Living in Beckenham
What is life like in Beckenham?
Aesthetically, Beckenham has to be one of the most pleasant parts of London. Found in the borough of Bromley, in the south-east of the city, it is renowned for its wide, tree-lined streets and period architecture.
It has become an incredibly popular spot with young professionals, who value the green and spacious surroundings while still being just a short journey from the city centre. A number of beautiful local parks enhance Beckenham's reputation as an idyllic place to live and further improve the quality of life on offer.
At its heart is a busy high street with a strong cafe culture and a wide variety of shops to explore and bars to enjoy. Beckenham Green is always a hit, and hosts community events and concerts as well as a regular farmers' market.
Beckenham allows people to get more for their money while still living in London and with excellent access to the city centre. Its mix of pleasant surroundings, strong infrastructure and value for money makes it a hit with many house hunters.
Archaeological evidence suggests there were early settlers in Beckenham, and there is proof of a Roman camp existing in the area. Beckenham remained a small village well into the 19th century, although growth began to occur at a relatively fast rate in the 20th century.
The arrival of the railway in 1857 was a turning point in the history of Beckenham, as it meant the area was connected to central London and it triggered a raft of building projects. The Shortlands area was constructed in 1863, and it was followed by other developments such as Elmers End (1911), Park Langley (1908) and Eden Park (1926).
As London expanded in the 20th century, Beckenham became an essential and highly sought-after suburban area. Infrastructure – such as rail and road links – continued to improve in this time and the area is now connected to many parts of the city in the best possible fashion.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Although Beckenham is a relatively small area, it still has some top-class facilities to be used and enjoyed by people who live there. These include a recently refurbished leisure centre, an Odeon cinema and the Beckenham Theatre Centre, which hosts performances, productions and readings.
The local leisure centre is the ideal starting point for sports enthusiasts, as it houses a swimming pool, gym and fitness classes, so there is something for everyone who wants to keep themselves in shape. Golfers should head to Beckenham Place Park, which contains one of the UK's largest courses.
When it comes to picking a day out, London will clearly be a strong contender in many people's minds. All of the city's major sights and landmarks are just a short journey away, so there will always be something available to suit every taste.
Alternatively, people might wish to consider a day in Kent or another part of the south-east. The Garden of England offers a number of seaside resorts – such as Margate – as well as the Kent Downs.
Eating, drinking & shopping
The centre of Beckenham boasts several restaurants and bars that are the ideal places to relax in the evening. Two historic pubs – Ye Old George Inn and the Three Tuns – stand in this area, with the former dating back to 1662.
El Molino is a popular Spanish restaurant and El Supremo is a hit for its fish and chips, while there are plenty of other eateries.
Parking in Beckenham is incredibly easy, which understandably helps to attract shoppers to the high street. Some of the UK's major retailers have stores there, including M&S, Lloyds and Boots, alongside a number of independent stores that add to the character of the region.
Schools & healthcare
A number of primary and secondary schools, as well as academies and colleges, are available to people living in Beckenham. Churchfields and St Mary's are among the primary institutions in the area, while Langley Park has separate schools for boys and girls.
London is home to a number of universities so Beckenham is an ideal base for anyone thinking of heading into higher education. The University of Greenwich is one local and prestigious option.
In addition to several local surgeries, Beckenham residents benefit from the presence of two hospitals in the local area. Beckenham Hospital and The Sloane Hospital are both within walking distance of the centre of Beckenham.
As with many parts of London, Beckenham is remarkably well connected and easy to reach. There are five local stations on both the DLR and overground networks, meaning central London and Croydon are only ever a short ride away.
Beckenham Junction is the most central station and offers DLR services to the City, while New Beckenham is the primary mainline station in the area. There is also an extensive bus service linking the area with central London and a host of other destinations.
Beckenham also boasts excellent road links, as it is positioned just ten miles from the M25, providing easy access to all parts of the south-east. City Airport is located a similar distance away, while residents can also use Gatwick and Heathrow.