Nestled between the North Downs and London’s bustling centre, Croydon combines small-town charm with big-city connections. For many Londoners seeking more bang for their buck, Croydon represents an appealing alternative to pricier central boroughs.
This guide covers everything you need to know about living in Croydon. We’ll explore the area’s key perks and downsides, best neighbourhoods, housing options, cost of living and how to make the most of life in this diverse South London hub.
Live Your South London Dream
Offering lifestyle, convenience and value just south of the river, Croydon makes an appealing home base for so many Londoners today. With its leafy villages and bustling urban centres, entertainment options galore plus quick connections into London Bridge and Victoria, the borough has mass appeal.
Croydon shared ownership properties help get first-timers on the ladder too. Whether renting or buying, Croydon’s diverse neighbourhoods and housing stock provide something for all tastes and budgets.
Why Live in Croydon?
Croydon lies 10 miles south of Central London in the London Borough of Croydon. As London’s southernmost borough, it merges into the green belt of Surrey Hills. Historic small towns like Caterham and Coulsdon retain village vibes on Croydon’s fringes.
Here are some of the main appeals of Croydon for homebuyers:
- Affordability – Croydon offers much better value than central London. Everything from property prices to the weekly shop is more budget-friendly.
- Transport – Quick rail connections get you into London Victoria or London Bridge in 15-20 minutes. Tram network and nearby M25 orbital motorway also enable easy regional access.
- Jobs – Major business parks provide ample employment. Top employers include Nestlé, HMRC, Croydon Health Services and Croydon Council.
- Retail therapy – Huge shopping destinations include Centrale & Whitgift Centre with over 300 outlets, plus IKEA and the Colonnades leisure complex.
- Schools – Plenty of Good/Outstanding Ofsted rated primary and secondary schools, plus high-scoring grammars.
- Green spaces – Over 120 parks and open spaces from Surrey Street Park to Happy Valley. Large nature reserves at Farthing Downs and Riddlesdown.
- Entertainment – Vibrant food, pub and club scene thanks to the youthful population. Venues like Matthew’s Yard, Boxpark and the Spread Eagle Theatre.
Croydon ticks numerous lifestyle boxes with its blend of urban convenience, affordability and quick London access. No wonder more value-driven buyers are calling it home.
The Best Areas to Live in Croydon
From leafy villages to bustling urban neighbourhoods, Croydon offers diverse residential options to suit all priorities. Here are some of the most popular areas:
South Croydon – Affluent area with excellent schools, verdant parks and great transport. Period properties and low crime rate make it desirable. Vibrant high street too.
Addiscombe – Leafy east Croydon suburb with tram links. Elegant Victorian and Edwardian homes appeal to commuters and families. Close to Ashburton Park.
Purley – Upmarket residential area hailed for its outstanding schools. Large detached homes, parks and woodlands create a peaceful setting. Great for families.
Selsdon – Situated on Farthing Downs, this village-feel neighbourhood has scenic walking trails. Offers larger period homes at reasonable prices. Low crime rate.
New Addington – One of Croydon’s most affordable areas. Community vibe and mid-century homes appeal to first-time buyers and families. Good budget option.
Thornton Heath – Boasts one of Croydon’s best high streets for shops and food. Victorian terraces and flats give it an urban edge. Well-connected for transport.
Norbury – Residential streets, parks and schools make this a family favourite. Also close to shops and restaurants on London Road.
Croydon spans charming villages, buzzy urban districts and green garden suburbs. Prioritise proximity to transport, schools or budget when deciding where to live.
Popular Housing Options in Croydon
With its diverse architecture and neighbourhoods, Croydon caters to all housing needs:
Victorian terraces – architectural gems packing period features galore. Typically two to three bedrooms. Found in Addiscombe, Thornton Heath and South Croydon.
Suburban semis – two-storey 1930s semis and detached homes with gardens. Offer driveways and three bedrooms. See West Croydon and Purley.
Flats – conversions or new builds located centrally and well-connected. Compact and affordable for young professionals.
Farm cottages – quaint rural cottages in the Surrey villages near Croydon. Thatched roofs, low beams and rustic gardens provide charm.
Townhouses – sleek modern townhouses in gated developments. Open-plan kitchens and minimalist decor throughout. Great options for families.
