Croydon is a major suburban town and commercial centre situated 9.5 miles (15.3 km) south of Charing Cross and the principal town in the London Borough of Croydon . It has over 5,400 acres of natural green belt land as well as many parks and gardens. Croydon also has excellent communication links by bus, train, road and a new tram system and is less than an hour from both Gatwick and Heathrow airports. Croydon is the sixth largest business and commercial centre in the UK , with a working population of 133,660 with over 52,000 of whom commute in from other parts of London , Kent , Surrey and Sussex.
As a busy and thriving town, Croydon offers a wide range of pubs, clubs and restaurants both within the town centre and throughout the area. The Fairfield Halls Concert Hall and Ashcroft Theatre host excellent theatrical and musical events which cover a broad spectrum of tastes, often from world renowned groups. The Croydon Clocktower is a multi-functional cultural centre which is home to the Central Library, a modern cinema and three exhibition galleries. There are a large number of cinemas in and around Croydon, ranging from the older, relatively small cinemas to the large Vue complex on the Purley Way and the Grant's multiscreen complex right in the town centre.
Some of the widest range of shops outside of the West End is available in Croydon. Its town centre offers compact and accessible shopping at the likes of The Whitgift Centre and Centrale, which have all the major high street stores under cover, including, House of Frasier, Debenhams, BHS, Marks & Spencers and Next and both shopping centres are linked by the pedestrianised North End which has even more shops. There is also the historic Surrey Street Market, dating back to the 13th century, and nowadays a typical open air market. The area around Purley Way has in recent years become home to many out of town retail stores, including B&Q, Marks & Spencer, Next, Boots and Ikea.
There are a wide range of sports and fitness facilities within the Borough, with many areas having local swimming pools and fitness suites. Croydon's many parks also offer sporting facilities, including tennis and football. In addition, there are numerous golf courses, providing a wide range of challenges for all golfers from novice to scratch players. A sports stadium on Albert Road in South Norwood has an eight lane 400m running track and facilities for field events. It is also home, during the winter months to Croydon FC and Crystal Palace FC is only a few miles away.
Ideally situated for commuters, Croydon boasts excellent road and rail access and is served by the main London-Brighton railway line as well as the superb new tram system. The 28 kilometres of track links Croydon with New Addington, Beckenham, Elmer's End and Wimbledon . Whilst East Croydon station is one of the busiest stations in the country and offers fast and frequent links to the major London stations in less than twenty minutes. Eight trains an hour get you to Gatwick Airport in just over twenty minutes.
There are also inter city services to the Midlands, the North West and Scotland, services to Kings Cross, Brighton and Bedford and more recently services have been introduced to Watford, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Rugby.
Gatwick Airport is just thirty minutes by car and Heathrow Airport can be reached in just over fifty minutes. Both offer flights to most global destinations. Also accessible from Croydon are London City Airport, about fifty minutes by car which serves 20 European destinations and Biggin Hill Airport which offers executive and commercial services within the UK and Europe.
Both the M25 and M23 are easily accessed from Croydon. The A23, A25 and A232 allow easy road travel to the South Coast as well as Kingston , Sutton and Bromley.
Bus services in Croydon are extensive and allow easy local travel as well as taking travellers into Central London and to the major airports.