This post was first published by My London on 16/06/2019.
11 things you can do in Croydon that you can’t do in London
It’s time to recognise how great it is!
There is so much going on in Central London and no-one can deny that but with that hub of activity, it’s easy to forget that places in Greater London also have a lot to offer in different ways.
We’re not saying one is better than the other, just that they both offer different things that you don’t want to miss out on.
Here’s a collection of some of the things you can do that make Croydon the place it is today.
1. Play an 18-hole golf course
We’re pretty sure there’s no room for an 18-hole golf course anywhere in Zone 1. In fact, the only golf you can play in central London is the crazy kind.
When you get out into Croydon there’s much more space, meaning the borough has multiple golf courses to choose from. You can go to Shirley Park Golf Club, The Addington, Addington Court, Croham Hurst, Farleigh, and Purley Downs, among others.
2. Take a stroll through Coombe Wood
Yes Hyde Park is lovely, but does it really top having a walk through beautiful woodland with colourful flowers?
You can go to Coombe Wood for a relaxing stroll alone or take family and friends to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There’s also the Coach House cafe to stop off for refreshments, and even the afternoon tea if you book in advance.
3. Have a bounce at Oxygen Freejumping
There’s simply not enough space in central London for a huge trampoline park, but luckily there is in Croydon.
Oxygen Freejumping has parks around the UK, but describes its Croydon one as “one of the most exciting and feature-packed” parks it has. I mean it does have over 100 trampolines.
4. Look over London at Addington Hills viewing platform
Take a picnic along to Addington Hills and see how many London landmarks you can spot as you admire the view stretching across Croydon and the capital.
The hill rises 460 feet above sea level. On clear days it’s actually possible to see Epping Forest and Fulham. If you have good eye sight, you can even see the turrets of Windsor Castle.
5. Enjoy a film at David Lean Cinema
This is a unique cinema in honour of the director David Lean, who was born in Croydon. It is located in the Croydon Clocktower arts complex.
It’s often described as an intimate, art-house style cinema and shows the best of British and World cinema, including both classics and modern favourites.
6. Visit London’s original international airport
You can see the UK’s first international airport in Croydon so you definitely can’t see it anywhere else in the country, including central London.
The volunteer-led Croydon Airport Visitor Centre is described as a micro-museum. You can visit it and explore the history on the first Sunday of every month, with the exception of New Years Day.
7. Find gems at Surrey Street Market
Croydon has some amazing history as this is impressively one of the oldest markets in Britain, having been trading since 1276.
Surrey Street Market is buzzing, with lots of different, independent traders selling everything from food to arts and crafts products. It operates seven days a week.
8. Explore Croydon Minster
Yet another fascinating historical site that central London doesn’t have is Croydon’s parish church.
Six Archbishops of Canterbury have been buried in the Minster and it is believed the church was founded in Saxon times, although the first record of it is in the Domesday Book of 1086.
You can visit any day of the week for free, and also take a tour up the tower to the bellroom and clock during Open Heritage Weekend in June.
9. Visit Shirley Windmill
We challenge you to find a windmill like this one anywhere in central London. And the pub doesn’t count.
This impressive structure is about 174 years old and, although it hasn’t been operating since about 1890 most of the original machinery is still there, including its two millstones.
10. Walk in Happy Valley
This is a beautiful spot to unleash your inner wild side.
You can download an official guide on the Happy Valley and Farthing Downs Nature Trail. The walk starts at the Farthing Downs car park and moves on so you get views of New Hill and along Happy Valley before further up being able to see across London.
11. Treat yourself at Matthews Yard
Matthews Yard is the ultimate trendy night out in Croydon with its delicious food and drink options but it also has so much more to offer, with a range of shows, exercise classes like yoga, craft workshops, and fairs.