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Croydon, in south London, is a large town with a population of well over 300,000 people. Croydon is known as a major commercial centre and is just 10 miles away from Charing Cross.
These days, Croydon is recognised as an important area for the retail industry. The Whitgift Centre, opened in 1970, is a large shopping centre and office block. The shopping centre is split over three stories and adjoins to the Allders store. Croydon is Britain's sixth largest commercial centre with many shops and shopping centre developments.
Croydon has another major shopping centre, "Centrale" which is the largest in London. Opened in 2004, the shopping centre contains several big named stores like House of Fraser, TK Maxx and Debenhams.
There are also 50 smaller stores spread across the 1 million square feet of floor space and the centre has its own dedicated indoor food court on the top level.
Social activities are well catered for in Croydon. Many different sports and recreational activities are provided in one of the 17 specialist centres in the town. Croydon also has four swimming pools and it is very close to the National Sports Centre that plays host to many major international athletics events.
Croydon is a rapidly growing area with many exciting plans for the future. One of these is a £200 million project called Tramlink that plans to provide a 28km environmentally friendly tram service. The tram would service Croydon and its neighbouring areas.
There is a vibrant rock music scene in Croydon and the town has several small venues that are dedicated to live music. In addition to live music the town also has Europe's largest second-hand record store that sells rare vinyl, books and CDs.
Croydon Clocktower is a centre dedicated to arts and culture. It contains a gallery, interactive museum, a cinema and often has music, theatre and comedy performances. The Clocktower has its own bar, cafe and tourist help and information site.
Croydon used to have its own airport. Croydon Airport and, in the days before London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport, it was the main international airport for London.
Due to the size it was decided the airport could not cope with increasing air traffic and had its last scheduled flight in 1959.
The East Croydon railway station provides rail services to Gatwick Airport and Central London. Tram services and bus services are also available in Croydon from several stops and stations.
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