Until the 1940s Crawley was a small town until in 1947 it was designated a New Town, and its population boomed in the 1950s and 1960s. The biggest influence on the town, however, is Gatwick Airport, which lays claim to being the 6th busiest airport in the world.
While not known for its open-mindedness, a traveler may find lots to see and do in Crawley. From its wide range of mediocre chain shops to watching a good old fashioned fist fight in a car park- there's something for everyone.
Crawley marks the midpoint of the M23/A23, which links London in the north to Brighton on the south coast. The A217 leads north to Reigate, and the A264 heads east to East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells, and west to Horsham.
Trains run north to London, and south to Horsham, Haywards Heath and Brighton.
Regular fast trains run direct from Gatwick to London Victoria.
Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains, tel. 08457 484950.
There are three relevant train stops for Crawley: Crawley Station, Gatwick Airport and Three Bridges. While trains run directly and frequently from Gatwick and Three Bridges to Brighton, you will need to change in Three Bridges to Brighton when coming from Crawley Station.
Gatwick Airport, a major international airport and one of the world's busiest, is situated just outside Crawley.
- National Express buses go from and to Crawley Station and Gatwick Airport.
- Metrobus #273 goes from Brighton Churchill Square to Crawley in about 70 mins. crossing lovely Sussex countryside with a £2 fare (2004).
Within the town centre, to the station, county mall and even the football stadium you can comfortably walk.
Local buses run by Metrobus, noticeably 10, 100, 200, 300.
From and to the airport take the number 10 Fastway service which runs almost always as an 24h service (not on Sundays and Public Holidays).
Taxis available e.G. at the railway stations. Fares from the station to the airport are around £14 and take 10 min. (if no traffic jam). However, the Fastways bus 10 takes about 20 min. and costs only £1.60.
Crawley is small enough to reach all ends cycling and in town centre there are parking facilities. Increasingly cycle paths are marked and signed, but essentially the whole place is built for cars and especially the Gatwick airport area is not meant for cyclists.
- Goffs Park. There is a little model train Sundays in summer from 3PM as well as the Crawley Meuseum with Stone Age and Bronze Age remains discovered in the area
Despite its reputation you should not encounter any problems in Crawley beyond what you would expect in any town. Treat people with respect and you will be treated likewise. Please note- despite being relatively close to Brighton, overt displays of homosexuality are not tolerated in Crawley.
- Take in the classical music at the annual Proms in the Park at Tilgate Park
- The Buchan County Park, mostly known and used by dog owners, is south of Crawley starting at the Broadfield outskirts stretching to the village Pease Pottage. It has two former hammer ponds and some nice old trees. Really beautiful in autumn and at springtime when the floors are blue with bluebells.
- Mostly, the town is known as a "shopping town" with the main attraction being the large County Mall. There are plans to open a new shopping center in Queens Square.
- Tilgate Park is situated on the south side of the town and is a large area with lakes, grassy areas and woodlands, with plenty of pleasant walks. There are a number of attractions including various gardens, a maze and a nature centre with a range of animals and birds which is well worth a visit. The nature centre charges a nominal fee but other attractions are free of charge.
- Tilgate Forest is accessible from Tilgate Park and has miles of paths for walking and mountain biking. There are several signed short downhill mountain biking courses.
Along the Highstreet are numerous pubs and restaurants featuring typical English pubs and bars, Italian chains like Pizza Express, Si and Bella Italia, two or three curry houses, Mexican, kebab kiosks and more. There are also a large number of cheaper takeaways in Crawley where you can order a meal for around £7 to £15 if you're on a budget.
- Goffs Park Inn Walk or drive the Highstreet southwards until it becomes Brighton Road, cross the railwail, still on Brighton Road until to the right turns Goffs Park Road. Follow Goffs Park Road until it ends onto another road and you see in front of you that nice pub, where you can sit outside and enjoy a pint with nice food.
- Taj Mahal South of the high street and west of Crawley railway station, this Indian restaurant serves great food in a pleasant and modern environment, at a reasonable price.
- Shin Mai This Chinese restaurant is just along the road from Taj Mahal, and serves good quality Chinese food. They specialise in sea food, although this is considerably more expensive than the rest of the menu. Best to go earlier in the evening if you haven't booked as it can get busy.
- LB1, 89 Gales Dr, RH10 1QA (3 minutes from Three Bridges Mainline Station.), ☎ +44 1293 525404. Lb1 is a Restaurant and Bar in Crawley offering innovative à la carte English cuisine and a cocktail bar.
- Troy Kebab, 43 High Street, ☎ +44 1293 615593. The best take away Kebabs Crawley has to offer. The chili sauce, you will remember, perhaps not for the right reasons ;)
Rat and parrot on the high street..ground and first floor pub with wide screen during the day for footie and a dance floor for night with rnb/pop music and flashy lights etc.
The Grange hotel in brighton road,southgate
The Hedgehog Inn in Copthorne is a comfortable and affordable place to stay.
- Arora International Gatwick / Crawley, Southgate Avenue Southgate, RH10 6LW, ☎ +44 1293 530000. Arora Internatonal Hotel is a 10 minute drive or 8 minute train ride from the Gatwick Airport. Parking is available for hotel guests.
- The Crawley County Mall is probably the largest shopping centre between Croydon and Brighton offering the typical selection of bland chain shops you will find on every UK highstreet.
- The rest of Crawley Town Centre is not too bad for shopping either.
- The Gatwick Airport South Terminal has quite a few shops with extended opening hours accessible also to the non flying public.
- Three Bridges has a few small shops, and also a Lidl, Iceland and a large Tesco Extra Supermarket. This area is a 20 minute walk from the center though.
- There is an ASDA (part of the Wal Mart family) super-store in the town center, and another large Tesco "Extra" super-store next to Gatwick Airport.
Other places of interest in the Crawley area:
- Nymans Gardens, Handcross
- Wakehurst Place, Ardingly
- Cycle to Crawley Down, East Grinstead or Forest Row by the Worth Way traffic free path. This is mainly an old railway line so gradients are modest.
- Cycle trip to Horsham going for example through the Buchan County Park and following the small country road going through St Leonards Forest south parallel to the A264. Have a rest at the Green Dragons Inn in Faygate.
- By train to Arundel and spend a day there.
- By bus to East Grinstead, historic and friendly town.