Living in The London Borough of Bexley
“High scores on safety and low house prices make moving to Bexley a prime choice for both first-time buyers and growing families, many of whom will choose to settle in the area long-term.”
Moving to Bexley
Fourteen miles south-east from the centre of London, this quiet borough sits on the border with Kent and is one of the greenest boroughs in the capital with over 100 parks, as well as an appealing walking route along the River Thames. Access to the hubbub of central London is relatively speedy, but Bexley embraces its country-city ambience, with plenty of community-minded residents, a low-key nightlife and highly-rated schools. High scores on safety and low house prices make it a prime choice for both first-time buyers and growing families, many of whom will choose to settle in the area long-term. It was voted one of the best places to live in the UK in 2012, but has managed to remain somewhat under the radar – something the residents are keen to maintain. Bexley’s highest scoring Locality Reality postcode is DA15 8LQ hitting the 9.1 mark on Halfway Street.
House Prices in Bexley
One of the major selling points of the borough is house prices – with the average property price less than £350,000, Bexley is significantly cheaper than the London average, and second only to the much more deprived area of Barking and Dagenham. Properties in the borough tend to be a mix of commuter-friendly apartments, large period houses and smaller semi-detached properties, and some of the best areas in the borough to live include Sidcup, Crayford and Bexleyheath.
Travelling from Bexley
Like some other southern boroughs, Bexley suffers from a lack of underground Tube services. Good National Rail services and a wide selection of bus routes make up for this somewhat, with direct services to central London stations such as Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge taking around thirty minutes. Alternatively, if you’re traveling by car the A20 and A2 run through the centre of the borough before joining up to travel directly into the business hub of Canary Wharf and towards the City.
Restaurants in Bexley
Options for dining out in Bexley aren’t particularly varied, although there is a good selection of local restaurants with enough of a range to suit most residents. The central area is home to some of the borough’s best spots, such as Ferraris Italian Restaurant, Delicio, Alberello and the Old Bexley Greek Taverna, while neighbouring Bexleyheath offers various high-street favourites including Nando’s, Bella Italia and Zizzi.
While it tends to be a little too quiet for those seeking buzzing city bars, what the area lacks in nightlife it makes up in the unique variety of shopping outlets available.
Unlike many modern high streets, the area has resisted the generic chain of retail brands that flank the prime areas of most town centres. Instead, Bexley nurtures a strong feeling of community and supports the growth of independent cafes and boutiques. Stroll down the attractive high street and you will find yourself wandering in and out of a string of bakeries, butchers, and independent stores. Popular spots include Hamers Fine Foods and Delicatessen in central Bexley, where locals flock to enjoy a range of light breakfasts and lunches whilst Chex Boutique on the High Street has a loyal following. If you are in need of a little conventional retail therapy, however, the Broadway Shopping Centre in nearby Bexleyheath has over 60 stores, including most of the leading high street chains such as Dorothy Perkins and H&M.
Most of the major supermarket chains can be found throughout Bexley, including two large branches of Asda, a Sainsbury’s, a Tesco superstore, a Morrisons and a small Waitrose in Sidcup. Independent and specialist stores can also be found in most urban centres, with some of the finest being Melucci’s Italian Deli on Bexley High Street, and Carnivore Foods butcher’s shop, also in Sidcup.
Gyms in Bexley
While lacking in national gym chains, Bexley does have a number of options for fitness fans including Reynolds Fitness on Chapel Walk, Better Gym on Broadway and the Crook Log Leisure Centre. For those who prefer to exercise in the water Danson Park Watersport Centre offers a range of activities including rowing boats, canoeing and kayaking.
Although it doesn’t quite have the cultural pull of neighbouring Greenwich, Bexley does offer some artistic activities, including two good theatres: the Edward Alderton Theatre and the Geoffrey Whitworth Theatre. For budding historians, Bexley is a bit more forthcoming, with interesting spots such as the Grade I listed Hill Place, a beautiful stately home built during the 1500s, and the atmospheric ruins at Lesnes Abbey.
“Excellent schools are easy to come by in Bexley, with a total of fifteen primary schools achieving 90% or higher at KS2 level.”
Schools and Education in Bexley
The best primary schools in Bexley include St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, St Paulinus CofE Primary School and St Michael’s East Wickham CofE Primary School, all of which score 100% at KS2. Secondary schools also fare well, with the top three in the borough being the selective Beths Grammar School, Bexley Grammar School and Towny Grammar School, followed by the very popular St Catherine’ Catholic School for Girls.
Safety in Bexley
Residents can rest assured when it comes to crime in the borough – it is the second safest borough in London as of 2013, with 56 crimes per 1000 people compared to the London average of 93 per 1000. Burglary in particular is lower here than in most London boroughs, and vandalism and violent crime are lower than the UK average.
Green Spaces in Bexley
As an outer London borough, this borough benefits from a good amount of green spaces within the area, a key selling point for many of the families that settle here. There are over 100 parks and open spaces here, the largest of which is Danson Park in Welling, where you’ll find 75 hectares of trees, sports facilities, cycle routes and even a lake.
Unlike many London boroughs, which can date their original settlement back thousands of years, most of Bexley remained practically unoccupied until the 1800s. It wasn’t until London began to sprawl rapidly outwards that the borough began to grow in popularity, although even now many of the small urban centres here feel very distinct and individual.