How Croydon charmed me

By - Monday 3rd August, 2015

Newly-arrived Marcia Henry-Morgan has been looking at Croydon with fresh eyes

Image by Mike Beecham, used with permission.

I moved to London just over a year ago and where I landed was Croydon. I chose Croydon because I have family here and it seemed like a logical choice.

You can’t help but notice that people in Croydon complain quite a lot, which leads me to ask: what is their comparison? When you’ve lived in other places, you notice that a whole lot of problems crop up there too, and this gives you perspective. Also, when you have chosen to come to a place, it maybe makes you more naturally positive about the place you chose. I certainly feel positive about my new home, Croydon, and here are some of the reasons why.

It’s affordable: having been here for about fifteen months, and still considering myself a newbie Londoner, I can see the appeal of Croydon to the ‘out of towner’ as a place of residence. Croydon is cheaper than other boroughs, and I am about being thrifty wherever possible: it’s cheap chic for me. I now live in London, but I don’t see why I should put myself into administration because of it. Before I moved here I had braced myself for extortionate rental prices, and yes, it is more expensive than renting back home (the East Midlands). But Croydon’s not as jaw-dropping as other boroughs; in Clapham you can pay as much as £900 per month for a furnished double bed room in a shared house. I pay less than half that amount, excluding bills.

We hear ‘Shoreditch-isation this’, and ‘gentrification that’

It’s accessible: Croydon has great transport links to the rest of London. While it’s not a location connected by the underground, its transport system is pretty quick and cheap. I can get to Wimbledon with ease and the quick train from East Croydon train station has me in Victoria in about fifteen minutes. From Croydon I can get to London Bridge, Farringdon and St Pancras direct. If and when I can go on holiday, I can get the Gatwick Express; if I want escape to the coast I can jump on a train to Brighton and be there in forty minutes.

It’s exciting: in the short time that I’ve lived in London I’ve regularly heard about ‘Shoreditch-isation this’ and ‘gentrification that’. The fun is somehow elsewhere – but maybe we don’t see the wood for the trees, or the beauty of Croydon through the renovation that is currently taking place. The place is getting a facelift, and its own bit of Shoreditch-isation: a Boxpark just like theirs is coming our way. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it’s trendy pop-up shops that are housed in refurbished storage containers – arriving right next to East Croydon station in the summer of 2016.

West Croydon is my stomping ground, so when I’m not going to work and don’t want to jump on a plane, train or automobile, I venture out round there. Yes, Shoreditch has trendy bars and eateries, but my neck of the woods has its own charm.

Surrey Street market stretches my money like elastic

On my typical Saturday, east meets west – the area between Croydon’s two central station is compact and what I love is that I can leave my house on foot and be shopping in town ten minutes later. So far so speedy, with no major queues – and more importantly, once the shopping’s done, I feel like I still have my Saturday.

Then there’s Kaspa’s Desserts. You can find it on London Road, opposite West Croydon train station. If you’re on a diet and can’t do ice cream, cakes, waffles, milkshakes, pancakes – I say, go on your day off from dieting, even if this means you have to tap it into your phone’s calendar. It’s a nice dessert eatery and reasonably priced. You can get change from a tenner and – depending what you have – that might be change that jingles or even change that folds.

Surrey Street market makes the list in a big way. (I told you I was about being thrifty.) I’ve been frequenting the market on my lunch breaks, as I’m currently working in Croydon, and £10 in hand is my budget for fresh fruit and veg for the week. Surrey Street stretches my money like elastic – so much cheaper than going to the supermarket. I love the cherries from the market – could eat them all day everyday – and buying them there makes a big difference to the money that I have in my purse come the end of the working week. (Plus if you need recipe inspiration, Jess Bashford’s market-based column in the Citizen has some great ideas).

I’ll be writing more in the Citizen about how Croydon has charmed me. It’s definitely the incomer’s choice, and I’m glad that it’s been mine.

Marcia Henry-Morgan

Marcia Henry-Morgan

I am a marketeer by profession, originally from the East Midlands and moved just over a year ago to Croydon for work. I love food, whether it’s eating out or cooking at home. London has a lot to offer in the way of work and play but I am keen to discover what is available to me locally as I feel you don’t have to always head off to the city to have fun.

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  • Anne Giles

    So glad you like it!

  • Jonny Rose

    Welcome, Marcia! Glad to hear that you’ve found Croydon to be both a stimulating place and a welcoming place :)

    There’s loads that you should check out, if you like art (, coffee ( or general activities (

    I look forward to reading more about why Croydon has charmed you in the future!

    • Rochelle Singh

      Jonny meet Marcia my friend and work colleague. Marcia meet Jonny a key game changer influencing the rise of Tech in Croydon

    • Marcia Henry-Morgan

      Thank you Jonny for the tips. I will definitely be checking out more of what Croydon has to offer, thanks for the links.

      Rochelle, thanks for the introduction

  • Reena

    Gatwick Express does not stop in Croydon, but it takes us barely 10-15 minutes to get there from ECR. Not too bad.

  • Wesley Jordan Anthony Baker

    Totally agree with everything you said. Makes you wonder if these people even travel around London to understand how much we have going for our area in comparison let alone other parts of the country.

    Glad your enjoying big here, things are really starting to take off. Needs more people like us to speak up for the area and its events.

  • NeilB

    “cheaper than elsewhere” I think I would rather it wasn’t , to be honest. This might change of course if the attractions of Croydon become more widely appreciated.