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In addition to the local services, our Living in Crawley guide will give you a sense of what life is like in the area – its history, its culture and the kind of entertainment and leisure activities it offers.
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What Is Life Like In Crawley?
Found 31 miles south of Charing Cross and only 22 miles north of Brighton and Hove, Crawley is well situated with fantastic road and rail links to the capital or to the incredible Southern coastline.
Favoured by families and commuters of all ages, Crawley is a historic market town located on the north-easterly edge of West Sussex. With a population of 106,600, the large town stands out among the surrounding countryside as an industrial and economic hub just outside of London. Pound Hill, Maidenbower and Three Bridges are the most sought after districts because of their close proximity to Three Bridges station. These also happen to be in the catchment area for the best performing school – Hazelwick.
History Of Crawley
Crawley’s history can be traced as far back as the Stone Age. Flint tools, burial mounds and Bronze Age swords that have been found around the town all point to an eclectic and well established past. The town’s huge growth has been thanks to its strategic positioning on the main line between Brighton and London.
In 1946, the New Towns Act meant Crawley was one of six towns selected to provide housing and work away from the increasingly overcrowded capital. It was chosen for its excellent transport links, and new communities were constructed around Three Bridges, Crawley and Ifield. This meant residents could commute to and from a beautiful countryside community with all the amenities and employment of a large town.
The name itself is derived from ‘crawe leah’ – an Anglo Saxon phrase meaning a ‘crow infested clearing’. Although the crows may have scattered, Crawley still stands out as a bustling town among delightful fields and charming countryside.
Days Out In Crawley
Days out in Crawley generally involve the great outdoors – you might decide to zip line through the tree tops at Go Ape at Tilgate Park for example. Perfect for children and adults, this giant jungle gym is a great day out for those seeking any excuse to swing across trees and channel their inner Tarzan. There is also an outdoor activity centre located 4.5 miles east of Crawley where you can partake in quad biking, archery and hovercrafting.
You can visit The Hawth Theatre for and evening out and enjoy the diverse programme of theatrical arts. Established in 1988, the theatre presents dance and live music. Alternatively, take advantage of Crawley’s perfect location between two tourist hot spots for a trip into London or Brighton and Hove.
Things To Do In Crawley
Crawley is teeming with shopping opportunities, fantastic eateries and lively bars. The high street has a wide variety of clothing store brands, jewellers, health food stores, sports and bicycle shops. The County Mall itself is a sizeable multi-floored building with over 90 different shops, including homeware, womenswear and restaurants. You can find bars and pubs all around the town centre, including the Hillside Inn for elegant pub food, or Octopus Bar for an exciting bar atmosphere with themed nights.
There are sports clubs for adults and children alike in Crawley. Crawley Archery Club practises and competes throughout the year, as do men’s and women’s football, cricket, croquet, rugby, sailing, badminton, gymnastics and golf clubs.
Anglican, Catholic, Unitarian and non-denominational churches all have a presence in the town.
Schools In Crawley
Crawley is well catered for by several schools.
- The Brook Infant School
- Broadfield East Nursery and Infant School
- Pound Hill Infant School
Primary schools include:
- Bewbush Academy
- The Mill Primary Academy
- Maidenbower Junior School
Secondary schools include:
- Hazelwick School
Transport In Crawley
Crawley is well connected through a range of transport links.
Crawley is conveniently located between Brighton and London, with direct rail access to both. Three Bridges is the most direct for travelling to London with a journey time of 45 minutes to London Victoria.
Buses and coaches
Compass Travel and Sussex Coaches run regular services to nearby towns.
Gatwick Airport is the closes international airport to Crawley, only 4.1 miles away.
Crawley is located just off the M23 at junction 10. This road travels directly between London and Brighton & Hove.