I've lived in Redhill for most of my life and the main thing I have to say is that over that time it has changed dramatically. Not necessarily in terms of the buildings (although there are quite a few new developments around the area) but in terms of the atmosphere and the town centre in general. A few years ago they put a lot of money into rejuvinating Redhill and for a while the town centre looked a bit better. Unfortunately as the economic climate has changed so has Redhill. The main shop on the high street was Woolworths but obviously that has shut down and nothing has been put up in its place. Sainsbury's is the one and only supermarket in the town, it is far too small for the size of the town and this means that it's constantly crowded with long queues and often running out of the essentials (like bread!). The rest of the high street is mostly taken up by a range of discount shops, charity shops, an Argos, a couple of restaurants (even Burger King shut down) and a few pubs.
The Belfry shopping centre looks a bit more pleasant but the economic climate has affected that as well with shops having been empty for months on end with no prospect of new occupants. The Marks and Spencer appears to be coping quite well but that could be due to the fact that there are only a few clothes stores in the town. The Belfry does contain a range of chain stores including Dorothy Perkins, Waterstones, Clarks, Boots, WHSmith, Robert Dyas and Cargo Homestores. They all appear to be riding out the storm and I think this now means that any future stores moving into town will try and secure a spot in the belfry as the business is here.
For food in the town there are a range of restaurants. McDonalds, KFC and Subway make up the fast food part of the scale. Costa Coffee and a couple of small local cafes provide a chance for a short break in your day. Mamma Mia, Everest Spice and Prezzo are the main restaurants. Mamma Mia and Prezzo are Italian and the Everest Spice is Nepalese (very good food). Generally for restaurants it is better to head across to Reigate where there are more and a wider range.
The cheapest pub in town is The Sun as this is a Wetherspoons. It is normally very busy and generally has sport playing on the TV. The Abbot, The Dog and Duck and The Junction make up the remainder of the Town Centre pubs.
The big advantage that Redhill has is its transport links. Redhill is on two major rail lines, the London to Brighton and the Gatwick to Reading. This means that it is fairly easy to get anywhere from Redhill. It is also next to Junction 8 of the M25 so road links are good as well. To top it all off Redhill is only 15 minutes away from London Gatwick Airport making it very easy to get to other countries as well.
Unfortunately with the down turn of the town centre and the lack of entertainment for anyone under the age of 18 Redhill has become a place where lots of groups of teenagers hang out. The police and community support officers do try to combat this by making their prescence felt at all times of day and night. To my knowleddge there haven't been many issues caused by these groups it can just be a little intimidating to walk past them.
A few years ago I would have raved about Redhill and said how much I like living here and now as I read my review back I can see that I am no longer impressed. Hopefully Redhill will pick up again and who knows maybe in a few years I'll write another review saying how great Redhill has become.
Having lived in Redhill for most of my life you'd think that I'd be fed up with it by now, but I'm not. There is a good mixture of shops, pubs and restaurants and the gereral atmosphere is good. There are a few downsides to the town. There are lots of card shops for some reason! There are 3 Clintons shops along with a new card shop just opened in the Belfry Centre, there are far too many! Charity shops are plentiful too, there are about 4 now. The other problem is the lack of anything to do except drink or club in the evenings. There is a theatre / cinema but the choice of films is limited. There is nothing like a bowling alley or normal cinema, for these you have to travel into Crawley or there is a small cinema in Reigate. However for the over 18s the nightlife is good. There are 4 pubs in the town centre and more within walking distance, there is a club called 'The British Embassy Rock Bar". Locally known as just "The Embassy" or "M'airs" (after its previous name...the Millionaires). (It doesn't play rock). The club isn't bad, the drinks are a little pricey after 10:30, but its OK for a night out if you're drunk, if you're driving its not much fun. (For free tickets go here: http://www.kingfisherleisure.plc.uk/berb/berbtickets.html , I haven't actually tried using these yet but its the official website so they should be ok). The cheapest pub in the centre is the Sun (I've written an opinion on this if you want to know more). But the Abbot or the Firkin are the places to go if you like loud music (the later tending to be more rock). There is a snooker / pool club in the town too but this is members only and since I don't know how to play snooker I've never bothered joining. Around the town you generally feel quite safe. The one thing you should be careful of is if you want to get a taxi after the club has closed, there are often fights by the
taxi rank, its best to leave 30 minutes before closing if you want to get a taxi. The restaurants around the town are slightly limited, but they aren't too bad.There is a nice Itallian restaurant called Mama Mia and an oriental restaurant in the high street. There is also an Indian restaurtant just outside the centre well within walking distance. Other than there restaurants there are a number of cafes and snack bars, 2 fast food restaurants and a couple of take aways (don't buy anything from the kebab van or fish and chip van that park in the car park behind the Abbot unless you want to spend the next couple of days in bed or on the loo). The mixture of shops isn't too bad, although there isn't much in the way or designer fashion apart from the overpriced nicked stuff in StreetTalk. The clothes shops are generally chain stores such as Mark One, Bon Marche, Etam, Marks and Spencer. There is a nice park in the town with tennis courts and a childerens playground, his is very well kept and pleasent. Don't be put off by the local dossers, they're harmless! Transport links are good, there is a train station and bus station in the town as well as 3 taxi ranks. The town centre is pedestrianised but parking around the town gnerally isn't too hard to find. Your best bet is the Belfry Centre, 40p for 3 hours. There are 3 supermarkets in the town, the largest being Sainsburys. There is a Marks and Spencer in the Belfry centre selling food and clothes (I work in the food section...say Hi! :o) ) and Lidl, the cheapy dodgy german supermarket. All in all Redhill is a good place for a small shopping trip but be prepared to go elsewhere when you can't find what you want. Evenings out are OK, but don't expect too much from the Embassy...its not the best club in the world! Come to Redhill! :o)