Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Croydon your best clothes and join us for a party.

Hailing from Croydon, I feel I should maybe write a little bit about my hometown and maybe, if only slightly, help to eradicate the gloomy reputation it has gained over the years which means we are looked down upon somewhat by 'proper Londoners'.

After having a discussion with The Half and Half Bar on Twitter about some of the social gems that Croydon has to offer, I've decided to compile a post about my favourite parts of Croydon, and also some of the worst.

Croydon is a huge, bustling town situated a mere 9.5 miles from London's Charing Cross, and as mentioned earlier has a rather tainted reputation, especially in the last few years, mainly because children seem to think it's okay to stab each other over a different school or post code. This is a rare occasion here, although it seems gets more attention than some of the other, more inspiring aspects of this town.

Queens Gardens, Croydon

In center of town there are hundreds of shops, which are more than enough to satisfy your wife or girlfriend for a couple of hours, although seating for bored males leaves a lot to be desired. There are also plenty of eateries for your taste buds to enjoy.

When the sun goes down, Croydon comes into a new, more vibrant self, with Bars, Clubs, Restaurants and hoards of people mingling around getting their party on! (This is most nights of the week, in fact). Many people may know about the clubbing and drinking scene here, what with the Reflex, Lloyds, Yates', and always heaving Tiger Tiger, where cheap drinks, polo shirts, and slick gelled hair is a priority, but however, if you are of an age where loud music, drunk 18 year olds, and the occasional fight just aren't your cup of tea then I would suggest moving your focus away from the center, and more towards the southern end of the High Street. Here you will find a completely different atmosphere, a more relaxed, more adult, a seemingly more sophisticated one. This would start with Black Sheep Bar where the hip, trendy-ites of town go to get down, although I feel this bar has lost it's alternative feel of late, what with the influx of the Dubstep and Drum'n'bass culture that is looming over London, if not the country in general. Onward, slightly, we find a lot of Yuppie-esque bars, and cosmopolitan restaurants where, albeit pricey, food and drink is of top quality!

This part of Croydon seems to me as if it is striving to be as cool and trendy as Clapham South, Balham or even Islington, but something just isn't working. Is it a lack of Advertising? Do people simply not know that beneath Croydon's Chavvy exterior there is a mature, more alternative side waiting to burst out? Or are people just put off by this exterior, and then choose to not give it a chance? Luckily enough, we are getting a massive revamp within the next 10 years, that may help bring the kind of people we need to boost the culture just waiting in the wings for it's chance to shine, and I for one, really hope it works! Although for now, the best thing to come out of Croydon is the Croydon Facelift, and that is truly a shame.

I would advise, anyone reading this from London, and surrounding areas to visit Croydon for a night out, but head away from the hustle and bustle and find yourself a hidden wonder that may shock you and change your opinion of my town. I would advise hitting up Half and Half for a few world beers and tasty cocktails and then just explore and see what you find!

No matter what people say about Croydon, I am proud to be from here, and I hope other people will see it for what it is, and not just the man-made media mockery that it has become.


  1. I have worked in Croydon for the past 8 years. Prior to that I rarely visited the place, except under duress - to purchase school uniform! But I now know that poor old Croydon suffers from a negative image problem which may be a hangover from the 60s, when the architectural skyline was 'blackened' by some monstrosities!!

    It is good to see a positive article on the vibrancy and diversity of the largest London borough (in population). I had a very skewed perspective until I came to work here and, having travelled in all parts of the borough, I have been surprised and impressed with many parts of its differing areas. I am happy to report that Croydon is not the 'dump' which has been unfairly attributed to it.

    The local media does not help, by concentrating on crime issues and rarely reporting the wonderful things which are going on around the borough. Young Croydonians are constantly painted in a negative light, whereas the majority are not involved in any criminal activity and many are enthusiastically involved in community projects and activities.

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    This was precisely the response I was hoping to get. I feel exactly the same, it's such a shame that a town that has so much potential is simply overlooked!

    Even though Croydon is trending on Twitter, it's not a positive trend, it'd be nice if we could change that, even a little bit!

    Once again, thanks for your comment. :)

  3. Thanks you for a great read and for a positive mention of the bar! Croydon has so many hidden gems, fantastic restaurants and night spots (unfortunately quality night clubs are lacking.)

    The thing that saddens me is that Croydon does have culture and history, yet the council do nothing with it.

    East Street market is the oldest traditional market in the country, but where is this mentioned? around the central hub of croydon you have some of the oldest buildings in croydon but yet they are surrounded by huge concrete slabs or shopping centres that hide or cover them. The warehouse theatre is yet another gem I should mention that is not embraced.

    As our conversation earlier croydon does have so much potential but that means changing the dynamic of how it works and how it is run by the local council. Unfortunately until they embrace things that arent mainstream and wont bag them loads of money fast (seriously do we need another shopping centre?)then we will be stuck in the same predicament for eternity.

    If i could say one thing it would be this, croydon stop trying to be something you're not, and start being what you are and could be.

    Rant done.

  4. Nice to read a positive blog. I write a blog entitled "The Good Life in Croydon" each week. However, although I often write about Croydon, I sometimes write about other things too, as I travel around quite a bit - http://www.anne-giles.blogspot.com
    Last week's blog did criticise certain medical services in Croydon, as a big mistake had occurred in my care.
    You mention pubs - I never go to pubs, as they are not my cup of tea. However, I love the cafes and restaurants in the Borough.

  5. Many Croydon councillors do promote the history and heritage whenever they can but, sadly, big money talks and Croydon needs investment for growth. It is a question of balance and, perhaps, sometimes the scales swing too far in the wrong direction. However, equally, residents of long standing are often resistant to change and it is not always a bad thing.

  6. Thankyou both for your comments. Anne, I have read through your blog and it's very good! Apart from the negativity towards the NHS it's extremely couraging to read such positivity. Also feel free to use my post on your blog if you want to.

    @Croydon Neighbourhoods It is, of course, understandable that money is an issue in promoting Croydon, and as I mentioned with the new developments coming soon, this should help bring an influx of people eager to experience what we have to offer here. I hope that by bringing attention away from the bleak feelings certain people have of the borough can help us a build a people-type who are willing to explore some of the niche bars/restaurants/heritage sites/ and even nature areas on offer.