This weekend we popped along to the launch of the Croydon Heritage Festival. We are always on the lookout for local activities to take our little ones to at the weekends so I was excited to learn about the launch taking place in Croydon town centre. It was also the perfect opportunity to have a little shopping trip and sort out the hubby’s Father’s Day present… (I’ve been terribly disorganised this year!)
The festival, which is now in its fourth year, is organised by the Whitgift Foundation to help generate an awareness of Croydon’s past, whilst also looking towards its exciting future. As Croydon locals will know, the town is going through a period of regeneration which, whilst it is much needed and will be be exciting to see finished, is fast changing the landscape of Croydon. This kind of festival is a good way to keep the character of Croydon alive as well as educating its locals about its vibrant and colourful history.
This year’s festival has the theme of ‘Undiscovered Croydon’ which takes people on an exploration of Croydon and its iconic locations and residents to reveal little known facts and best kept secrets. The events for Saturday included an interactive Art Cube for adults and children to contribute to with chalk drawings on a wall, a Time Truck displaying archaeological items from Croydon’s past and a ‘Make a Spy Glass’ themed craft workshop.
As usual on a Saturday we were up with the birds so were already in Croydon having a coffee fix as the festival started. The Victorian themed craft workshop caught our eye from Starbucks and we were one of the first to get painting. Unsurprisingly my daughter chose a cat spy glass to decorate and we spent some time giving the cat a multi-coloured makeover and adding some glitter to its ears and whiskers (this was our first experience of glitter and we were washing it out of her hair at bath time!)
We also had the opportunity to try out the new Centrale and Whitgift Gift Card. Centrale and the Whitgift Centre have recently launched a dual branded Gift Card which can be used across 130 stores, restaurant and cafes in both shopping centres. We used our card in H&M in Centrale and Monsoon in the Whitgift Centre to buy some clothes for Father’s Day and I was able to treat myself to a new handbag that I can use to just carry Mummy’s items with no wet wipes in sight! I think the gift card would make a good gift for Croydon locals who you know like a bit of shopping, or someone who you think needs a little treat.
Walking down the high street, we saw the stage being set up for the live music. The line up for the festival included Apsara Arts, London Mozart Players Bass trio, Mitre Players, CODA and many more. I’ve always enjoyed Croydon’s eclectic mix of live performers when walking down the high street so it’s good to see this part of Croydon’s culture on display in the festival.
With a toddler and baby in tow it was soon time for naps so we had to head off but, we all enjoyed our Croydon trip and it’s definitely something we should do more often. The festival activities reminded us that Croydon has a lot to offer and that is has a very interesting history.
The Croydon Heritage Festival is running all this week (18th-26th June) with a wide range of events including talks, tours, workshops, walks, performances, exhibitions and other family friendly activities.
*Whilst we were given a complimentary Centrale and Whitgift gift card to try, all views and opinions are genuine and my own.*