The lesser-known town of Purley offers quiet residential streets, great schools and a buzzing commercial area, giving you the best of both worlds with speedy access to both countryside and the city centre.
Tucked away in the borough of Croydon in South East London, the likelihood is that you've never heard of this hidden gem before now. Once described as a 'suburban utopia', Purley's also home to the posh Webb Estate, England's first Garden Estate, and celebs including Ray Mears and Derren Brown. Fancy counting a mysterious magician among your neighbours?
On a Map
Purley is within the London Borough of Croydon.
History of Purley
The first recorded mention of Purley appeared in 1200, when it was named Pirlee. The area remained largely agricultural for hundreds of years while London expanded outwards, and it wasn't until the arrival of the railway in 1841 that developers started to consider the previously unexplored Purley.
But the man who was really responsible for putting this pocket of Croydon on the map was William Webb, a local estate agent and visionary. Inspired by Ebenezer Howard's Garden City movement, Webb purchased the land for the Webb Estate in 1888 and spent the next thirty years designing a beautiful garden village where city workers could live and retreat to after a long day in London.
Purely continued to grow during the 1920s and 1930s as a less crowded alternative to Croydon, and as more transport links arrived it became a vibrant, popular suburb of London. Purley is now home to around 72,000 inhabitants.
It may be in Zone 6, but that doesn't stop Purley having speedy links to London - regular trains from Purley Station to London Bridge will get you to the heart of the capital in less than thirty minutes, making the area ideal for commuters.
Purley also has great road links with the M25, M23 and A23 for easy routes into London, Gatwick Airport, East Sussex and more.
Cost of Living
Compared to areas a little closer to central London, you can get a lot more for your money in Purley. While the properties on the Webb Estate often go for more than £1 million, in the town centre and surrounding areas you can find lovely detached properties with gardens, modern apartments and everything in-between for a very affordable price.
In 2015, the average rental price for a home in Purley was £1,300 per month.
Restaurants and Bars in Purley
Football fans will love the story behind this Mediterranean eatery, which is run by Crystal Palace Keeper Julian Speroni. Fusing Spanish, Argentinian and Italian food, it's the perfect place to come for hearty dishes and a wide range of wines in a swanky interior.
Address: 4 Tudor Court, Russell Hill Road, Purley, Surrey, CR8 2LA
Phone: 020 8660 8686
With a great reputation and various outposts across London, this chic Argentinian steakhouse has been a welcome addition to the Purley dining scene. Expect a cool, sleek interior and some prime South American steaks from a meal here.
Address: 62 Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon Park, London SW19 7PA
Phone: 020 8947 7544
Black's Burgers hit the headlines in 2012 when they created 'The Beast', a monstrous creation with over 18,000 calories, but fortunately the regular menu here is much more appetising. With plenty of 100% prime beef, chicken and lamb burgers, sides such as onion rings, sweet potato fries and corn on the cob, we doubt you'll leave unsatisfied.
Address: 920 Brighton Road, Purley CR8 2LN
Phone: 020 8645 9942
Shops in Purley
Having trouble finding an outfit for a wedding or fancy party? Head to Lucindas, an independent, family-run boutique where you'll find a wide range of formal dresses, coats and accessories for every type of event at surprisingly affordable prices.
Address: 1 Russell Hill Parade, Russell Hill Road, Purley, Surrey CR8 2LE
Phone: 020 8668 7565
Run by local couple Jo and Dan Vickers, Chesterman Florist provides a great selection of floral arrangements including wreaths, bridal arrangements and corporate decorations. Delivery is available, and you can add extras to your orders including wine, champagne and balloons.
Address: 913 Brighton Road, Purley CR8 2BP
Phone: 020 8660 2669
This lovely local shop specialises in flowers, gifts and cards, making it the ideal one-stop-shop for birthdays and celebrations. They even deliver to all over Surrey, so sending flowers to a loved one couldn't be easier.
Address: 22 Whytecliffe Rd South, Purley, Surrey, CR8 2AU
Phone: 020 8645 6932
It may not be the most glamorous of shops, but Purley Sports is essential if you're fond of a spot of exercise. They sell all sorts of kit and sport accessories for everything from football to squash, so unfortunately you'll no longer have an excuse to avoid the gym...
Address: 924 Brighton Rd , Purley, CR8 2LN
Phone: 020 8668 4774
Things to do near Purley
The enormous Vue Cinema multiplex on your doorstep ensures that you'll never miss out on the latest blockbusters if you live here. With 8 screens (including 3 with 3D capability), VIP seats and selected adult-only screenings for a bit more peace and quiet, it's the ideal place for a raining evening.
Address: Valley Park Leisure Complex, 21 Hesterman Way, Croydon, Surrey CR0 4YA
Phone: 0871 224 0240
This cool pottery studio in Purely is the perfect place to let your imagination run wild. All you have to do is choose from one of their many unpainted pottery pieces including vases, mugs, and plates and then decorate it any way you see fit!
Address: 914 Brighton Road, Purley CR8 2LN
Phone: 020 8660 3188
If you've ever dreamt of flying, now is your chance! The Surrey Hills Gliding Club is located just a few miles from Purley in nearby Caterham, and offers trial lessons and annual membership if you end up catching the flying bug.
Address: Kenley Aerodrome, Victor Beamish Avenue, Caterham, Surrey CR3 5FX
Phone: 020 8763 0091
If you live in Purley and you think we've missed out anything essential then please let us know in the comments!