Manor houses – opulent multi-bedroom homes in prestigious locations like Lloyd Park. Ideal for wealthy professionals who want luxury.
With such diverse housing types, Croydon has options to buy or rent whether you’re after urban buzz or pastoral peace.
Cost of Living in Croydon
Croydon offers significant savings compared to Inner London. Here’s a breakdown of typical costs:
- Rent – between £900-£1200pcm for a one-bed flat, £1200-£1700 for a two-bedroom. Houses from £1600. Reductions outlying villages.
- Council tax – Band D is around £1700 annually. Band A/B properties as low as £1100.
- Groceries – Weekly food shop at supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl starts from £30-40 for basic essentials.
- Eating out – Pub meals from £10, restaurant dining from £25pp. Croydon has options to suit every budget.
- Transport – Central Croydon to London Victoria train is £7.90 peak/£4.70 off-peak return. Monthly railcards offer 1/3 off.
- Entertainment – Cinema from £6, theatre from £15. Lots of free parks, events and galleries too.
Whilst not the cheapest London borough, Croydon offers far better affordability than “prime” neighbouring areas like Sutton and Bromley. Shared households and outlying locations reduce costs further.
Things to Do in Croydon
Croydon keeps residents entertained with abundant leisure options:
Shopping – Retail therapy at Centrale & Whitgift Centre’s 300+ stores. Also The Colonnades leisure complex and IKEA.
Parks – Over 120 parks and open spaces to enjoy. Highlights include South Norwood Country Park and Happy Valley’s gardens.
Arts & culture – Theatres like the Fairfield Halls plus art galleries and museums. Also street art and the Croydon Literary Festival.
Sports – Premier League club Crystal Palace FC, water sports at South Norwood Lake and 66 public gyms across Croydon.
Food & drink – A globally diverse food scene spanning Nepalese to vegan. Plus charming pubs and buzzy bars and clubs.
Family days out – Swim at Waddon Leisure Centre, see wildlife at Paxton Pits or explore the historic Croham Hurst.
Heritage sites – Soak up local history at the Croydon Minster and Archbishop’s Palace or get panoramic views from the Selsdon viewpoint.
With budget-friendly entertainment options galore, Croydon keeps residents happy. The transport links also make central London’s attractions easily accessible for day trips.
Is Croydon a Good Place to Live?
For those seeking an affordable London base with great connections, Croydon has huge appeal. Money goes further on property and living costs, whilst travel times into London Bridge or Victoria are just 15-20 minutes.
Excellent rail, tram and road links enable easy regional access too. Big retail names, pretty parks and tons of community spirit make life pleasant. Vibrant high streets in areas like South Croydon offer shops and dining on par with pricier London neighbourhoods.
However, Croydon lacks the prestige of London postal codes like Richmond or Greenwich. Some areas are still shedding slightly grimy reputations. Pockets of deprivation and crime linger on, while schools range from outstanding to inadequate across postcodes. Commutes into central London do still reach 40-50 minutes.
Yet with major regeneration ongoing and huge investment in transport and facilities, Croydon’s future looks bright. For homebuyers seeking affordability and gateway access to London, Croydon ticks many boxes.
Relocating to Croydon: Next Steps
Moving to Croydon is much like relocating elsewhere in London and the South East:
Set a budget – Determine your price range for renting or buying based on local prices and personal affordability. Build in a buffer for fees and furnishings.
Find a home – Search property portals like Rightmove and schedule viewings. Compare locations, property types and transport links.
Secure a property – Make an offer and negotiate terms, securing via estate agents for sales or directly with landlords when renting.
Arrange finances – Sort your mortgage, rental deposits and fees. Make moving budgets for costs like removals and changing addresses.
Plan your move – Organise the all-important job of moving your belongings! Declutter beforehand then book a removals company.
Switch services – Update your address details with banks, the council, utilities and other bill providers. Register with a local GP surgery and dentist.
Discover the area – Once settled in, get to know your new neighbourhood. Find the best shops, cafes, parks and hubs. Introduce yourself to neighbours too!
If relocating within the UK, the moving process is relatively straightforward. Enlist removals help and be organised switching services to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
So don’t just dream of an affordable London address – make it a reality by calling Croydon your new home. This constantly evolving South London borough could be the perfect fit!