A large town and borough in West Sussex, Crawley boasts a population of more than 106,000.

The area, which has been inhabited since the Stone Age, has expanded considerably in recent years, mostly due to the post-war New Towns Act 1946 which designated Crawley as a place for large numbers of people to move to.

The opening of Gatwick Airport in the 1940s also brought the town industrial and commercial growth, with the airport being a major source of employment for local residents.

Crawley’s sales market is thriving and buoyant, with plenty of desirable and popular residential neighbourhoods in an around the town. These include Southgate, Maidenbower, Three Bridges, Tilgate, Pound Hill and Furnace Green.

Crawley is also generally seen as more affordable than the surrounding towns and villages, with three and four-bedroom semi-detached and terraced homes on sale for under £300,000. The overall average asking price in Crawley is currently around £270,000, up by a massive 24% since 2013. Terraced homes are the most popular type of property sold here, but the town and its surrounding neighbourhoods – which number 13 in total – also include plenty of detached and semi- detached abodes, flats, apartments, maisonettes, bungalows and retirement properties.

The housing stock in Crawley is incredibly varied and caters to pretty much every demographic and taste. Demand for property here is generally very high, boosted by the local employment opportunities, the affordable homes on offer and the excellent and varied transport links that the town provides, which make it a dream for commuters (especially those who work in Brighton and London).

Crawley’s rental market continues to boom, with buy-to- let investors and landlords attracted by the more affordable property and the excellent rental yields that can be achieved. There are a number of well-known major employers in the area, not least Gatwick Airport and the 500 businesses and 30,000 people who make up the Manor Royal Business District. Equally, those working in London or Brighton may decide to commute in daily from a more affordable location, which is something buy-to- let investors and landlords in the Crawley area can pounce on.

Those working in Crawley town centre itself, Gatwick Airport and Manor Royal industrial zone, on the other hand, might be willing to live a bit further out – using the area’s excellent road links and extensive bus routes to their advantage.

The average price for a property to rent in Crawley is around £1,000 pcm, with prices naturally varying for flats and houses. Those looking for flat shares or just a single room can expect to pay approximately £530 pcm.

Transport

Crawley is a very popular commuter hub thanks to its strategic position about halfway between Brighton and London. As well as Crawley’s main railway station, the area is also served by Three Bridges and Ifield.

Services run to Gatwick Airport, London, Brighton, East Croydon, Redhill, Horsham, Portsmouth Harbour, Southampton Central and Chichester. London can be reached in around 40 minutes, while Brighton is a 28 minute train journey away (from Three Bridges).

The town is, of course, a key transport hub for those looking to get to Gatwick Airport. It is about a 5-10 minute drive to Britain’s second largest airport, depending on traffic and which route you take.

Trains services are very fast, reliable and regular and there is also a brilliant bus service – the Fastway – linking Crawley to the airport. There are up to 30 buses an hour and the service runs 24 hours a day.

Road links in the area are also strong, with the A2011, the M23 and the A23 all providing easy access to Brighton, Gatwick Airport, the M25, London and beyond.

Shopping

Crawley town centre has a busy and bustling high street, with many chain shops and smaller, independent stores. It is also home to the County Mall Shopping centre, which has a mixture of high-street names and more boutique suppliers, as well as all the usual fast food chains and packed out coffee houses. For the weekly shop, the town is home to a large Sainsbury’s and an Asda Superstore.

Food and drink                

Keen foodies are spoilt for choice, with Fatboys Joint, La Rusta and Taormina the best of the bunch. Leo’s Tapas is also excellent (cheap, generous portions, great service), while the Coaching Halt and the Hillside Inn both combine British cuisine with great ales and a friendly atmosphere. Whichever cuisine you are looking for – from Turkish to Lebanese; Thai to British – you will be well catered for in Crawley.

The town is also home to a number of bars, pubs and nightclubs for those revellers looking to party well into the early hours.

Top attraction

Tilgate Park is an absolute gem. Perfect for walking, relaxing, cycling, jogging and being at one with nature, the park is as scenic as it is peaceful. It’s also home to Go Ape (for the more adventurous types), a small zoo, play areas, a picturesque boating lake and a golf course – making it ideal for people of all ages.