OK I admit to being a bit biased but having lived and worked in Croydon for 5 years now I felt it deserved a mention, although it does still keep up its reputation as being one of the worst towns in the UK, most of this though is mainly down to the attitude of young locals looking for fights on the weekend, the absence of bars playing decent music, the ridiculous dress code in most places enforced by bouncers ready to re-arrange your face if you argue with them. Oh and steer clear of West Croydon unless you want to be attacked by a crack addict foaming at the mouth, although the arrival of the tube in 2085 may lead to the area getting regenerated. Despite all this it does have some good points and on some days you may get a unannounced walkby part in ITV's 'The Bill'!
Situated to the south of the city, Croydon is one of the largest towns in the suburbs of London. It has often been criticised as a concrete jungle with it's array of office blocks, but slowly but surely things are starting to improve. Old office blocks are being renovated, bars and restaurants are popping up everywhere, and it is the first part of London to welcome back trams since the 1950s. It has a large selection of shops either within or around the Whitgift and the Drummond Centres, a large number of restaurants and bars. It does suffer from a large volume of young drinkers on the weekends, so it can get quite boisterous, but there are always quieter places to be found. It is also not a bad place to stay if you are visiting London and are on a budget, as you are only 25 minutes by train to London and 45 minutes from Brighton.
Croydon can be reached direct from Gatwick Airport or from London Victoria Station, by getting a train to East Croydon. The journey from London, by train, is approxiametly 20 minutes. If travelling by car it is served by junction 7 of the M25 motorway.
(I have no idea what any of these places are like, but expect to pay at least £30 a night for a hotel room)
Alpha House Hotel (99 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath, Surrey)
Ashurst Lodge (2 Windmill Road, Croydon)
Croydon Court Hotel (597/603, London Road, 0208-684-3947)
Croydon Hotel (112 Lower Addiscombe Rd, 0208-656-7233)
Croydon Park Hotel (7 Altyre Road, 0208-680-9200)
Fairview Hotel/Guest House (85 Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath)
Haling Park Hotel (3 Haling Park Road, 0208-686-6487)
Kirkdale Hotel (22 St. Peter's Rd, 0208-688-5898)
Regent House Hotel (57-59 Friends Rd, 0208-680-6060)
South Park Hotel (33 South Park Hill Rd, 0208-688-5644)
Travel Inn (104 Coombe Road, Croydon)
YWCA Hostel (The Alexandra Club, 32 Dingwall Rd (0208-688-0289)*
*This is probably the cheapest option for budget travellers. Also it is stated as being 32 Dingwall Rd, if this is incorrect then it is 32 Landsdowne Rd)
British Homestays also offer Student / Group Travel and Homestay Accommodation in private homes 24 Temple Avenue, Shirley, Croydon, CRO 8QA
Tel: +44 (0)20 8777 3038/7580 Fax: +44 (0)20 8777 0986
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Things to do
Beanos (Surrey Street) - Tucked in behind Jim Thompson's just off Surrey Street, Beano's claims to be the largest second hand record shop in Europe. 3 floors of all sorts will keep you browsing for a couple of hours, there is even a coffee shop on the top floor.
Croydon Clocktower (Katherine Street) - Puts on cultural events (including dance and performance art), as well as having a very good arts cinema (David Lean Cinema). Croydon library is situated next door.
Fairfield Halls (Park Lane) - Includes the Ashcroft Theatre, gallery spaces etc
Warehouse Theatre (62 Dingwall Rd) - Intimate theatre space putting on shows by new talent
Warner Bros Cinema (at Grants, High St) - Newly built multi-purpose cinema complex showing all the latest releases.
Bar R (South End) - Spacious bar playing loud dance music that never seems to get too busy, but has nice reclining couches, Budweiser on tap and excellent Thai food. Quiz night on Thursday.
Beer Circus (Brighton Road) - Possibly the best bar in Croydon with over 500 beers from around Europe and cheap bar snacks, this is a place for serious beer connousseurs.
Black Sheep Bar (High St) - Popular bar that has just undergone a refurbishment, stays open till 2 am on weekends, free before 10.30pm, wide selection of drinks with good music, clientele is rather young. Offers live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights with DJ's occupying the rest of the slots, rather loud jazz on Sundays if your hangover can take it. Membership is required
Crown and Pepper (242 High Street) - Spacious pub serving excellent Peri Peri themed food and boasting an extensive range of bottled beer from around the world.
