“I grow and rejoice.”
– Crawley town motto
Since its designation as one of the UK’s original ‘New Towns’ in 1947, Crawley has risen to play a prominent role in making the south east perhaps the most prosperous region of the UK outside of London. Covering 17.36 square miles, and holding a current population of about 100,000, the sheer amount that Crawley has to offer businesses across the board should not be underestimated.
Millions of pounds have been invested in Crawley in recent years, with continuing large scale cash injections further propelling the town as an exciting regional sector for significant business growth.
Crawley’s strategic location at the heart of the Gatwick Diamond, an area famous for its vibrant business community, has made it prime real estate for businesses large and small. A high number of household names have either headquartered themselves in Crawley or made the town a key regional base for their operations.
The town ranks 6th highest in the south east for businesses reporting growth, more than any other town in West Sussex, solidifying Crawley’s reputation as a smart place to headquarter your business.
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Crawley Transport Links
Crawley is ranked 16 out of 408 districts for its overall connectivity score, indicating that it performs in the top 20% of districts nationally on levels of connectivity to intercity rail, motorways and airports.
Its ideal proximity to London Gatwick Airport, the UK’s second busiest business airport, as well as its easy rail and road links to the capital and the south coast, all contribute to Crawley’s popularity with businesses and entrepreneurs.
Three Bridges station, less than five minutes’ walk from the Needspace? Crawley offices, is the main interchange station for the south eastern rail network, with trains arriving and departing for London and in all directions very regularly. From here, it is just half an hour’s journey by rail to London Victoria. Crawley is, therefore, the perfect location from which to base your business, offering superb connections for clients, staff and suppliers.
Crawley is situated right on the junction of the M23, just 10 minutes from the M25, just 28 miles south of London. Brighton, too, is just half an hour away by rail or road, being another major business hub in the south east.
Information for Businesses in Crawley: Facts and Stats
Over 31,000 people commute into Crawley for work every single day, comprising a significant portion of the 84,000 jobs in the town. Those jobs are spread over 2,500 VAT-registered businesses in Crawley. The town also holds the highest proportion of large companies anywhere in the county, which account for 50% of all employment in Crawley.
“A cluster of top professional firms have created their own regional operation within the Crawley/Gatwick area. This has made Crawley the corporate finance capital of the south east.”
– John Stapleton, Senior Partner at Thomas Eggar LLP
For those looking at recruiting workforce in the area, there’s similarly good news. The Crawley catchment encompasses a high concentration of highly qualified individuals with degrees and other top level educational attainment. Crawley also ranks 13th nationally for knowledge-driven sectors, which comprises over 40% of all roles. Almost 30% of all workers in Crawley are in management, senior official or professional roles.
With a working population in excess of 65,000 in just Crawley itself, and those outstanding transport links driving over 30,000 a day in to work in the town, businesses have an outstanding pool of staff from which to recruit.
Office Space in Crawley
There is a total of over 1,565,000 square feet of commercial office space in Crawley. This equates to a quarter of all commercial office space in West Sussex (the highest single concentration of office space anywhere in the county). Crawley also covers just 2% of the land area of West Sussex, but it contributes a huge 37% of all business rates collected in the county.
There is a wide selection of Crawley office space of all shapes and sizes, for a range of business needs. Needspace? provides outstanding, affordable offices in Crawley with added benefits that you would struggle to find elsewhere. Rather than fully-serviced office space, which binds you into long lease terms with services you may not need or use, we keep things functional, flexible and friendly.
To find out more about our office units to let in Crawley, get in touch today.
Networking in Crawley
Given the volume and variety of businesses operating in and around Crawley, it’s little surprise that there is a similarly vibrant scene of networking events and groups. Here are some great websites on which you can find details of upcoming networking events for Crawley businesses:
Where to Entertain Clients In Crawley
Best Restaurants in Crawley
Here are our top five choices, all with very high ratings and TripAdvisor reviews, for where to take your clients for a business lunch or dinner in Crawley:
La Brasserie holds two Rosettes for its outstanding quality of service and food. The restaurant offers a modern British menu with a French twist, serving a menu flush with locally sourced ingredients. Situated just outside the doors of Gatwick’s North Terminal, La Brasserie is the ideal place to meet clients travelling in or out of the airport in an atmosphere of sophistication and calm.
Sage is a great location for a light lunch, particularly for vegetarian or vegan diets. The delicious meals on the menu are impressively presented, and even more impressive to taste. A popular spot for those seeking a relaxed atmosphere for a little bite to eat, Sage is set right on the high street in Crawley town centre, just a fifteen minute walk from the Needspace? Crawley offices.
A very popular Thai restaurant in Crawley, where the food is beautifully presented, tasty, and served with first class service. Royal Thai Taste is perfect for both lunch and evening meals, with an inexpensive lunch menu which does not sacrifice the quality to be expected of their a la carte offering.
An impressive choice for Indian fine dining, Zari has established itself with a glowing reputation as one of the best places to eat in Crawley. Owners Almara and Sadique have lovingly created an oasis of Indian cuisine where the food is locally sourced, often organic, and always of the highest quality.
A more traditional alternative to other restaurants on this list, Lion D’Or is located within the Copthorne Hotel. The very best of British cuisine prepared using the finest ingredients, discreet and unimposing table service, and an ambience of distinction, Lion D’Or is ideally situated for client dinners or long lunches.
Golf Courses In Crawley
Being surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful Green Belt land and stunning Sussex countryside, it’s no surprise that there are countless golf and country clubs in Crawley and the surrounding areas. We’ve selected five of the most stunning courses to impress potential clients and business partners:
West Sussex Golf is situated in Pulborough, about 30 minutes’ drive from Crawley, in the heart of stunning Sussex countryside. An absolutely breathtaking location, there are few lovelier places to play golf in the south east. The terrace bar is a popular location for members to meet and socialise during the summer months.
