I’ve never actually been however understand it’s quite a large though somewhat (perhaps unfairly?) maligned area as it often pops up in those fatuous ‘worst town’ lists so please helpful comments only, no sniping.
What’s it like for shopping, takeaway coffee/lunches and parks…
I used to work in Croydon, but all my recommendations are out of date. I’d have said pay a visit to Beanos, Shake Some Action and H&R Cloakes, but they’re all closed now. Looks like 101 records is still open from a quick google though.
I’m Croydon born and bred and generally defend the bad press it gets. Although nowadays I live further south in Caterham
Matthews Yard is worth a visit. https://matthewsyard.com/
It’s moved since I last went before lockdown as is now based near West Croydon station, but it’s a great little arts space, small gig venue and coffee shop and cafe.
As @rob.orch says Beanos closed many years ago, wish is a real shame, but 101 records is still down the side of Centrale, or at least was before lockdown.
Fairfield Halls had a huge renovation before lock down, and often have open exhibitions
For pubs, I’d recommend The Oval, but there is also The Green Dragon or Dog and Ball, which has a great beer garden.
For Parks, Lloyd Park is great, as well as Wandle Park.
Shopping wise, it is pretty dead nowdays.
Then of course there is a Box Park, whcih I’m not a huge fan of, but they do have a Cronx Brewery bar.
Beanos and Shake Somw Action! The guy upstairs at Beanos used to always have noise DIY releases somehow.
You can get a tub of sweetcorn and maybe a tub of stress relieving goop outside the WH Smiths in the whitgift centre. Then there’s the…errr…i dunno. Large M&S i guess?
Otherwise, The Oval near, but out of the way, East Croydon is a very decent pub to spend some time. Run by te former Green candidate of Croydon who has very much been a mainstay for a couple of decades at various pubs.
There’s a decent coffeeshop opposite Boxpark.
A couple of decades ago I used to hang out with the skaters at Fairfield Halls