The Cricketers Arms (23 Southbridge Place, South Croydon) - Traditional old style 'cricket' lovers pub. If you want an authentic english pub experience this is the place to come. Tankards and trophies adorn the walls admist while the regulars get on with the serious drinking. It also offers darts and possible the cheapest pool in Croydon (only 70p)
The Dog and Bull (Surrey Street) - One of Croydon's oldest pubs, popular with the market traders, has a large beer garden with barbeques from Thu-Sun
The Dukes Head (South End) - Pool Bar with nice decor and food, has a nice beer garden in summer. Also shows all major England football games.
The Edge (South End, corner of Coombe Road) - Formerly the Blacksmith's Arms/O'Neills/Cornerhouse although the sign is still displayed, this is a nice cleanly furbished pub with a large beer garden out the back.
The E Bar (South End) - Small relaxed bar open till 12 on the weekends, with DJs playing varying sets.
The Folly (Selsdon Rd, South Croydon) - Recently refurbished spacious pub with seating outside, pool table and selling nice food. Extended happy hour on Fridays with 2 for 1 beers.
The George (George St) - Weatherspoons pub, very cheap prices, no music, gets very busy in evenings.
The Goose (Surrey St) - Cheap 'weatherspoonesque' pub, very cheap drinks and food, beware of doormen and staff with attitude
The Gun Tavern (83 Church St) - Real ale pub, recently refurbished into an open plan layout, boasts live music at the weekend and extremely loud sky sports the rest of the time!
The Green Dragon (58-60 High Street) - Another pub converted from a bank selling decent food in nice surroundings. Has 2 pool tables and screens for Sky Sports and runs comedy nights upstairs.
The Oval (Oval Road, East Croydon) - Friendly pub tucked away just past East Croydon station, has a pool table and a porbably one of the nicest beer gardens in Croydon. Featured in Channel Four's Peep Show 1 & 2.
The Wheelwrights' Arms (Southbridge Road) - Recently under new management, they have smartened up the interior. It has a beer garden out the back with a pool table under cover.
The Porter and Sorter (East Croydon station) - Situated just down from the taxi rank at East Croydon BR, this pub has been refurbished and is a lot bigger than it used to be.
The Rectory (Brighton Road, Purley) - New all-purpose Barrucuda Chain pub, food varies on delicious and ropey, but its the best place to go in Purley at the moment. Be warned it gets very busy on Friday nights.
The Ship (High St) - Popular pub for rockers, playing heavy metal and alternative on weekends, serves reasonable food. One of the oldest pubs in the area, note though they have had to impose a 100 person limit due to fire safety restrictions, this means that its a hard pub to get into at the weekends, shame.
The Skylark (South End) - Same chain as the George
The Spread Eagle (39 High Street) - Converted from a bank, this is an interesting place to have lunch if you go upstairs into one of the 'dining rooms', shows Sky Sports and is the perfect venue for a pre-film beer before going to the David Lean Cinema next door.
The Star (Southbridge Road) - Small family run pub that has a pool table out back that is only 50p per game
The Waddon (Stafford Rd) - Pool bar
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Auberge (Unit 2153, Whitgift Centre) - Top floor mainly french cuisine
Chat House (South End) - Highly recommended curry house
Conchitas (South End)- Mexican food at affordable prices
El Sombrero (South End) - Mexican food with set menu, good for groups, excellent food, if a little pricey
La Fuentes (36-40 High Street, Purley) - One of the best tapas bars in South London, make sure you book in advance at the weekends, affordable dishes and drinks.
La Tasca (High St, Croydon) - Surprisingly good Tapas bar amongst the main drag of overpriced trendy joints. Good selection for all types as well as very tasty Sangria.
Little Bay (32 Selsdon Road, South Croydon) - Very nice cosy predominately seafood restaurant but also offering an extensive range of vegetarian and meat dishes. Service is very speedy and very friendly.
Mamma Amalfi (18 George St) - Traditional Italian food
Mantanah (2 Orton Building, Portland Rd) - Thai food
My Old China (2 Godstone Road, Purley) - Excellent over air conditioned chinese
Philpots (9 Norfolk House, Wellesley Rd) - Weekday sandwich bar
Pizza Express (3-7 South End) - Famous pizza chain
Riverside Vegetaria (265 High St) - Reasonably cheap vegetarian/vegan restaurant
Spice Cafe (25 Surrey St) - Very cheap indian takeaway or eat in.
The India Palace (79 High St) - Curry house
Zaras Kitchen (South End) - Very reasonable curry house with BYO booze and good food
Zizzi's (South End) - Up market Italian with great decor, food and wine
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