20 reasons why Croydon isn’t boring

By - Wednesday 15th April, 2015

Bernadette Fallon isn’t bored with Croydon – not a bit of it. Here’s why

There’s been a bit of dissent recently. Disgruntled rumblings around the esteemed – albeit virtual – corridors of the Croydon Citizen. Croydon is boring, they say. Dull. With boring people.

Well. I beg to differ. And I’d like to shout it loud and shout it proud – 20 reasons why Croydon isn’t boring!

1. RISE gallery opened with a Damien Hirst exhibition in 2014, continued with the first ever showing of an artist who draws and paints solely in his sleep and in February invited street artists Femme Fierce to cover the area and surrounding streets in art graffiti, while hosting an exhibition of selected street artists indoors. Sound dull to you?

2. Park Hill Park is one of Croydon’s most interesting – and prettiest – green spaces, with its own guerilla gardening team, Grade 2 listed Victorian water tower, beautiful walled garden and, as of this summer, Flower Fairy festival to celebrate the work of Croydon artist Cicely Mary Barker. Come for the fresh air and have the boredom blown out of you.

3. The Spread Eagle theatre is upstairs in one of Croydon’s most atmospheric pubs, which wins the 2014 award for most spectacular Christmas tree, hands down. The April programme offers comedy improv; Anatomy of the Piano, a Fringe First winner at Edinburgh, and TV’s Patrick Monahan in Monahanland. Laugh away any residual dullness.

4. Croydon Tech City, South London’s Silicon Valley, offers a platform and meeting place for people actively involved in or wanting to set up tech businesses, but is of interest to anyone interested in the exchange of ideas, the process of creation and the likelihood of being inspired. Definitely not boring.

5. Croydon Radio: Could anything with a programme schedule that includes the Suburban Pirate Radio Station, the Inspiration Show, Made in Croydon, Quiz Night at the Lobster, Hound Dog Geoff’s Curveballs, Are we nearly there yet?, and 10 things I didn’t know last Tuesday be boring? No, I didn’t think so.

6. Lives Not Knives is an inspiring organisation, working with young minds, which are – like umbrellas – useful when open. Anyone figure that to be boring?

7. The Alchemist restaurant is on Morland Road in Addiscombe; part charity, part co-op, with the feeling of sitting in someone’s cosy front room. Some of the best food (at the lowest prices) and fun (provided by the fantastic staff) you will find on a night out anywhere. The complete antithesis of dull.

8. Croydon Tweet Up: Informal get-togethers every six weeks or so at Matthew’s Yard, attracting a great mix of people who have no truck with being boring.

TURF’s Putt Putt #2 at East Croydon station. Photo by TURF Projects, used with permission.

9. TURF is a collection local artists, film-makers and architects, which has so far served up entertaining and inspirational projects such as artistic crazy golf outside East Croydon station, outdoor films in skate parks and poster art on billboards. I see nothing boring here.

10. Matthews Yard is probably the least boring place in Croydon and possibly the world, with the mix of great events, gatherings and meetings it hosts – Croydon Tech City, Croydon Tweet Up, Croydon Radio, Beats & Eats, Bourbon & Blues, Croydon Life Drawing, the Croydon Arts, Crafts and Vintage fair, Croydon Spanish group, French club in Croydon, Croydon Creatives, to name but a few. It also has a café, bar, restaurant, workspace, gallery and, interestingly, sells cake.

11. Croydon Minster was founded in Saxon times, long before the word ‘boredom’ had even been invented. Elizabeth and several Henrys were frequent visitors, the church currently has four choirs, a 19th century organ and 14 bells under the direction of the Croydon Ringers.

12. Tramlink: Trams are cool and coveted – Seattle, Melbourne, Prague, Lisbon and Berlin all rightly boast about theirs. Shuttle effectively between East and West, do your Purley Way shopping on Sunday without taking the car and find yourself deep in the woods around Lloyd Park; use the tram to speedily leave behind all that’s dull – move along now, nothing boring to see here …

13. Croydon Beekeepers: Bees have been around for over 100 million years and I bet you’ve never seen a bored bee? Croydon Beekeepers, part of the Surrey division, have been around since the 1800s and welcome new members and interested visitors to its apiary in Purley, where you can see where the (award-winning) honey is produced.

