Five of the best… places in Croydon to bag a bargain

By - Wednesday 29th June, 2016

More dash than cash? Croydon’s the place to go shopping, says Bernadette Fallon

Small Change by Bev Jones

Small Change by Croydon artist Bev Jones, used with permission.
To find out more about Bev’s work and buy her paintings visit

In Surrey Street market

It’s the oldest open air fruit and veg market in the UK and a great place to do your entire weekly fruit and vegetable shop for under a tenner. Stalls are bursting with bowls of produce for a pound – stagger home under the weight of it, because there’s none of your paltry ‘three for a pound’ here (yes Berwick Street market, Soho, I’m looking at you): the stalls towards the Church Street end go right up to ‘seven for a pound’. There’s a sprinkling of hot food stalls – from Eastern Europe to the Far East – and a small number of vendors selling bags and accessories, but mainly it’s food.

A market has existed in Croydon since 1236 – we know for sure because there’s a record of its stallage fees, and the town was granted a market charter in 1276 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The original market was located in Surrey Street, but also stretched into the High Street and Crown Hill. Corn, livestock and meat were the main staples – none of your yams or knock-down strawberries back then.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 7:00am to 6:00pm

At Croydon College’s beauty and hairdressing salon

Manicure at Croydon College

Photo by Lee Stafford Education, used with permission.

I think that this might just be one of my new favourite places in Croydon. I mean, what lady doesn’t love a spot where she can pick up a manicure from £8? A blow-dry from £7. Full body massage for just £15. Not that it’s restricted to ladies of course. Oh no. The day I was there being manicured a gentleman opposite was being facial-ed. The salon is in fact run by a very cool man – Lee Stafford of London West End fame, hairdresser to the stars.

As it’s part of Croydon College, the Lee Stafford Hair and Beauty Academy is staffed by students and trainees, supervised by qualified therapists and teachers. Treatments are given in large, ‘dormitory-style’ rooms, though curtains will be drawn for privacy during a massage, for example. And you will be asked to provide brief feedback on your therapist at the end of your session.

It’s a lovely space, bright and big, and while the student therapists are professional and good at what they do, be aware that treatments such as manicures and pedicures might take a little longer than you’re used to – they’re still learning, after all. Still, for cut-price beauty treatments and hair-dos, it’s quite a find.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, open until 7pm on Thursday. Use the entrance on Park Lane. For treatments and price list, phone 020 8760 5867 or

In the British Heart Foundation shops


Photo author’s own.

The BHF secondhand furniture shop on George Street holds a special place in my heart ever since the day I went in there to buy a kitchen table, shortly after moving to Croydon, and left the proud owner of a piano. It’s a treasure trove of finds at fantastically low prices and if only I had the space in my flat for a grand old sideboard I could buy any number of them for about twenty quid. From beds to lamps, sofas to dining room sets, framed pictures to electrical equipment… I simply can’t walk past it without having a quick browse even though my house is now bursting with stuff I’ve bought there.

While I’m on the subject, can I also draw your attention to the book selection in the other BHF charity shop on the High Street (sells clothes, shoes and bric-a-brac as well)? It has such a good book selection that they can even alphabeticize them.

Opening hours: BHF Furniture and Electrical, 7-10 Suffolk House, George Street, CR0 1PE; Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 6:00pm, Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm. BHF shop, 72 High Street, Croydon, CR0 1NA; Monday to Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm, Sunday 11:00am to 5:00pm

At Anna’s Thai restaurant

What wonder is this? Hearty Thai lunch for £4.95 – including a soft drink, nice! The food is pretty scrumptious and my Thai standards are high, ever since spending a month eating my way around the country several years ago. There’s a good range of choices on the set menu, including old favourites like green curry and noodle dishes, and even though fruit juice isn’t included in the list of drink options, our kind waiter let my friend have one as part of the deal.

Anna's Thai restaurant

Photo author’s own.

There’s also an early bird evening menu for £8.95 (main course and drink), Sun to Wed 5:00pm to 8:00pm.The restaurant is itself is big, bright and welcoming, staff are pleasant and it’s only a stone’s throw from central Croydon. They’ll even deliver if you can’t get down there: phone 020 8680 1010 or order online: here’s the menu. I need say no more.

Opening hours: Anna’s Thai, 235 High Street, CR0 1QR; Monday & Saturday 5:00pm to 10:30pm, Tuesday to Friday 12:00pm to 2:30pm and 5:00pm to 10:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm to 10:30pm

At eBears ‘designer warehouse’

Wall in eBears cafe

Vintage display in eBear’s vintage café.
Photo author’s own.

What’s this you say? A designer warehouse? In Croydon! Oh yes. The eBears Attic Charity Tea Room and Boutique at Hamsey Green (the winner of last year’s Croydon’s Best Independent Café of the year, you might remember) not only does a mean cup of coffee and a perfect slice of cake, the vintage shop is a wonderland of pretty things – from clothes to handbags to homewares, accessories, books and more.

And not only that. Leave the cute café and turn right and a few doors down you’ll come to the ebears ‘warehouse’ – okay, it’s more like a long hallway with a small room at the end, but it’s packed with even more goodies. In recent months a friend has picked up dresses from Pucci and hip New York brand Eci, a Louis Vuitton purse and various designer handbags. Okay ladies, form an orderly queue now…

Opening hours: eBear’s Attic Tea Room and Charity Boutique, 320 Limpsfield Road, Warlingham, CR2 9BX, Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm for the shop. The tea room closes at 4:30pm daily.

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

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