Hayes, Bromley overview
What’s it all about?
Tucked away in a corner of the borough of Bromley, a stroll through Hayes town centre can quite easily feel like you’ve slipped back in time. Whether you’re taking in the wonderful views from the brow of West Wickham Common or enjoying a comforting meal at one of Hayes’s traditional pubs, the bustle of the nearby city feels a world away. Adding to the town’s gorgeous antiquatedness is the Village – often known as ‘Old Hayes’ – with its 13th century Church of St Mary The Virgin and Grade II listed Old Rectory. The rest of the town is newer, with modern boutiques and trendy cafes. It’s precisely this inhabiting of two worlds, old and new, which lures such a variety of people to Hayes. Retired couples are drawn to the relaxed way of life and strong community, centred around Hayes Village Hall, while families and commuters take advantage of the beautiful commons, attractive property market and good transport links into Cannon Street and Charing Cross.
- Hayes has had various names during its history: Hees, Hese, Heyes, Hays, Heayse and Hayse. All of these mean heath or common.
- Hayes has been home to two English Prime Ministers. William Pitt the Elder moved into Hayes Place in 1757 and his son, William Pitt the Younger, was born there in 1759.
- The Holwood Estate near Hayes has played host to a number of eminent figures. Caesar camped there in 55BC; William Pitt the Younger would regularly visit the estate; and his friend William Wilberforce is said to have planned the abolition of slavery beneath one of Holwood’s oaks, now known as the Wilberforce Oak.
Architecture and property
Hayes was slightly slower than neighbouring Bromley to fully embrace property development, and the arrival of the railway didn’t have the same impact that it did in other towns. However, after World War I the housing market picked up pace, and when railways were electrified in 1926 Hayes became the residential hub for City workers who moved into newly built 1930s semi detached and detached homes. The large council estate Hayes Place was built primarily to house returning soldiers after World War II, and is now one of many large developments in the area. The property market in Hayes now mostly comprises terraced houses or flats, and there are several larger semi detached and detached properties available.
For house price information please visit the sold data tab.
Eating out: Hayes is located within easy reach of Michelin starred restaurant Chapter One, which serves some of the best food in South London and is the perfect venue for a special occasion. For a more casual evening, locals make for one of Hayes’s excellent pubs. The garden and terrace at The New Inn is great for drinks on a summer evening, while regular themed dining nights at The George showcase the best seasonal ingredients.
Relaxation: Friendly therapists, and clean, calm treatment rooms have made the Klinik salon a favourite with residents for over 15 years.
Theatre: Amateur dramatic society The Hayes Players continues to draw large audiences to its quarterly productions at the Hayes Village Hall, when the venue isn’t busy playing host to various local clubs and societies.
Shopping: To satisfy all your retail needs, head into neighbouring Bromley and visit the Intu shopping centre. Only a 10 minute drive away, the town centre is also easily accessible by bus.
- Founded in 1869, Blackheath and Bromley Harriers is one of the oldest athletics clubs in the UK and organises countless fixtures and group events. Whether you’re a marathon runner or just want to test the water with a gentle jog, there’s something for everyone.
- If you’d rather exercise in the warmth, try nearby Bromley Fitness & Wellbeing Centre. Top off your workout with one of their spa treatments or head to the nutritional centre for some expert advice.
- There’s a handy Sainsbury’s Local on Station Approach, as well as an Iceland on the same road, and the nearby car park makes the weekly shop easier.
- Hayes Library might be small but it has an active community attending its various events for children as well as an adult reading group.
Hayes Common is a focal point of the area, amassing 79 hectares of oak woodland, including several bridleways and footpaths, and even a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The wildness of the Common belies the area’s quick commute into London, and West Wickham Common serves as a connection to the wider countryside in Surrey and Kent. Locals can enjoy fantastic views over the countryside from the brow of the hill, or head to Keston Commons to admire the picturesque ponds and wide paths lined with overhanging trees.
St Mark’s Square is a £90 million mixed use joint venture between developer Cathedral and the local council to redevelop the Westmoreland Road car park close to Bromley South station, less than a 10 minute drive away from the centre of Hayes. When the project is completed in late 2015 there will be a new nine screen multiplex cinema, a landscaped central square with cafes and restaurants, and 200 new flats.
Rail: Overland trains to Cannon Street or Charing Cross take 40 minutes from Hayes (Kent) station. These trains stop at Lewisham, giving commuters access to the DLR, and because Hayes is the first station on the line, passengers usually have a guaranteed seat into London.
Road: Hayes is six minutes from the A232, which connects with the M25 in just 20 minutes.
Bus: Connections to Bromley are particularly good, and other buses that serve the area include numbers 119 (to Purley Way), 138 (to Coney Hall), 146 (to Downe), 246 (to Bromley North), 314 (to Eltham), 353 (to Addington Village).
Getting away: Gatwick is a mere 40 minute drive away, and trains from Hayes to the airport run regularly, taking about an hour and a half.
There is a wide range of schooling options both within Hayes and in the neighbouring areas. For younger children, Hayes Primary School is popular with locals, while Hayes Secondary School now has academy status and is very well regarded. The Glebe School offers specialist education for children with learning difficulties, particularly those on the autistic spectrum. Nearby Orpington provides selective state secondary schools Newstead Wood School for girls and St Olave’s School for boys.
Please see our schools tab for more information on schools in this area.
To find your local branch, visit our branch finder.
Did we miss something? If you have any local expertise to improve our area guide, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org