Bickley: Beverly Hills or budget?
Extract: Thanks to its wide range of housing choices, Bickley shows itself to be strong contender for house-hunters of all budgets.
Famous (or perhaps that should be infamous) for its sprawling and expensive houses, Bickley has a much wider range of benefits to offer to would-be residents than its reputation might suggest.
Location and Transport
Bickley is located in the London borough of Bromley, about ten and a half miles south-east of Charing Cross. Despite being well out from the centre, commuting is made easy thanks to Bickley station, which is in travel zone five. From here, passengers can easily catch services to Victoria, Sevenoaks and Orpington. The line between Victoria and Orpington generally runs four trains per hour in each direction, making it a convenient option for work and leisure trips.
The area is also well-provided with a number of bus routes, which can get you to local destinations as well as the key points in the wider London area.
The area that makes up modern Bickley was cleared in the 1700s to become part of the Bickley Hall estate, meaning that major housing developments didn’t start until land was sold off once the railway came to the area in the mid-19th century. However, the area was inhabited as a countryside hamlet called Cross in medieval times, although the present name was in recorded use as early as 1279.
Despite recent developments, Bickley still retains a strong rural feel, which is enhanced by a number of parks that can be found in the area. Of these, the biggest is Jubilee Park. It consists of 62 acres of meadows, woodland and hedgerows, with a picturesque cycle route running through it.
As you might expect of such an affluent neighbourhood, Bickley has a number of very good schools. In terms of primary education, there are number of promising options: Bickley Primary School, Hayes Primary School and La Fontaine Academy. If you choose private education for this age group, Baston House School and Breaside Preparatory School are also nearby.
For secondary school pupils, Hayes School has an excellent grading from Ofsted, and Bishop Justus Church of England School is ranked good. There are also a number of independent secondary schools, including Bromley High School and Bickley Park School.
It’s worth being aware that Bickley is almost completely a residential area, so those interested in local shopping will need to head to nearby Chislehurst or Bromley to find a commercial high street. However, this can be well worth the effort, as both these areas have a good range of independent and chain shops. In addition to this, residents are also within easy reach of the large Glades shopping centre, for those in need of heavy-duty retail therapy.
The lack of commercial opportunities means that anyone moving to the area must expect at least a local commute to work or school, but since Bickley is such a small neighbourhood, this doesn’t need to be particularly painful.
While it is certainly one of the most affluent areas in London (and England, for that matter), accommodation in Bickley is actually cheaper than the London average, when broken down by property price.
This said, there are plenty of beautiful and large houses available for those with money to burn. For the rest of us, many of the larger homes were replaced with more budget-friendly properties in the mid 20th century, meaning that there is a good range of housing on offer.
Despite its reputation for high prices and affluence, Bickley is a surprisingly affordable and pleasant option for almost anyone considering moving to South-East London, and should definitely be on your shortlist when it comes to house-hunting.