We've come up with ten great reasons to love Chislehurst. Written by a Chislehurst resident who has been convinced to stay put.
Chislehurst is a beautiful location on the London / Kent borders. It is the best of both worlds – London on your doorstep whilst your back door opens onto the Garden of England – the wonderful Kent. Visit Chislehurst currently does a feature on places to visit “Just 30 minutes from Chislehurst”. It is a great way to see all the many benefits of living in this location.
2. Proximity to London.
Chislehurst station is just 30 minutes from Charing Cross Station for commuters, whilst nearby station; Elmstead Woods is just 25 minutes. And if you take a quick bus journey (7 minutes) from the main High St (no. 161) to Mottingham Station, this is also just 30 minutes to London Charing Cross. We especially love the Elmstead Woods Station Gardening Club – we reckon it is one of the better looking stations within a 30 minute radius of London!
One of Chislehurst’s main selling points is the rural feel. From the gorgeous Prickend Pond complete with ducks and a tiny island to the stately commons, with the Cockpit. Plus further afield we have Scadbury Park with the ruins of a moated manor and the Hawkwood Estate, managed by the National Trust. There are lots of hidden treasures in Chislehurst.
Chislehurst boasts some fantastic state Primary Schools. Whilst Ofsted ratings are a little arbitrary, there is one “outstanding” primary in the form of St Nicks, an “outstanding” infant school in the form of Mead Road Infant School, Edgebury Primary as “Good” and one much larger primary school; Red Hill Primary School. The latter is currently rated as “requires improvement” but parents of pupils all speak very highly about the school. Please see an article on Red Hill School here.
In terms of Secondary schools within Chislehurst itself we have Coopers School which is rated “Good”, Chislehurst School for Girls is “Good” and Bullers Wood School for Girls is rated “Outstanding”. The latter school also has plans to open a Boys School in September 2017 subject to planning. For more on this, please visit their website.
There are also many Grammar Schools in the area for which residents can apply. These include the mixed gender school; Chis & Sid Grammar School, Bexley Grammar and two very well regarded Grammars in the form of Newstead Wood School for Girls and St Olaves for Boys, both based in nearby Orpington.
For more information, take a look at our Schools section.
5. Cafes and Shops
Chislehurst is a great place to browse, shop and while away the hours. From a plethora of gorgeous coffee shops (we recommend Annabel’s II, Walnuts, Wrattens and Costa Coffee), we also have some wonderful shops offering everything from boutiques, gift shops, interiors, Champion Wines, the local wine merchant, Paper Lane, the card shop and much more. The High Street boasts an array of shops and the nearby Royal Parade (a short walk through the woods!) also has an eclectic mix of retail opportunities including La Belle Femme; an upmarket ladies wear emporium, Annabel’s, a beautiful gift shop and Yves Delorme, a stunning luxury linen shop. Please take a look at our Cafes and Shops sections.
6. Pubs & Restaurants
The number one choice on Trip Advisor is currently the Imperial Arms on Old Hill. This is a wonderful pub which features interior design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Other great choices in the town include The Queen's Head (next to Prickend Pond), The Crown (overlooking the Top Common) and the Ramblers Rest (at the top of Old Hill). If you are looking for a restaurant, we recommend Cote Brasserie, The Bull’s Head and if you are looking for an international flavour, we recommend Thaidine and Shaon Indian Restaurant which are well loved by locals. For more on our pubs and restaurants, please visit our Eating & Drinking section.
7. Family Friendly
The town boasts a wonderful play park for children which is situated in Chislehurst Recreation Ground. This wonderful little park has everything your little darlings could possibly need from the usual swings, slide, see-saw but also a zip slide, an obstacle trail and all within a lovely setting, very close to the High St. A short walk from the park, you can take a walk through Walden Woods to find the Bears all whilst quoting from Michael Rosen’s classic, “We are going on a Bear Hunt”. Here you will find some majestic looking bears rowing a small boat! These bears and the wonderful play park fall under the care of the Friends of Chislehurst & Walden Recreation Ground. The group was formed in 2010 to preserve and enhance the environment of the recreation grounds for the benefit of the local community. They have regularly funded new play facilities for children to enjoy in the park, organise local clear ups in the Rec plus they are the driving force behind the local family festival, “Chislehurst Rocks” which takes place in Walden Recreation Ground.
