams have started running in and out of Croydon, in the hope of easing the traffic problem. Guess what? It doesn't appear to have made the slightest difference. I suppose you shouldn't really run down your home town, but then again Croydon isn't my home town. And thank goodness for that!
Croydons image is terrible, some think we have been pushed out of Essex, (no offence intended!) But its a pretty good town actually. You can certainly shop til you drop, we have the Whitgift Centre - which is half the size of Lakeside but has Allders, Woolies, Dixons, Disney Store, Toy Stack, Foot Locker Marks and Spencer to name a few - and the Drummond Centre which houses TK Maxx, Debenhams, Spoils and A virgin Megastore, Surrey Street Market for a look at some real bargains.On the Entertainment side we've FairField Halls and a wicked Library that has a cinema and has amazing interactive exhibitions. Food wise we have loads of fast food outlets but look out for the little coffee shops,delis and sandwich shops. The shopping centres have some good restaurants too. This is all in the centre of Croydon and with three railway stations a brilliant bus service and now our rather smart tramlink there is no need to pay 90p an hour for parking. The tram is the best thing, one end of Croydon to another in 3 minutes for less than a pound (yes a little expensive but so easy) The tram will take you out to the village of Addiscombe or to Valley Park on Purley Way, home to Ikea, Warner Bros multi screen, Super Bowl, B & Q, Outfit, DFS and similar retailers. Make it sound like a sprawling Metroplolis? Well it is if thats what you want, alternatively you pack a picnic and head out to one of the 10 - 15 different parks from your swings and slides to the South Norwood Country Park with its conservation and trails to follow. Go a little further afield (okay more Bromley than Croydon) to Crystal Palace Park with its Maze, farm and Dinosaurs. Oh and one other thing I taught Kate Moss all she knows.....!
The first time we (my wife and I) went to this delightfull mid-priced restaurant we were very impressed, situated in a non-too well heeled part of Wallington (Stafford Road) and with an un-imposing frontage we found what we can only really describe as a cullinary oasis, the cusine is gormet Italian (no pizzas!), the prices are reasonable - we went again tonight with our little boy and it came to £35.50 without tip for the 3 of us. Whilst we usually feel a bit out of place taking a 2 year old into a decent restaurant this place, apparently family run extended a really warm welcome. It's little touches like we ordered penne with cheese sauce for Zachary, the owner realised it was for a child so he made it with mild cheese and brought it to the table early so our lil guy could eat first (as anyone with kids would probably agree that is a wise move!). Definately not a snooty waitor in sight! The cusisine this second time was as good if not better than the first, Nicky had a delightfull Chicken with this 'hollandaise' type sauce, I went for the Knocci - both were very tasty thank you. So all in all for £35 inc drinks for the 2 1/2 of us I really can recommend this place, the only (really slight) drawback is that it seems to attract an older croud - it's not that i am complaining but we're in our 30's and most of the other diners were in their 50's/60's - so it felt a little strange. Nona Alba, Stafford Road, Wallington, Surrey