6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Spotlight on: Chislehurst

PUBLISHED: 08:24 03 January 2015 | UPDATED: 08:24 03 January 2015

Roayl Parade, Chislehurst

Roayl Parade, Chislehurst

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Combining the best of both worlds - country living in a friendly community but within striking distance of the city – Chislehurst is thoroughly desirable

In pretty, village-like Chislehurst, with it duck ponds, country pubs and green spaces, you would be forgiven for thinking you were deep in the Weald of Kent. Yet it is just 15 miles from central London, so living here really is the best of both worlds.

With mainly Victorian architecture, 
an historic Royal Parade of shops and restaurants, a village green, an ancient church and its vast commons, there is little wonder why so many city workers prefer 
to come home to a house in Chislehurst.

It is only around 25 minutes by train from London and with good schools and plenty of places to walk the dog nearby, 
it’s always popular with families looking for that country idyll. It was even, once upon 
a time, good enough for French royalty.

Chislehurst Caves

Chislehurst is probably best known for 
its 20-mile labyrinth of man-made tunnels. Mysterious in their origins, the caves are impossible to accurately date but they 
do appear on a charter of 1250.

The caves have had many uses in 
their time. During the First World War they became part of the Woolwich Arsenal and were used as an ammunitions depot, with a light railway installed in the passageways.

During the Second World War it became a huge air raid shelter, housing up to 15,000 people and with an underground church, shop and hospital area. During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the caves became a live music venue with famous gigs from The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.

Today the caves are a popular tourist attraction, open Wednesday to Sunday 
and every day during school holidays 
and offering group tours by lamp light.

There is also an education centre for school groups, an outdoor picnic area, a café and a gift shop. And if you’re lucky you might meet resident cat, Chalky. 
Visit www.chislehurst-caves.co.uk

Green spaces

Scadbury Park nature reserve is 300 
acres of countryside and forms part of the wildlife corridor linking open countryside from Jubilee Country Park through Petts Wood and Scadbury along the ‘London Loop’. Particularly popular with families and dog walkers, it’s a green oasis only 
25 minutes away from London with footpaths that lead through ancient woodland and past the ruins of the old Scadbury Manor, surrounded by its moat.

Chislehurst Common and St Paul’s Cray Common are expansive green spaces saved from development in the 1880s. Today they are at the heart of Chislehurst, giving residents and visitors a chance to wander through woodland and open grassland.

There are dozens of footpaths and bridle paths snaking around the commons and plenty of places of interest to spot along the way, including the ‘Cockpit’ – a depression in the ground once used for cock fighting.

Shopping and eating

For what is considered a village, the variety of shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants is impressive, with everything from charity shops to luxury gift emporiums.

Just a handful of the latter are Davina Boutique (0208 3166842) for fashionable footwear, Bagga (0208 2951355) for trendy menswear, bridal boutique Heading Up 
The Aisle (0800 0556008) and smart wine shop Champion Wines (0203 5819935).

Chislehurst also has an historic shopping area which is as fashionable and vibrant today as it was when it was built in the Victorian era. Royal Parade is a row of high-end stores and cafés, including art and antique shops, designer boutiques 
and a beauty spa. Look out for glamorous occasion wear boutique La Belle Femme (0208 4676661), Michael Sim Antiques (0208 8571313), prestigious art store The Royal Gallery (0208 4675575) and even an Aladdin’s cave of miniature marvels – Doll’s House Parade (0209 2950688). Don’t miss quaint Donna Alexandra Mews, a cute 
little passageway lined with restaurants.

When it comes to eating you’re spoilt 
for choice. Some of the most popular independents are the Italian Due Amici (0208 4674496), The Bickley (0208 4687613), The Bengal Lancer (0208 4677088) and Denny’s seafood restaurant (0208 4675612). If it’s a coffee break from shopping you’re after, head to Annabel’s II gift shop and tearoom (07733 014565) or The Chestnut (0208 4675158).

My Town

Lizzy de Maid from The Chislehurst Society

Tell us about The Chislehurst Society

The Chislehurst Society is a registered charity established to protect and enhance Chislehurst. The society provides a wide range of activities, from organising local children’s events, talks on topical subjects for our members, reviewing local planning applications and providing grants to local interest groups seeking assistance to improve our local amenities.

It’s a fabulous organisation supported by more than 4,000 members, which makes it the largest civic society in London. For our little society, that’s pretty impressive!

How did you get involved?

I gave up my career when I had my two girls, which left me with (a little) spare time. Once I had my children, I spent an awful lot more time in and around the village and realised that the society was 
an organisation which actually made 
things happen. I went along to a couple 
of committee meetings and realised that 
I could help and luckily, they wanted 
my help too. The rest is history.

What do you love about Chislehurst?

Chislehurst is individual, with a thriving community. Both the residential and business communities are passionate about the place where they live and/or work.

If you go along to one of the locally organised events, like the Big Draw or Chislehurst Rocks, you notice the familial sense of belonging. The other thing that truly sets Chislehurst apart is its beautiful commons. When you wander over the commons you don’t imagine that you’re only a short train ride away to London.

Your favourite places to eat?

We enjoy a curry at the Bengal Lancer 
(020 8467 7088), and also tend to frequent Pizza Express (020 8295 0965) and 
Thai (020 8467 7746) on the High Street.

When we bought our house, my husband’s primary focus was nearby drinking establishments. Needless to 
say we now live within a comfortable stumbling distance of two of our best 
pubs: The Bull’s Head (020 8467 1727) 
and The Crown Inn (020 8467 7326).

And your favourite shops?

We have some lovely shops, Annabel’s (07733 014565) and Annabel’s II spring to mind. As a treat I take my girls to the latter for tea and delicious cakes and they love it.

Wrattens (020 8467 7400) in the High Street showcases local independent retailers; I always seem to leave having bought something I’m sure I don’t need.

We also have an excellent butcher, Higgs (020 8467 0423); my (very picky) husband says the pies there are the best he’s tasted.

Another favourite is Champion Wines (020 3581 9935). I pop in here with friends for a glass of interesting and different wines or go along to one of their wine tastings, which are always very popular.

Favourite place for a walk?

We take our dog Holly for a walk every 
day on the common but at the weekends we tend to do longer walks either around Scadbury Park, or through the Petts 
Woods at the end of Botany Bay Lane.

Visit www.chislehurst-society.org.uk n

More from Out & About

Mon, 11:26

Visitors to Sissinghurst this winter can enoy the bonus of an exhibition of garden, plant and landscape photography

Read more
February 2019

Kent Gardens Trust reveals new discoveries about landscape gardener Humphry Repton’s influence in Kent in his bicentenary year

Read more
February 2019

Originally an elegant Georgian leisure resort, it remains one of our county’s best-regarded towns

Read more
February 2019

Welcome to the second in our series of walking trails written and researched by Discovering Britain. Let’s explore Sandwich

Read more
February 2019

Oozing history and as charming as ever, we take a walk down the medieval streets of Sandwich

Read more
February 2019
Monday, February 4, 2019

The Rough Guides has released its eight top towns and cities to visit this year, and Dungeness has one of the top spots!

Read more
February 2019
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Explore the wonderful Faversham with the ‘Footsteps of Romans and Royalty’ walk

Read more
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more
Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The season of romance is in the air and with fairytale castles, literary tales and iconic White Cliffs, where better to pop the question than in the Garden of England? Here are 10 of Kent’s perfect places to propose

Read more

The oldest market town in Kent, Faversham is a perfect blend of pretty scenery, fascinating history and modern convenience

Read more
January 2019

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life