Chislehurst plays host to many family friendly events including a Halloween Pumpkin Hunt, a Christmas Bonanza, an Outdoor Open Cinema event, The Chislehurst Draw (a children’s craft event on the Top Common) plus events from the local Rotary including the Summer Fair on the Common and the Fireworks Spectacular. The town is a buzzing family community!
There are some great ways to indulge your passion for sport in the town. Cricket has been played at the Chislehurst & West Kent Cricket Club ground for the last 193 years consecutively (except during the Second World War), with illustrious players such as W.G. Grace often taking part in fixtures there during the late 19th century. Or if you prefer Golf, you could try a round at Chislehurst Golf Club. The Club was founded in 1894 and has an 18 hole course situated within 70 acres of beautiful parkland in the heart of Chislehurst. The jewel in Chislehurst Golf Club’s crown is its magnificent Clubhouse, Camden Place, which was built around 1717 and was, for a while during the 1870s, the home of Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie and their son the Prince Imperial.
Whilst some of the sports clubs are steeped in history, the town also plays host to a modern football ground at the Glebe FC. Since recently moving to the ground, the Club has installed a new 1200 capacity Football Stadium and have recently renovated the Bar and Reception Halls.
As part of Glebe FC, there is a new all-inclusive Gym also being built with plans to be open in the New Year to the wider local Community.
There is also a local tennis club, Bootcamp and Personal Training classes at the Rec and an array of Dance and Pilates classes at The Studio. For more information on our local clubs and societies, please visit our “Community Life” section.
Slightly further afield on the A20 (but still within the BR7 postcode), there are plans for a new home for the Cray Wanderers FC, known as “Foxbury Park” which will be a brand new “Sports Village”. Check out their website for more information on this project and their collaboration with Coopers School.
Chislehurst is a great place to live and one of the reasons this town is special is a great sense of community. There are key organisations, businesses and individuals that make this place tick and we’d be lost without them! They are:
a) Chislehurst Business Group – a not for profit organisation working to create a thriving and vibrant Chislehurst and the driving force behind Visit Chislehurst.
b) Chislehurst Town Team – the Town Team is made up of volunteers – traders, businesses, landlords, local charities, interest groups, and residents. They have had many successes, not least the new Chislehurst branding, reduced parking costs and securing grants from London Borough of Bromley. In fact, they are so good that Alison Stammers (the Chair) won the Mary Portas' High Street Champion of the Year.
c) The Chislehurst Society – aim to ensure that Chislehurst is kept special for residents and visitors alike. They help in the areas of planning, traffic, education, conservation, Heritage and police liaison. They also have helped to sponsor many events, charitable organisations and more.
d) The Trustees of the Commons – strive to manage and maintain the Chislehurst and St Paul's Cray Commons as an amenity for the enjoyment of local people and visitors. Without their amazing group of volunteers; Prickend Pond would not look as picturesque as it does now!
e) Friends of Chislehurst & Walden Recreation Ground (FOCRG) – exist to protect and improve the Rec for all to enjoy! Plus they organise the Chislehurst Rocks Festival every year!
We believe our wonderful website (along with our social media channels) is one of the other great reasons people love this town. Initially funded by the Chislehurst Society and ongoing costs funded by the Chislehurst Business Group; we provide regular updates on what goes on in the town, fab events, news of new businesses, reviews, gossip, our wonderful video podcasts (Friel on Fridays) and more! We believe we provide the virtual hub for this little town. We are your local noticeboard, online magazine and nosey neighbour who keeps you in the know!
Written by Tamsyn Clark