Croydon, oh Croydon...
"a little history..."
Croydon is now a large outer London borough (10 miles south of the city centre), though like many parts of London it was long a significant market town in its own right and retains this feeling.
It has strong links to many Archbishops of Canterbury; Archbishop Lanfranc was also Lord of The Manor of Croydon in 1086 and his summer residence ("Old Palace") still stands. John Whitgift founded schools and the almshouses in the 1500s (see picture below) which also still exist.
I spent 19 years of my life living here, but although I lived in the nicer areas it's not my favourite place - and it's hardly a tourist hotspot!
Croydon's main advantages are its good travel links to central London - very handy for commuting, but being on the edge of London it's also fairly close to the countryside. Growing up in South Croydon I was never more than 10 minutes away by car to some green fields and country pubs.
Unfortunately Croydon suffered heavy damage from WW2 bombing, so large sections of the centre were rebuilt in the 1950s which has left the place quite characterless. Like many areas, violent crime is steadily on the increase, and the town hit the headlines after England lost 1-0 to France during Euro 2004; 400 people were involved in "serious public disorder" (an hour's rioting).
Well, there are plenty of worse places, and Croydon isn't a bad base for exploring London and the south-east thanks to its transport links. But if you're a tourist I wouldn't necessarily stop here too long...
"Parks and shopping!"
If the weather's nice, I'd suggest going for a walk in one of the parks; they're generally well-kept, and in the summertime the hordes of office workers decamp there to enjoy lunch on the grass. See my tips for more info.
Shopping is another favourite pastime in Croydon - there are lots of shops to choose from, including the famous (or perhaps now infamous, thanks to its receivership) Allders. The photo is of North End, a pedestrian precinct where a lot of the high street shops can be found. You can just make out the blue Allders sign on the right.