Town & Country: Insight into what Bromley has to offer
PUBLISHED: 12:26 29 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013
Bromley is on London's doorstep, has all the facilities you could want, yet it's packed with parks and surrounded by lovely countryside and rural villages
Town & Country
Bromley is on Londons doorstep, has all the facilities you could want, yet its packed with parks and surrounded by lovely countryside and rural villages
With excellent shopping facilities, superb transport links (central London is only 16 minutes by train), proximity to acres of parks and open spaces and near to beautiful Kentish countryside, Bromley has every convenience you could want.
It was home to a number of colourful characters, including Charles Darwin, H G Wells, rockers David Bowie, Peter Frampton and Topper Headen, and also to Thomas Crapper, inventor of the WC ballcock.
Originally a collection of buildings that grew up alongside Bromley Palace, grand residence of successive Bishops of Rochester, then a key coaching stop on the way from Hastings to London, it was one of the first dormitory towns for commuting London workers, before overtaking Beckenham to become a leading London borough.
The heart of Bromley comprises the High Street north of Elmfield Road, which is completely pedestrianised.
This shop-packed area has The Glades and Mall shopping centres to the right, and on the left a vast assortment of stores; in addition theres the huge Central Library and the thriving Churchill Theatre, behind which are Church House Gardens, adjacent to the parish church.
To the north is the grand Market Square, where theres a large open area with a childrens roundabout, plus a house with a dramatic wall mural. Theres plentiful parking in the multi-storey car parks, but these are only accessible from Kentish Way, part of a badly signposted and complicated one-way system. To the right of the town centre are more beautiful open spaces: Queens Gardens and the grounds surrounding Bromley Civic Centre.
Where to eat and drink
Holder of one Michelin star and four AA rosettes is Chapter One (01689 854848) in nearby Locksbottom, offering an impressive modern European menu, while the Best Western Bromley Court Hotel (020 8461 8600) has a garden restaurant and serves excellent food and wine. Fine pubs that also offer great food include The Crown and Anchor (020 8249 1657 and The Anglesey Arms (0208 4601985), a Victorian-built pub with a Spanish-style garden.
Where to shop
The Glades is one of the south-easts foremost retail centres, with 120 shops on two levels. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Week in October, the Glades is staging a fortnight of events to raise both public awareness and vital funds. The two weeks will culminate in two special fashion shows where the models will all be local women who are either being treated for breast cancer or who are in remission.
Also in the High Streets central pedestrian area is the Mall Shopping Centre, while the opposite side of the High Street is packed with all kinds of shops, cafs and restaurants, including new addition this month, furniture and accessories store The Raft. Theres a Shopmobility scheme for these areas.
On Fridays and Saturdays the High Street has a market and there are also occasionally continental markets. On Thursday mornings Bromley Charter Market is held in Station Road Car Park, selling fruit and vegetables, clothing and household goods.
Mark Pierce has run The Bromley Bike Company (020 8460 4852) for 20 years and lives in nearby West Wickham. We sell a whole range of bikes, mountain bikes, predominantly for off-road terrain, but also ordinary bikes, accessories and clothing, says Mark. Were a very specialist store and cater for the real sports enthusiasts, who go to centres for off-road biking. Regarding Bromley, Id like the council to clean the streets more. However, their initiative to make it a 24-hour town has certainly made it more of a destination, because of the fine restaurants.
Considering a move?
Transport links are excellent, there are many good schools, and lots of parks and lovely surrounding countryside, but all these plusses are reflected by high property prices. With one- and two-bedroom flats costing approximately 163,000 and 231,000 respectively, a two-bedroom house is priced at around 237,000, a three-bedroom semi 304,000 and a four-bedroom detached house upwards of 483,000.
Bromley is a London borough, joining the capital at its south-east edge. Its about seven miles from junction 4 of the M25, joined via the A21. There are two railway stations, Bromley South and Bromley North, the former with an express service to London Victoria. Satnav postcode: BR1 1DN
Thelma Kay Richardson, administrator Bromley Arts Council, based at
Ripley Arts Centre 020 8464 5816
Tell us about your job
The day-to-day management of Ripley Arts Centre, promotion of the arts, event organisation, room hire and provision of art-related information.
What do you like most about it?
The variety and meeting new and interesting people.
What do you like about Ripley House?
The house was built for the Whyte family, and the daughters were gifted musicians, and the Music Room was built specifically for them in 1925.
We receive many comments about how warm and friendly the environment is at the Arts Centre
and we believe that in some ways it still retains the atmosphere of the Whyte family home.
Any events coming up?
Yes, a Wedding Fair on 8 October, a visual arts-and-crafts exhibition called Handmade in Bromley on 22 Ocotber, a Ripley Recitals concert on 15 October and a cinema evening on
18 October, showing Walkabout.
What do you like about Bromley?
I enjoy visiting the Churchill Theatre and the Church House Gardens, and I love going to the Lavender Caf (020 8464 0700 voted Bromleys Most Loved Business and fourth Most Loved Coffee Shop in the UK). Long hours here mean that I get very little time to do shopping, but when I can I like to walk around the Glades.
Its extremely convenient and easy to get to, with all the facilities you need.