A once down and out borough of south London, Croydon is fast becoming a cool and cosmopolitan place. With burgeoning café culture, indie boutiques, and modern art galleries all housed in grandiose Victorian or art deco inspired buildings, there are plenty of places to explore. To get started, hop on the train to Norwood Junction and let your 12 hours in Croydon begin.
Once you’ve pulled into Norwood Junction, head over to South Norwood Country Park for a stroll around the impressive estate. Home to a range of wildlife habitats, it’s the perfect place for a spot of bird watching and stretch your legs after a train journey.
Catch the tram to Surrey Street market. Home to around 70 fruit and veg traders, a market has traded on Surrey Street since 1276. Grab some gorgeous fresh fruit as a mid-morning snack.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday, the market hosts international artisans, crafts and entertainment giving the whole place a truly global feel.
It’s time for your tour at Croydon Palace. Now an independent school for girls, Croydon Palace was home to the Archbishops of Canterbury. Tours can be booked online for dates during school holidays.
Tours are guided and include the former state apartments with an oriel window and supports in carved stone, as well as the stunning 15th century Great Hall. With a timber roof from the 16th century and a beautiful Gothic interior porch it’s a true masterpiece. The tour also includes the 17th century chapel, with ornately carved choir stalls and a decorative corner gallery.
After a busy morning it’s time for some traditional pub grub at the Spread Eagle Theatre. Housed in a grand Victorian former bank building, the Spread Eagle Theatre is home to a typical London pub and serves traditional pub food, whilst the top floor is home to a 50-seater studio theatre, dedicated to showcasing new talent.
Post pie and pint, there’s not far to go as you head next door to the Croydon Clocktower. Built in the Victorian period in traditional red brick, Croydon Clocktower is now the cultural centre of Croydon.
Watch an early afternoon performance of a critically acclaimed film in the David Lean cinema. Small, yet perfectly formed, the cinema still retains much of the character of the Victorian building.
Head to the independent café in the clocktower for a quick coffee, before exploring the exhibitions in the Museum of Croydon – also housed in the Clocktower. Displaying the social history of the town from the 1800s to the 21st century, exhibits also include information about the manufacturing of the bubble car.
It’s time to grab some fusion inspired street food from the buzzing Boxpark Croydon. With over thirty mouth-watering restaurants and bars, almost every cuisine imaginable can be found under one roof.
You can even eat and drink by starlight on the expansive roof terrace on the upper decking area.
A trip to Croydon wouldn’t be complete without watching Crystal Palace play at their home ground of Selhurst Park – and it’s conveniently close to the train station!
Not a fan of football? There’s no need to leave Boxpark Croydon after dinner, as you can spend your evening there watching live music, movie screenings, creative workshops, art exhibitions and much, much, more.
After an action packed 12 hours, it’s time to catch the train and head home. And start planning your next 12 hour day!