Top Things to Do in Croydon

Get the inside track on this burgeoning South London suburb with our fun-filled guide to things to do in the area, including dining out at a pop-up food mall and even the chance to bounce on 100 trampolines.

Enjoy a country walk through Coombe Wood

Stroll through this beautiful woodland with its picturesque gardens and manicured lawn. Then enjoy coffee and cake in the Coach House Café with its charming courtyard.

Feast on street food galore at Boxpark Croydon

The South London sibling of Shoreditch’s popular pop-up mall, Boxpark Croydon houses more than 40 independent and local restaurants, cafes and bars. Eateries span the globe with stalls offering Italian, Mexican, Lebanese and Brazilian fare - and much more. Top picks include Bao Bao Taiwanese street food; Chillbox, who dish up Greek frozen yoghurt with countless tempting toppings in cute pink boxes; The Cronx Brewery for craft beer; Donde tapas bar with its to-die-for chorizo; Fixed for juicy burgers; and artisan baked doughnut stall Dum Dum Donutterie, where flavours include pistachio, toffee apple, and strawberries and cream.

Bounce on hundreds of trampolines at Oxygen Freejumping

A must for active types and for families looking for things to do with kids in Croydon, this newly opened trampoline park has hundreds of trampolines to bounce around on, as well as a giant airbag to practice your skills, a play area for children aged five years and under, Olympic-standard performance trampolines, speed reaction games, and more. Visitors can book one-hour sessions at the trampoline park.

Book a fancy meal at upscale restaurant Albert’s Table

Enjoy a meal at this upscale British fine dining restaurant, based in South Croydon’s buzzing restaurant quarter. Listed in the Michelin Food Guide, the restaurant offers daily changing menus using fresh local produce. There’s also a vegetarian menu for meat-free diners.

Explore Croydon Airport Visitors Centre

If you love quirky museums, you’ll adore this free-to-enter micro museum, which is open on the first Sunday of every month. Croydon Airport housed the world’s first international terminal, from the earliest days of air transport until it closed in 1959. The visitor centre is housed in the world’s oldest air traffic control tower and has interactive features, images showing the history of the airport, a restaurant and a gift shop.

Take a stroll in Wandle Park

Wander through this pretty 21-acre (8.5 hectare) park, which has the river Wandle running through its middle. The park is also home to a bandstand, a playground, an ornamental garden and a skate park – not to mention the perfect peaceful picnic spot by the pond.

See a movie at the David Lean Cinema

Based within the Croydon Clocktower arts complex, this intimate, volunteer-run art-house-style film theatre showcases the best of British film and world cinema. It was built in the 1990s to honour Croydon-born director David Lean, who made epics including The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965).

Shop at London’s oldest street market

Dating back to 1236, Surrey Street Market has a mix of Caribbean and Asian stalls selling fresh, international fruit and vegetables, usually for one pound a bowl. Herbs and spices are also available. Visit on a Sunday for artisan food, crafts and entertainment.

Admire contemporary art at Rise Gallery

See contemporary, urban contemporary and post-war pop art at this hip art gallery. Big-name artists to have had work displayed here include Damien Hirst, Banksy, Jamie Reid, Rich Simmons, Schoony and FAILE. Croydon is full of amazing street art, so keep your eyes peeled for urban art while walking the streets.

Indulge in delicious Indian fare at Karnavar

Based in Croydon’s restaurant quarter, Karnavar restaurant serves up modern Indian cuisine with a creative twist. This award-winning restaurant features in The Michelin Guide thanks to the talents of head chef Manoj Karnavar, who created the fine dining menu using his 18 years of experience in five-star hotels, including Claridges and the Savoy.

Enjoy art and coffee at Art Rebellion

Combine your love for art and coffee at this modern art gallery in Coulsdon, which showcases emerging artists. View art or buy art, and lounge about at the New York-style art cafe, which serves up coffee, tea, smoothies, milkshakes, cakes, waffles, gelato and a selection of hot food, including stews and soups. 

Watch a football match at Selhurst Park football stadium

This football stadium has been home to Crystal Palace Football Club since 1924. Watch a match here or shop for Crystal Palace FC merchandise at the ground’s store.

Go for a stroll in Croham Hurst woods

Hike through this 35-hectare (86 acres) heathland and ancient woodland, dotted with beech, birch and oak trees. Climb up to the top of the hill to be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

Glide over Croydon

Calling all adrenalin junkies! Get your heart pumping by soaring high above Croydon on a glider flight with Surrey Hills Gliding. Choose from a five-minute-long single flight trial lesson or a four-flight trial lesson, where you will have the opportunity to take the controls and fly the glider yourself.

Visit Shirley Windmill

Explore one of only four large windmills open to the public in Greater London. Built in 1854, the windmill is open to the public during the summer months. Visitors are given a 60-minute guided tour, where you’ll hear the story of how flour was milled in Victorian times.

See a show at Matthews Yard

From craft classes to film nights, discover a brilliant programme of events at this creative hub, encompassing an art gallery, live music venue, a crowdfunded theatre and two restaurants. Brgr&Beer was voted Croydon’s best restaurant by Time Out readers in 2016, while Bobski’s serves up home-cooked food and cakes.

Enjoy a spot of retail therapy

Roll up, roll up! Freshen up your wardrobe by browsing the rails of Croydon’s fabulous shops: find independent boutiques in the Old Town and high street stores in the town’s two major shopping centres: Whitgift & Centrale. Top brands include House of Fraser, Debenhams, LK Bennett, Marks & Spencer and Office.

See a play at a pub theatre

Swing by the Spread Eagle pub, a Grade II-listed building that showcases the best in theatre, comedy and film in its cosy playhouse. Built in 1893, the boozer was originally the Croydon branch of the Union Bank of London, operating as a financial institution for more than a century. If you’re feeling hungry, order one of the pub’s famous homemade pies, made fresh by hand every day.

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Hear live music at The Oval Tavern

While away an evening at this characterful pub, where the live music programme runs the gamut from folk to jazz to ska to rock. It’s also a great spot to head for Sunday roast, which you enjoy with a soundtrack of live jazz. There are board games, books and newspapers to ensure you have plenty to do after lunch.  

Visit the Museum of Croydon

Follow the history of Croydon through the stories of the town’s past residents at the award-winning Museum of Croydon. Step inside the museum’s distinctive clock tower and explore free exhibits, including a collection of Chinese ceramics dating from 2,500 BC and an interactive family trail. The museum also houses an art gallery with changing displays of work from the borough’s art collection.

Appreciate art at Turf gallery

From family art fun days to artist-led workshops, Turf is an artist-run contemporary art space that offers an exciting programme of free exhibitions and events.

Chill out at Byte Cafe

A relaxed and modern space where you can work or hang out with friends, Byte Cafe sits within Croydon's tech hub, TMRW and is popular with vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Tuck into tasty, locally sourced produce while you use the free Wi-Fi, listen to vinyl or even play with the giant Jenga blocks.

Watch an open-air movie with Croydon Rooftop Cinema and Bar

See cult and contemporary movies while soaking up knockout views of London at this pop-up rooftop cinema at NCP Fairfield Car Park. Food stalls will be serving up an array of tasty fare and there’s also a bar. From 18 May 2017.