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Spotlight on: Sidcup

PUBLISHED: 12:18 07 June 2014

Sidcup

Sidcup

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

10 good reasons to visit Sidcup

Theatrical links

Sidcup’s architecture is a mixture of 1930s styles along with some Victorian and Edwardian examples. Several of the largest, notable buildings were once manor houses, for instance Frognall (used as nursing accommodation), Sidcup Place (a pub/restaurant), The Hollies (residential use), and Lamorbey House, now the premises of The Rose Bruford College of Drama. Sidcup has plenty of parks and open spaces and two good shopping parades.

Village life

Blackfen was once farmland surrounded by the great estates of Danson and Lamorbey, and the village has an interesting crescent-shaped shopping parade, preserved as a Conservation Area. Mottingham, meaning ‘The land of Modas people’, was once dominated by two large houses: Mottingham House and Fairy Hall, while Hextable has a very attractive village green, and the Hextable Heritage Centre, where there’s a pond and an area called the Gallery, which hosts art and craft workshops for local artists.

Ghostly Scadbury

Scadbury Park (BR7 6LS) is now a public nature reserve, but the land traditionally belonged to the Lords of the Manor of Chislehurst. Here you can walk along footpaths through fields, and see ponds, shrubs and trees, plus there’s a circular trail through woodland and meadows. And you can look at the (inaccessible) moated remains of the mansion, where smoke, orbs and an apparition are reputed to appear occasionally.

All the sports

Sidcup Sports Club (020 8300 2336, DA14 6RA) has a gym, in addition to sports facilities for cricket, tennis and rugby and a large function hall that can be used for wedding, party andevent hire. They have two cricket squares, artificial nets and run five adult Saturday sides and three on Sundays. The centre is also home to the Sidcup Rugby Club, which has four pitches and five mini pitches, with floodlights, gym, medical room, bars, kitchen and a function room. For tennis there are eight hard courts, four of which are floodlit.

Running around

Sidcup Leisure Centre (020 8302 0556, DA15 9AE) has state-of-the-art equipment, with a 90-station gym, 25-metre swimming pool, learner pool, a four-court sports hall, group fitness studio, dance studio, café bar and a crèche. You can do circuit training, five-a-side football, dance aqua classes, and there are junior and over 50s activities, as well as classes in yoga, group fitness, body pump, spin fit, badminton and zumba.

Ancient woodland

Joyden’s Wood is an Ancient Woodland site, set on a hilltop with a valley running through it. You can see traces of settlements found here that are more than 2,000 years old, and the remains of two Iron Age roundhouses. There are two waymarked trails around the woods, nine ponds, each of which is a habitat for various kinds of newt, and plenty of wildlife around, as well as oak, beech, silver birch and sweet chestnut trees.

Food and drink

Excellent restaurants include: Bickley Manor hotel (020 8467 3851, BR1 2LW), The Bickley (020 8468 7613, BR7 5NP), Himalayan Spice (Nepalese/Indian) (020 8300 5628, DA14 5HF), and Sophie’s Choice (European) (020 8302 5517, DA15 7AA). Pubs for a great pint are: The Tailor’s Chalk (020 8308 6880, DA14 6ED) and Ye Olde Black Horse (020 8300 5373, DA15 8LH).

Finest Art Deco

Eltham Palace (0870 3331181, SE9 5QE) was built by the Courtauld family adjacent to the remains of Eltham Palace (once home to Henry VIII). Its interior decorative style is pure 1930’s Art Deco, and there’s a magnificent entrance hall, fine panelled dining room and Virginia Courtlauld’s gold-plated bathroom. Set within fine gardens, a new outdoor play area has an ‘around the world’ theme, and there’s a Grand Medieval Joust on 21-22 June.

Arts and Crafts

The Red House 020 83049878, DA6 8JF) is the only house that was designed, built and inhabited by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts movement. Here you can see some of Morris’s earliest designs and decorative schemes. A pre-Raphaelite wall painting has recently been discovered, and there are plenty of original features, furniture made by Morris and Philip Webb, stained glass and paintings by Burne-Jones, as well as an interesting garden.

Tudor splendour

Hall Place and Gardens (01322 526574, DA5 1PQ) dates back to 1540 and has been restored to recreate its original Tudor and 17th-century appearance. Notable rooms include the Great Hall, Tudor Kitchen and the Lady Limerick Gallery. You can see landscaped gardens, a topiary lawn, and the Queen’s Beasts topiary display. There’s a Riverside Café, visitor centre, and the Stables Gallery, hosting popular art exhibitions.

Getting there

Sidcup is very close to south-east London, within the M25 area. Leave the M25 at junction 3 for the A20, in the direction of London and Swanley, then turn off at the A222, which leads to Sidcup High Street. The station is a mile away from the High Street, and has good services to London and the rest of Kent, plus good bus services.

Satnav postcode: DA14 6EH (Sidcup High Street)

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