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10 good reasons to visit Chislehurst

PUBLISHED: 19:28 25 October 2012 | UPDATED: 22:10 20 February 2013

10 good reasons to visit Chislehurst

10 good reasons to visit Chislehurst

With a splendid Imperial past, regal parade and an extraordinary network of caves, Chislehurst makes a great day out for the whole family

10 good reasons to visit Chislehurst

With a splendid Imperial past, regal parade and an extraordinary network of caves, Chislehurst makes a great day out for the whole family

On Parade

Royal Parade is a lovely row of upmarket shops in the centre of the Common, built as a fashionable location in the 1860s. It achieved royal status in 1876 as tribute to Napoleon III and family who lived nearby. All are attractive feel-good shops: luxury designer boutiques, antiques emporiums, home-furnishing shops and restaurants. Dont miss the extraordinarily quaint Donna Alexandra Mews, a picturesque little passageway, lined with restaurants.

Cave Stones

Chislehurst Caves is an astonishing collection of more than 20 miles of man-made tunnels, dug over 8,000 years, divided into Saxon, Druid and Roman sections, with a Caves Church, Druid Altar and Haunted Pool. The Rolling Stones played there when it was a venue for dances and concerts, and it was also used as a film location. There are guided (lamplit) tours, a gift shop, restaurant and car park.

Ghostly orbs

Scadbury Park, with its moated manor house, was owned by the de Scathbury and Walsingham families, and is now a public Nature Reserve. Theres a circular trail and footpaths through ancient woodland and meadows, beside ponds and shrubs, tailor made for walkers and joggers. You can see the romantic ruins of the Manor House across the moat, where thick ghostly smoke and mysterious unexplained orbs have been seen.

Church and cockpit

St Nicholass church, in the centre of the Common, dates from 1460, and has tombs and monuments relating to the Walsinghams: note the Walsingham tomb with intricately carved front panels. Scadbury Chapel was used by successive lords of the manor, several of whom are interred in vaults below it, while the adjacent Chislehurst Green has an interesting circular depression in the land, used for cockfighting until 1834, thereafter as an assembly point, and christened the cockpit.

Rock up to town

The main High Street is the heart of modern Chislehurst, and is the main shopping centre. Pricken Pond, with its ducks, geese and gulls, marks its beginning, and near here is the millennium rock, inscribed as being 2,000 million years old. Look out for the lovely grey stone Old Police Station, now a fine Indian restaurant called Mountain View. A Farmers Market is held on the third Sunday of the month between Mountain View and Davina Boutique.

Village life

Bickley is an attractive residential area, with large Victorian houses (once part of the Bickley Hall Estate) and three large parks: Jubilee Country Park and the recreation grounds of Whitehall and Widmore. Hextable has an attractive tree-lined village green and childrens play area and Hextable Gardens has a pond, lots of birdboxes and wildlife, Hextable Heritage Centre and an area called The Gallery, with art and craft workshops.

Common Touch

Chislehurst Common is a huge tract of open grassland and woodland, with four ponds. The areas of unkempt grassland are home to butterflies, grasshoppers and crickets, and there are many footpaths; the south-east branch of the Green Chain Walks begins at Pricken Pond. Chislehurst village sign, opposite Royal Parade, depicts Elizabeth I knighting Sir Thomas Walsingham, and the large white stone Celtic Cross near Bromley Road is the Prince Imperial Memorial, erected to commemorate Louis Napoleons death.

Feeling peckish

Great restaurants include Due Amici (020 8467 4496) with French/Italian cuisine, the Bulls Head (0208 467 1727), both on Royal Parade, as well as Mountain View (020 8467 3999) (see above), serving Nepalese/Indian food, and theres also Dennys Seafood Restaurant (020 8467 5612) and the historic Queens Head (0208 295 2873). Some fine pubs are The Sydney Arms (020 8467 3025) and the Tigers Head (020 8467 3070).

Tudor Deco

The Great Hall of Eltham Palace (020 8294 2548) has the third largest hammer-beam roof in the country and was Henry VIIIs boyhood home. In the 1930s the derelict hall-cum-farm building was acquired by Courtaulds, who restored it and built a spectacular Art Deco house beside it, resplendent with glamorous Deco interiors and furnishings (theres also a tearoom). It is set within landscaped gardens with a moated area, the remains of Henry VIIIs hunting park and a sunken rose garden.

Arty Crafty

There are many examples of privately owned Arts-and-crafts style houses by famous architects E J May, George Somers Leigh Clarke and Ernest Newton. Notable in Camden Park Road are The Cedars, Derwent, Elmbank and Fairacre. In St Pauls Cray Road theres Grange Cottage, Warren, Cleeveland and Crayfield, while in Shepherds Green theres a group of five fine houses, all by E J May. Holbrook Lane also has some Arts and Crafts houses, plus some attractive terrace cottages.

Getting there

Chislehurst is south east of London, six and a half miles south of Greenwich, and three miles from Bromley. Its on the A222 that leads from the A20, connecting with junction 3 of the M25. There is a station with good rail links to London (30 mins) and bus services.

Satnav postcode: BR7 5AG

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