14. Café Adagio: With its recent makeover, it’s the new-look kid on the block in lovely Addiscombe (a place you could never be bored, with its array of local shops, including butcher’s, baker’s, greengrocers, vintage, hardware and a rather spectacular barber’s). Does good cake and a opens for a late-night music session on the first Monday of the month.

15. Art Halo touts the notion that art should be inclusive to all and exclusive to none. Run from RISE gallery and aimed at disadvantaged adults, it offers professional coaching with access to art materials, professional framing/mounting of finished art-works and an end-of-course group exhibition for the artists, family and friends.

16. Croydon Buddhist Centre: What’s the opposite of being bored? Being enlightened? Very likely. And a good place to start your search for it is the Buddhist Centre, with regular meditation sessions, courses, chanting, study groups, yoga classes, festival days, film and music evenings, a monthly full-moon worship and a shop.

Croydon’s phoenix, by artist Hale Man.
Image used with permission.

17. Art in the Whitgift: Not too many shopping centres throw open their doors to artists, but Croydon’s Whitgift has and hosts a permanent artist-in-residence in a former retail space turned studio. And likewise the artist, Hale Man, has thrown open her studio doors to the local community, hosting workshops and open days, including a two-day Chinese New Year celebration.

18. The Oval Tavern is one of the best and most exciting pubs in Croydon, with great gigs, pleasant garden, top food and a charismatic landlady running for election in May. Crowds form early for Sunday morning jazz and the lunch is legendary …

19. Lloyd Park is one of Croydon’s best open spaces – but who was Lloyd? The kind man who gave it to us – a newspaper magnate who owned the Coombe Estate in the early 1900s and presented 114 acres of it to the borough. Do fresh air and be uplifted.

20. Croydon Café Awards: the very latest addition to the #WhyCroydonRocks campaign with the aim of ditching all that’s dull forever: nominate your favourite independent local café for Best Café in Croydon in the ‪#cakencoffee crawl – find it on Twitter – soon…

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Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette has been a journalist since the age of 7 when she devised, designed and launched ‘Fallon’s News’ – much to her family’s delight. Brought up in Ireland, she was born in Addiscombe where she now lives, though it took her several decades to find it again. She works as a journalist and broadcaster. Follow her at Twitter.com/bernibee

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  • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

    Great stuff, B. It’s one thing for long-time Croydoners to champion the merits of the borough, it’s even more encouraging and a tremendous validation to see ‘newbies’ to the area do it as well.

  • Croydon Oxjam

    Errr… htp://www.ambitionfest.com : Soul II Soul, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Tinariwen, White Mink electro-swing, Hip-Hop, Hyde & Beast/Nick Harper/Alernaive Dubstep Orchestra at The Minster, Beans on Toast at Matthews Yard, Tony ‘Terrorvision’ Wright, Skip ‘Little Axe’ MacDonald, Edinburgh Fringe comedy bus, dance, theatre, art. Over 160 acts on nearly 30 stages over four days throughout the town in July…does that count??

  • cpmatthews

    Dont forget Croydon Eats Out! Socialising over food or drinks events every week or more often. A great place to meet local people and try out local restaurants.


  • Tony Skrzypczyk

    Don’t forgot our other Heritage sites and events, http://croydonheritagefestival.co.uk/Blog/40/Open-Buildings-revealed
    And not forgetting one of our oldest Socities

  • Anne Giles

    Fairfield Halls, Ashcroft Theatre, David Lean Cinema, Riddlesdown Common, Selsdon Woods, Addington Hills, Addington Park, Selsdon Park Hotel, Priscilla’s Tea Room in Sanderstead, the Jubilee Cafe at Selsdon Hall, the Scream Lounge, the Restaurant Quarter, the Grants Vue cinema, Galicia Spanish tapas bar.

  • Croydon Radio

    Thanks for the mench :)

  • Terry Coleman

    Perhaps Crystal Palace Football Club and the Stanley Halls may be considered as part of the town’s cultural attributes too.

  • Wesley Jordan Anthony Baker

    Beats and Eats, Surrey StrEatery are good additions to the list and the ‘Pop-up Emporium’ when it was open ICShop is cool cause its two young Croydonians who’ve build up an urban fashion store initially in St Georges walk and are now located in Centrale. I have to admit personally I still find Croydon compared to some other areas a bit boring because I think even more could be happening here.

  • Ash Balakrishnan

    Olde Goa Restaurant in Norbury consistently in Top 10 restaurants in London out of 18,500 restaurants on Trip Advisor.