What’s it all about?
West Wickham might have been late in joining the swathes of south London to embrace suburbanisation and extensive property development, but its popularity since then has more than made up for its tardiness. Whereas the arrival of railways in the 1880s was synonymous with many south London areas making the transition from village to town, West Wickham waited until the 1930s for its property boom. Following this, house hunters were quick to secure a spot in this leafy enclave of Bromley, drawn to spacious homes with large gardens. Flanked by rolling English countryside, West Wickham offers a peaceful retreat from urban commotion, though central London is still accessible by train in just over half an hour. Residents embrace the leisure opportunities that West Wickham’s golf and tennis clubs provide, not to mention the acres of pathways across the Common that connect to the wider countryside in Kent and Surrey. West Wickham’s selection of schools is key in luring families to the area, but it’s the community atmosphere and village-like qualities of the area that keep them here. Parents working in the City find that the reasonable commute means they can be home in time for dinner, and families enjoy weekend meanders in the area’s many green spaces.
- West Wickham is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
- The Prime Meridian passes through West Wickham.
- Wickham Court, a 15th century manor house, is the ancestral home of the Boleyn family and it was here that Henry VIII proposed to his second wife Anne Boleyn.
Architecture and property
Until the 20th century, the property of West Wickham comprised only a few large mansions and villas, as well as a few cottages dotted along the high street. Indeed, West Wickham managed to evade mass expansion of its property market until after World War I, when the owners of these large estates moved on. This freed up large sections of land around these homes for development. Soon thousands of houses were built across the area, and today most of West Wickham’s properties are semi-detached and detached 1920s and 1930s houses, many of which have sizeable gardens. Properties in the semi rural Coney Hall area are particularly popular and often boast huge gardens.
Food and drink: West Wickham’s culinary scene centres around the high street, a busy thoroughfare lined with options for an evening out. Family run Italian restaurant Topolino’s has been a local favourite for over 20 years, while the Mediterranean cuisine at Prima Donna is second to none. There are several options for Indian food, including Sonargaon Tandoori, the biggest Indian restaurant in the area. Locals enjoy a variety of traditional bars and gastro pubs including The Railway , with its cosy fire, and The Wheatsheaf, a spacious pub with large front and back patios. Particularly picturesque is mock-Tudor-fronted Miller and Carter Steakhouse, famous among locals for its steaks. Raife's, Wickham Cafe, and Scott's Kitchen are all cafes that are popular in West Wickham.
Culture: West Wickham has a number of amateur theatre groups including the West Wickham Pantomime Society, which has put on a pantomime in aid of local children’s charities every year since 1947. The Matchbox is another theatre group whose members put on several amateur performances a year, as well as hosting concerts and other community events. For the more musically inclined, the WWOS, formerly the West Wickham Operatic Society, is known for its quality productions.
- Outdoorsy types love West Wickham’s wealth of sport and recreation possibilities. The Wickham Park Tennis Club has eight courts and the clubhouse fosters a great community spirit, regularly screening major sporting events. Beckenham Langley Park Golf Club opened in 1910 and, with 120 acres of green space, remains one of London’s finest courses. Residents looking to keep fit head to West Wickham Leisure Centre, which runs several group exercise classes in its pool and gym.
- Beauty Moments spa is a local favourite, with a great osteopath to sort out any aches and pains.
- There is a Marks & Spencer Simply Food on the high street with a car park, as well as several other smaller supermarkets in the vicinity.
- West Wickham library is a community focal point, hosting activities for children and computer classes.
- Larratts of West Wickham butchers has earned its place in local hearts by pairing high quality ingredients with excellent customer service.
- West Wickham’s friendly community congregates in the area’s many cafes, such as Corza Cafe and Scott's Kitchen.
A climb to the brow of the hill at West Wickham Common is rewarded with fantastic views over the local countryside, while more adventurous joggers can venture on to one of the area’s longer paths, such as a section of the London Outer Orbital Path (LOOP), and enjoy the acres of surrounding greenery. Both Blake Recreation Ground and Coney Hall Recreation Ground have excellent play areas for children and extensive sports facilities.
Glebe House in Summit Way has been demolished and replaced with a Lidl supermarket with 54 new flats above, bringing another option for house hunters in the West Wickham area.
Rail: West Wickham station provides regular services into Charing Cross and Cannon Street and London Bridge and journeys taking about 35 minutes.
Bus: There are several local bus routes linking with Bromley, Croydon, Hayes and Beckenham including the 24 hour 119 (to Bromley). Other routes include numbers 194 (to West Croydon), 198 (to Thornton Heath), 352 (to Lower Sydenham), and 356 (to Upper Sydenham).
Cycle: There are 54 bicycle parking spaces at West Wickham station, so many locals opt to enjoy the early morning fresh air and cycle to the station, before starting their commute by train.
Getting away: For air travel, Gatwick Airport is just 40 minutes away by car.
For primary education, locals can choose from a number of school s including, Oak Lodge, Hawes Down Primary School and Wickham Common. The academy converter Pickhurst Infant School is also a consistently popular choice. Langley Park Primary School opened in 2016. The two Langley Park schools (for boys and girls) are good secondary options. Many parents and children are drawn to the beautiful building and grounds at Wickham Court, an independent co-ed school for pupils from age two to 16. St David’s Prep is also popular with the locals.
Please see our schools tab for more information on schools in this area.
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