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.
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.
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.
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 is a small nature centre here as well which is well worth a visit.
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 restuarant 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, Crawley, West Sussex, UK RH10 1QA (3 minutes from Three Bridges Mainline Station.), ☎ 01293 525404, . Lb1 is a Restaurant and Bar in Crawley offering innovative a la carte English cuisine and a cocktail bar. (37.404588,-122.075593)edit
Troy Kebab, 43 High Street, ☎ 01293 615593. The best take away Kebabs Crawley has to offer. The chili sauce, you will remember, perhaps not for the right reasons ;)edit
The Hedgehog Inn in Copthorne is a comfortable and affordable place to stay.
Arora International Gatwick / Crawley, Southgate Avenue Southgate, Crawley, RH10 6LW 01293 530000, . Arora Internatonal Hotel is a 10 minute drive or 8 minute train ride from the Gatwick Airport. Parking is available for hotel guests.
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.