Living in Bromley
What is life like in Bromley?
Bromley is a town within the London Borough of Bromley, which lies at the south-eastern tip of the capital, close to the border of Kent. It was once a popular market town but today serves as a pleasant base for families and young professionals who require excellent links to London and the rest of the south-east.
The town has a pedestrianised high street and a vast range of stores and entertainment outlets. One of its many charms is the way classic Victorian architecture is intertwined with buildings and facilities from more recent years.
A wonderful mix of people exists in Bromley, with everyone from students at one of London's leading universities to City professionals and young families choosing the town as their home.
Bromley's history dates back to Roman times, before an Anglo-Saxon settlement was developed around the land that now houses the market square.
The area's Civic Centre is built on the site of the original Bishop's Palace. This was the seat of the Bishops of Rochester and the site featured in the Domesday Book, with the last bishop moving away from Bromley in 1845.
It was a quiet rural village until the arrival of the railway in the latter half of the 19th century. As the number of train services grew, Bromley soon became an outer suburb of London and its links to the capital developed. While the northern part of the borough advanced, the southern half remained largely countryside.
Bromley also served an important role in World War II, when Biggin Hill Airport – which is positioned around five miles south of the town centre – was a key base for RAF Fighter Command.
Legendary literary figures HG Wells and Richard Crompton both lived in Bromley at various times, while Charles Darwin also has links to the area.
In more recent times, the likes of David Bowie, Pixie Lott and Gary Rhodes have all called Bromley home.
Entertainment, sport and days out
The Churchill Theatre is arguably the cultural hub of Bromley, hosting a variety of shows and productions that are sure to entertain residents of all tastes. It seats more than 700 people and was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1977. There is also a cinema in the town centre, which is ideal for catching the latest Hollywood blockbuster.
Bromley Common is a great place to spend some time with family or friends, acting as the number one spot for a winter stroll or a summer barbecue.
Bromley is home to four non-league football clubs, ensuring fans of the sport will have plenty of competitive action on their doorstep. There is also a local rugby club. Of course, all of London's major sports teams are just a short train ride or drive away.
There are also excellent facilities within the town for those who wish to take part in their chosen sport. The Pavilion Leisure Centre has its own swimming pool with wave machine, as well as flumes, a gym and exercise studios.
In one direction, Bromley residents have the sights and sounds of London to enjoy, while in the other lies the rural delights of Kent. The Garden of England is renowned for its traditional charms and quaint villages, making it the perfect spot for a peaceful and aesthetically pleasing day out.
Eating, drinking & shopping
Bars and restaurants are in abundance in Bromley, which is an incredibly fashionable place to socialise. Ferrari's restaurant was the winner of the Bromley Diners' Choice award, and there are plenty of other establishments spanning all types of cuisine, as well as numerous wine bars.
Driving around ten minutes out of Bromley will allow people to reach the Michelin-starred Chapter One restaurant in Locksbottom.
The Glades Shopping Centre is one of the most popular retail environments in south-west London, with people flocking from far and wide to shop there. It contains many of Bromley's 400-plus shops. Major fashion stores including H&M, New Look and River Island are based in the centre, while Superdrug and Toys R Us are among the other names found there.
There is also a weekly farmers' market in the high street, providing people with a chance to stock up on local, tasty produce.
Schools & healthcare
Schools in Bromley are known to be among some of the very best in London, with many families choosing to move into the area purely to ensure their children find a place at a local institution. St James' Roman Catholic and Chislehurst (St Nicholas) Church of England were among the highest performing primary schools in the most recent tables, while St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School and Newstead Wood School for Girls fared well in the secondary school lists.
The Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley is the town's primary healthcare facility and gives residents peace of mind that they will be well cared for in the event of an emergency.
One of the main reasons to live in Bromley is its excellent links to London and the rest of the south-east. The heart of the city is only around 15 minutes away by train, while it also benefits from an efficient bus service.
Drivers will already be aware that the M25 is less than ten miles away from central Bromley, meaning they can easily reach any part of Kent, Essex, Surrey, Sussex or beyond.
In Bromley itself, there is a comprehensive bus network and a total of 26 train stations within the borough, so all local journeys can be completed quickly by public transport.