The London Borough of Croydon
“This borough is one of the leading financial, business and retail areas in London, with ambitious plans to expand and continuous bids to officially become the third London city, after the City of Westminster and the City of London”
Moving to Croydon
This borough is one of the leading financial, business and retail areas in London, with ambitious plans to expand and continuous bids to officially become the third London city, after the City of Westminster and the City of London. Well-positioned on the border of Surrey, the borough of Croydon offers residents an attractive mix of rural fields and a dynamic business centre. Whilst Croydon is home to a large population of working professionals, it is also the residence of choice for many families and retired couples who are looking to settle down long-term in a convenient base outside the centre of London. In fact, Croydon is so attractive that the area has become the second most populated borough in London and is now home to 381,000 people.
However, the booming population has left many residents unhappy with local facilities, particularly the compromise in leisure facilities due to a lack of space. As a result, a £3.5 billion regeneration plan is underway to revamp areas such as Fairfield, to make way for new homes, a larger retail space and new facilities for disabled people and young adults under 15 years of age, who make up a massive 22% of the population.
House Prices in Croydon
The need for more facilities aside, Croydon has a lot to offer potential residents looking to take advantage of the pre-development property prices. Croydon is one of the cheapest areas to live in London, with an average property price of less than £430,000 as of March 2017 – making it the 5th most affordable borough in London. There are many desirable areas throughout Croydon, including Addington Village, Carshalton Beeches and Caterham, while Purley is often considered to be one of the best areas to live in Croydon. Properties are an attractive mix, ranging from apartments to large Victorian houses, especially in the northern and southern regions.
“Croydon is one of the most culturally diverse boroughs in London, with strong Indian and Jamaican influences reflected in the variety of shops and restaurants in the area”
The London Borough of Croydon is popular with commuters, offering excellent eateries and good night life alongside a strong public transport system. Whilst there are no underground Tube stations in the area, Croydon does have its own tram system, which connects to neighbouring boroughs as well as the Overground at West Croydon.
For drivers there are several key roads running through Croydon, including Purley Way, which runs through the spine of the borough. This arterial road leads to the M23 and M25 in the south, making Gatwick Airport a relative easy commute from Croydon, while in the north it leads all the way to Brixton meaning the A3 and the city are within easy reach.
Croydon is one of the most culturally diverse boroughs in London, with strong Indian and Jamaican influences reflected in the variety of shops and restaurants in the area. As well as Michelin-listed restaurants such as Albert’s Table in the south of the borough, popular spots include American eatery Cadillac Bar with its piped neon signage, and the flavoursome and fiery menu of Indian restaurant Chennai Dosa, where you’ll find some of the best flavours out of South Asia.
There are also plenty of retail activities to be indulged in throughout the borough. The Centrale shopping centre and Whitgift shopping centre have been combined to create Croydon’s premier shopping destination, with over 14o shops and restaurants including high street favourites Zara, House of Fraser and H&M. Croydon is also home to a large branch of Ikea, ideal for residents looking to furnish or reinvigorate their property.
Croydon isn’t short of large supermarkets, with an Asda superstore, large branches of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s and more. International supermarkets are well-represented too, with a Wing Yip Asian supermarket on Purley Way and the popular Turkish Food Centre on London Road.
Health & Sport
Croydon has a good selection of private gyms, including easyGym, The Gym, and Nuffield Health and Fitness. There are five council-run leisure centres throughout the borough, located in New Addington, Purley, South Norwood, Thornton Heath and Waddon, and each offers a swimming pool, gym and exercise classes.
For more outdoor pursuits, Purley Downs and Addington both have large golf clubs, and many parks throughout the area are popular with joggers.
For culture vultures in the borough, the Museum of Croydon is a must-see, not least because it is housed inside the iconic Croydon Clock-tower. Packed with a number of enlightening displays and exhibitions, the museum showcases the history of Croydon dating all the way back to the 1800’s. If you fancy something a little lighter, however, the attraction is also an arts venue, regularly hosting music and theatre performances.
Alternatively, Croydon residents with an interest in history will be pleased to know that the borough has the privilege of being home to London’s first major airport: the former London Croydon Airport. This building still stands today as a Grade II listed building structure and a tourist attraction, drawing aviation enthusiasts from across London to the area.
“Of all Ofsted rated schools in the borough, Croydon currently has over 25% of schools performing as ‘outstanding'”
Schools and Education
In addition to the appealing duality of city and rural life, the other main attraction of the area for families is the good schools – although there is a widening gap between the best performing and worst performing schools in the borough. The best primary schools in Croydon include Oasis Academy Byron, St Cyprian’s Greek Orthodox Primary and Coulsdon CofE Primary, all of which have over 80% of pupils hitting the national target for KS2 results.
As for secondary schools, Coloma Convent Girls’ School, Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School and Harris City Academy all performed well at both GCSE level, while in the independent sector Whitgift School and Trinity School come highly recommended.
Crime in Croydon is around 7% less than the London average, although as of 2016 the borough has one of the highest levels of youth violence in the city. Selsdon, Kenley and Sanderstead lead the way as the safest areas in Croydon with the fewest recorded crimes, while areas such as Broad Green, Selhurst and Croydon Town Centre rank highest for crimes in the borough.
Croydon dwellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to green space. There are over 120 parks scattered across the borough, with highlights including South Norwood Country Park in Norwood where you’ll find lakes, playgrounds, a cycle park and colourful flowerbeds all set amongst 125 acres of land. Alternatively, take a taxing stroll up Rickman Hill Park in Coulsdon, also known as the highest public park in London at 155 metres above sea level.
Back in the days of open fields and rural expanse, the Anglo-Saxons gave Croydon its original name, thought to mean ‘valley of the crocuses.’ A settlement existed here from the 8th century onwards, and it became a prosperous market town before industries such as car manufacturing took over in the 1900s, transforming the area into a vibrant commercial centre.