Spotlight on Chislehurst, Kent

PUBLISHED: 01:16 25 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:11 20 February 2013



Chislehurst Is a very special town with some splendid architecture, was once home to the French Imperial family and has plenty of leafy surroundings...

Spotlight on Chislehurst, Kent

Chislehurstis a very special town with some splendid architecture, was once home to the French Imperial family and has plenty of leafy surroundings

Chislehurst has a vibrant High Street, fine open spaces that include The Common and Scadbury Park, plus a marvellous ancient quarter: Royal Parade, which has lovely feel-good shops, a beautiful old church and tranquil surroundings.

It was home to a French Emperor, pop singer Siouxsie Soux and the Elizabethan spy Christopher Marlowe. London is within easy reach, the architecture is Arts and Crafts and dont miss Chislehurst Caves, 20 miles of passageways running beneath the town.

Getting around
The oldest part evolved from the original village, where theres St Nicholass parish church beside the village green and Royal Parade, a row of elegant shops.

The 1460 church overlooks leafy Chislehurst Green, which has a circular depression with sloping sides, known as The Cockpit. To the north of the old village is the large Common, beyond which is the start of the High Street, an area originally known as Prickend.

Where to eat and drink
Bickley Manor Hotel (020 8467 1461) has its own restaurant while The Bickley (020 8468 7613) is a gastropub with a private dining room; the Bulls Head Hotel (020 8467 1727) was once a coaching inn, and for fish dishes, try Denneys Seafood Restaurant (020 8 467 5612).

The Queens Head (020 8295 2873) in the High Street is a member of the Cask Marque Trust, The Sydney Arms (020 8467 3025) in Old Perry Street is a historic pub with many real ales, while outside town in Watts Lane is The Tigers Head (020 8467 3070), which is accredited for quality real ales.

Where to shop
Youll find modern, upmarket shops of all kinds in the High Street, including home interest shops and fashion outlets such as Davina Shoes and Bagga, the menswear retailer. In the old part of town is Royal Parade, with its wonderful selection of elegant shops: Parade Beauty Spa, and ladies fashion stores Organza Orchid, En Parade Lifestyle Boutique and La Belle Femme, as well as the Royal Gallery and Dolls House parade (see also Trade Talk opposite). Antiques emporiums include Michael Sim Antiques and Chislehurst Antiques.

Considering a move?

There are plenty of good schools, excellent travel links and every facility you could want in and around Chislehurst. However, property is
very expensive, with one- and two-bedroom flats costing in the region
of 171,000 and 323,000 respectively, a small two-bedroom house around 310,000, a three-bedroom semi 385,000 and a four-bedroom detached house upwards of 666,000.

Getting there

Chislehurst is south east of London, three miles from Bromley, on the A222 leading from the A20 that connects with junction 3 of the M25. Rail links to London (33 minutes) and other Kent locations, plus good bus services.

Satnav postcode: BR7 5AG

Trade Talk

Jake Aust

Jake Aust runs the Royal Gallery (020 8467 5575) and sells original and limited edition artwork, grandfather clocks, reproduction antique clocks and rocking horses. He offers a specialist framing service and makes mirrors to order. Jake lives above the shop, and has been trading for two years. Im happy to go to peoples houses with five or six pictures so they can try them
out on the wall before they decide to buy, he says. You have to be able to see an artwork in context.
Our customers are all interesting, exceptionally nice people, who like nice, genuine items.

Lyn Constant

Lyn Constant has run Dolls House Parade (020 8295 0688) for 19 years. Its an upmarket dolls house and dolls furniture shop. We do a range thats specifically aimed at young children, but the majority of our customers are adults. Its a fascinating hobby, Lyn says. Royal Parade is a beautiful haven, with lots of flower baskets and foliage. I like people coming in
and wandering round, theres absolutely no obligation to buy and more often than not people become customers long after theyve visited several times.

My Town, by Paul Andrews, guide at Chislehurst Caves (020 8467 3264)

Tell us about your job

I show people around Chislehurst Caves in groups of one and 30.

Your main responsibilities?

Making sure our visitors have a great time on the tours, and helping out in the gift shop.

Tell us about the caves

They are divided into three sections: Saxon, Druid and Roman. I personally like the Druid section, because its rather like a maze.

Any supernatural experiences?

Once I heard a noise like a birds wings flapping, but there was no bird I could find. I never did find out what the sound was, but who knows? There are rumours of ghostly happenings.

Whats best about Chislehurst?

Im interested in history, and theres plenty of it here, plus lots of nice green areas to walk in, as well as some magnificent old buildings in the locality. There are also some excellent pubs.

How would you improve the town?

We need more information for tourists and the marvellous walks around here should be better publicised.

Advice to a newcomer?

Welcome to a great town its an extremely pleasant place to live.

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