Crawley was inhabited during the Stone Age, but it was the Saxons who established the first real settlement there, the town deriving its name from the Saxon words craw leah, which means ‘crow-infested clearing’. However, the town only really began to develop after World War Two, when, in 1947, it became a New Town, from which point it developed into its present state as a large borough with a population of 100,000.

Lying at northern end of West Sussex, Crawley lies roughly half way between London and Brighton, and comprises the parishes of Worth and Ifield. It is a convenient base from which to explore the glorious South Downs of West Sussex.


The Crawley Museum holds artefacts and displays that explain Crawley’s history. Crawley also lies close to the Amberley living history museum, which is in the heart of the South Downs, as well as near Pooh Corner, the home of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, and which lies in the Ashdown Forest.

For those keen on thrills and spills, Crawley is within easy range of two theme parks, the Chessington World of Adventure and Thorpe Park, as well as being near a Butlins holiday camp in Bognor Regis.

However, Britain’s picturesque south coast is perhaps the real attraction in and around Crawley, as well as Brighton, with its Royal Pavilion, Sea Life Centre, and general ambience of seaside fun.


Crawley has everything to offer by way of regular high street shops. If you are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary, then eager shoppers would do well to head into London, or, in turn, go down to Brighton, with its pleasant and well-stocked Lanes.

Nightlife/Eating Out

Crawley has a basic array of English, Indian and Chinese restaurants, as well as Il Sorriso, an Italian restaurant in nearby Horley.

Crawley also has a good number of pubs, although the town’s atmosphere is typical of a London commuter town: a cheap version of the real thing. Recommended pubs include the Swan and the White Hart. Crawley is also home to the two-nightclubs-in-one Ikon and Diva, which exude as much class as coalmine.

For the real thing, however, head to London or to Brighton.

Tourist Information

Crawley Tourist Information CentreCounty MallCrawleyWest Sussex RH10 1FPT: 01293 846 968E:


Crawley lies very close to Gatwick, which is, of course, one of the world’s busiest airports. Visitors to Crawley can easily go to Gatwick as a tourist destination and check out the Gatwick Skyview.

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