Look out for those hidden goodies…
ONE big concession when the Greater London Boroughs were set up in 1965 was that those such as Bromley and Bexley retained ‘Kent’ as part of their postal address.
Wisely so, for behind the clichéd ‘leafy suburbs’ are hidden corners every bit as worthy as those further down the line.
It certainly applies to Bromley. Though battered by the architectural whims of the ‘sixties, the likes of Bromley and Sheppard’s Colleges in London Road allow you to slip into the 17th century world of John Warner, Bishop of Rochester, and his tranquil homes for “twenty poore widowes of orthodoxe and loyall clergiemen.”
Chislehurst, once a royal manor was the home of Francis Walsingham, chief spymaster to Elizabeth I; in 1871 the exiled Louis Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie and their son took up residency in Camden Place.
Beckenham, where David Bowie launched his career, has its share, too, of historic links while Crystal Palace is buzzing, both for its Grade II listed subway and park, as well as a renovated Parade.
Orpington boasts the Crofton Roman Villa, Bexley is home to Hall Place, an under-rated Tudor mansion while Eltham Palace, a Tudor royal residence, transformed into a striking Art Deco mansion, is a constant crowd puller.
But what about Severndroog Castle? Hidden in Oxleas Woods, Shooters Hill, Greenwich, it not only offers some of the best views of London but is a reminder what so often also lies at our doorstep.
(Header photograph – The Royal Bell Hotel Market Square Bromley)