Borough of Bromley

Covering an area of 48 square miles, or 150 square kilometers, Bromley is by far London's biggest borough.

According to the London Government Act of 1963, Bromley comprises "the boroughs of Beckenham and Bromley, the urban districts of Orpington and Penge, and so much of the urban district of Chislehurst and Sidcup as lies south of the boundary referred to in paragraph 6 of part II of this Schedule...which shall be such as the Minister may by order determine on or near the general line of route A20". With such ponderous legalese was a large chunk of the county of Kent transferred to Greater London.

While the likes of Penge, Bromley town, Beckenham, Orpington and Chislehurst sit comfortably within the metropolis, a good third of Bromley is rural and its incorporation within London causes some puzzlement. To visit such villages as Downe or Cudham, nestling comfortably within the rolling chalk hills of the North Downs, is to wonder why on earth they are part of the nation's capital. It's a fair bet that most Londoners have never even heard of these places, much less been there. We should delight, however, in this anomaly. How many of the world's capital cities can boast of having such localities as Buckhurst Farm, Foxberry Wood, Charmwood Lane or Pratt's Bottom within their boundaries?

The urban parts of Bromley are not exactly concrete jungles either. This is prosperous commuterland, a world of leafy avenues and large gardens, sportsgrounds and parks, playing fields and clumps of woodland. Bromley itself has the air of a provincial town, while many of the surrounding localities still feel much like the villages they once were. The Green Chain Walk, a route linking together many of the principal open spaces of southeast London, winds extensively through the northwest sector of the borough. The Crystal Palace national athletics stadium is here, as is the BBC's main broadcasting tower, the curious tourist attraction cum party venue that is Chislehurst Caves, and the wartime airfield of Biggin Hill. On paper Bromley has little to attract the visitor or tourist, yet it is a thoroughly pleasant corner of the capital and worthwhile to explore on a warm, sunny afternoon.

Gallery Index

Crystal Palace Park
Elmstead Woods
The London Loop in Bromley

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   London Borough of Bromley

This page last updated 25th May 2003