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I ❤ Croydon [Oct. 31st, 2011|09:38 pm]
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This is a follow-up to my previous post about the Support Croydon! pub crawl (which went very well and was a lot of fun). I asked people after that to tell me what they like about Croydon, and here are the results, along with some reasons of my own.

Trams. The Tramlink network is centred on Croydon, and stretches from Wimbledon in the west to Beckenham, Elmers End, and New Addington in the east. This is the only area of London with trams. (See RGL for a map of tram stops.)

Other transport links. Croydon has truly excellent transport links, both to destinations within London and places further afield. Trains from East Croydon to London Bridge can take as little as 15 minutes, while West Croydon is served by both overground trains (to London Bridge or Victoria) and Overground trains (East London Line to Highbury & Islington). If you fancy a trip to Brighton, that's just 45 minutes on a direct train.

A wide range of restaurants. From the more upmarket places like Fish & Grill, Le Cassoulet, and Albert's Table, through the mid-range places like Galicia and Osushi, to the little Indian, Sri Lankan, Kurdish, and Caribbean places on and around London Road — Croydon has it all (well, OK, aside from non-Cantonese Chinese food, but Tai Tung is good for dim sum, at least). There are also plenty of chain eateries like Wagamama, Yo Sushi, Miso, and Subway.

Loads of pubs. Even the less-good pubs in Croydon are still often worth popping into, but the one I'd recommend mostly strongly is the Royal Standard — I don't usually go in for "best of" lists, but if I were to make a list of my five favourite pubs in the whole of London, this would be on it. Other good Croydon pubs include the Claret, the Dog and Bull, and the Builders Arms. (See also the RGL map of pubs in Croydon.)

A good mixture of chain shops and independents. I buy my vegetables from Surrey Street Market and my fish from Surrey Fish Co. There's Wing Yip for East and South-East Asian ingredients, and small family-run shops for African, South Asian, and Eastern European food. There's Hobbycraft and IKEA, and there are small independent hardware stores. There's an M&S, with a 99p shop directly opposite. There's a bargain clothes shop that hasn't had a name on its frontage since at least 2007, and there are two large shopping malls with all the familiar chain names.

Plenty of green stuff and pedestrian-friendliness. Croydon has loads of parks, woodland, and open spaces within a short distance, and most of the area is very pedestrian-friendly. Shortly after I moved here, I was walking down North End (the main shopping street) and wondered why the ambient noise was "strange". I soon realised that this was because it sounded exactly like the conversational buzz in a good restaurant — there was no traffic noise, and the street was just filled with people strolling along and talking to each other. That is what a city centre should be like.


[User Picture]From: pne
2011-11-01 11:52 am (UTC)
That sounds wonderful!
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[User Picture]From: nou
2011-11-02 12:09 pm (UTC)
It really is a great place to live.
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[User Picture]From: pne
2011-11-02 01:20 pm (UTC)
Speaking of you living there, Stella and I are tentatively planning to spend our summer holidays in England next year (budget permitting)—probably in the first half of July because Amy will have school holidays already but UK schoolchildren won’t and so prices for things like the ferry won’t have gone through the roof yet.

I think I’d like to try to meet you again; would you be interested? We’ll probably be staying in Rutland since my family lives around Leicester, but I’m thinking maybe of a stop on the way back from there to Dover, or perhaps if I do a day trip to London or something.

As far as you can tell, would you be there around that time and would you be interested in a visit?
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[User Picture]From: nou
2011-11-03 01:55 pm (UTC)
I would love to see you! The only thing is, we're having some major building work done at some point, and I'm not yet at all sure of the timescale on that. I will probably have a better idea once bob's back from his world tour.

If we're not having building work done at the time, then we should be able to put you all up for the night if you like.
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[User Picture]From: pne
2011-11-03 02:19 pm (UTC)
we should be able to put you all up for the night if you like

Oh! This was an offer I had not been expecting, but thank you!

I'll see how our plans progress, but that's a useful thing to know when planning.

Incidentally, do you have any recommendations for crossing the water (Channel and/or North Sea)? We're not going to fly if Stella can help it, but that still leaves the tunnel plus several ferry routes, and I'm wondering whether there are other factors to consider when choosing one besides crossing time, number of sailings, and price. (For example, if one company has better service, or a given route tends to have less hassle, or whatever.)
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[User Picture]From: nou
2011-11-05 01:09 pm (UTC)
I don't have any suggestions, I'm afraid, but I'll ask my friends list on Monday (since lots of people don't read LiveJournal on the weekend).
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[User Picture]From: pne
2011-11-05 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that would be lovely!
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2011-11-01 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this - I figured there had to be some half-decent restaurants in Croydon but having spent the last 3 years getting to grips with the transport network and main shopping centres I hadn't found them.

To be fair, I cracked most of that on my first trip to the Baby Cafe (breastfeeding clinic where they let you have coffee and choccie biscuits like a grown-up!), managing to go twice round the town centre both on my way to Addiscombe and on the way back!
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[User Picture]From: nou
2011-11-02 12:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there's not much interesting around the shopping centres food-wise (though there is a Malaysian cafe in the Whitgift Centre). There are quite a few restaurants on South End (south of the High Street) and more on London Road, north of West Croydon Station.

I'm currently seeking out baby/child-friendly cafes/restaurants/etc — when jvvw and her son visited earlier this week we ended up in Chai Corner, which was fine, but it is in a basement...
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[User Picture]From: shuripentu
2011-11-02 03:28 pm (UTC)
Beanies is the latest reincarnation of Beanos and is practically child-mandatory. Not a restaurant, but at least it just about manages to be a café?
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[User Picture]From: nou
2011-11-03 01:56 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that looks interesting, thank you! I expect I will find myself there in the company of small persons at some point :)
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