Far from just a beautifully appointed golf club, Slinfold also offers spa facilities, a health and fitness suite, and clubhouse restaurant/bar with great views over the course. An elegant and well-reputed country club, Slinfold is situated 20 minutes’ drive from Crawley, just outside Horsham.
With its attractive mix of undulating parkland and mature woodland, Rookwood offers a par 72 course, measuring 6,200 yards. For a lighthearted alternative to your standard professional golf game, at Rookwood you can also enjoy a game of ‘footgolf’ or Pitch ‘n’ Putt. The large lakes and carefully positioned bunkers make for an enjoyable challenge. Up in the clubhouse, the licenced bar also has a great menu for a spot of lunch.
Founded by former Ryder Cup Captain, Tony Jacklin, Rusper Golf Club is situated on the border between Surrey and Sussex, just outside of Crawley. It is a family-run club with a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, a beautifully presented golf course and a clubhouse with a vibrant and cordial mood.
Horsham Golf has an 18-bay heated, floodlit driving range, an 18-hole and a 9-hole course, gym, golf shop, cafe and numerous events for members. Situated within 15 minutes’ drive from Crawley, on the outskirts of Horsham town centre, Horsham Golf has a more relaxed atmosphere than some of the other golf courses near Crawley. However, this does not detract from its exceptional courses and facilities that are sure to impress.
Other Ideas for Client Entertainment in Crawley
A restaurant or golf course may be the tried-and-tested way to spend time winning business, but for something more memorable, there are plenty of more unique experiences in Crawley and the surrounding area. Here’s some ideas for you:
The vineyards of Denbies are a heady sight to behold. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been transported to Bordeaux as you look out over the acres of vines rolling into the distance of the Surrey Hills. Year round tours and wine-tasting experiences at Denbies, and a meal in The Gallery restaurant make for an elegant, sophisticated and – certainly – memorable day for all.
Current home to Crawley Town FC, the Broadfield Stadium has a capacity of 6,134 people. Recently named ‘The People’s Pension Stadium’ as part of a new sponsorship deal, it is situated just two miles from Three Bridges railway station (and the Crawley Needspace? offices there). There are regular, weekly fixtures at Broadfield Stadium of both men’s and women’s football. Regardless of whom your clients support, it’s all good, wholesome fun on the stands!
If there is anywhere best suited to experience the pleasure of a good, old-fashioned hot air balloon ride, the Sussex countryside is it! There are many companies in Crawley and throughout Sussex offering unforgettable balloon rides, many combining the ride with a picnic or a bottle of champagne to share.
Can’t choose between clay pigeon shooting, quad biking or archery? All these and more are available at the wonderful Southern Pursuits, located just outside Crawley at Tulley’s Farm. Great for clients who enjoy a bit of a laugh, this is an ideal place to entertain them, with lots of corporate packages available.
Brighton, just 30 minutes’ drive from Crawley, is one of the best places for a good night out anywhere in the south east. Full of restaurants, theatres, bars, dance venues and much more, you’re basically spoiled for choice when it comes to entertaining clients in Brighton. But our recommendation is a night at the cabaret! With great food and table service, and a show full of glitz and glamour, a trip to the cabaret can be risque, funny, or spectacular – or all three in equal measure.
A Bit Of Crawley History
Ever wondered how this, now eminent, business hub of a town started out? Let’s take a look back into the past to find out a bit more about where it all began
How Did Crawley Get Its Name?
The name ‘Crawley’ derives from Old English, combining the word ‘crawe’ (meaning ‘crow’) with ‘leah’ (which means ‘woodland clearing’). Essentially, the name ‘Crawley’ translates as ‘crow infested clearing’, evolving from ‘Crauleia’ (1203) to ‘Crawele’ (1250), then ‘Croule’ (1279), before landing in its more familiar modern spelling in around 1316.
Three Bridges has a somewhat less gothic-sounding etymology. Three Bridges was a tiny hamlet that began its gradual growth in around 1841, when the London and Brighton Railway arrived. It was named not after railway bridges at all, but for three older bridges over tributaries of the River Mole.
When Was Crawley Built?
Crawley celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017. Clearly, it’s not an old town… or is it?
Before Crawley was designated a ‘New Town’ in post-war Britain, for the purpose of providing homes and work outside the capital, it had, funnily enough, already existed for centuries. Indeed, St Nicholas Church in Worth (pictured) dates back 1,000 years, making it the oldest building in the town. The former Crabbet Park, of which the country mansion exists (now converted into flats), was a rather historic site in its own right, too. Home of the famous Crabbet Club, the Park was a regular haunt of everyone from socialites and politicians to the Royal family until the early 20th century.
The town of Crawley, as we know it now, is a mixture of three parishes, including Ifield and part of Worth. Both of these two are mentioned in the Domesday Book. During Medieval times, a period of growth occurred, putting in place timber-framed buildings of which some still exist along the high street. This growth continued over the years, in no small part due to a thriving iron industry in the area. Subsequent growth can also be attributed to the Prince Regent’s adoration of nearby Brighton, making Crawley a logical stop-off point for travellers to the coast. When the station arrived in the 1840s, Crawley became even more accessible, prompting an influx of new residents throughout the Victorian era.
Emerging remarkably unscathed from both World Wars, to be crowned one of just eight ‘New Towns’ in 1947, Crawley’s growth was further catalysed by the opening of Gatwick Airport, by Her Majesty Elizabeth II in 1958.