Education: Awash with good schools. St James’s Roman Catholic Primary School is rated “excellent” by Ofsted, as are St Saviour’s Grammar School and St Olave’s Grammar School for boys, and Darrick
Wood School – a co-educational comprehensive. Parents of sporty kids may want to consider The Priory School, a specialist sports college.
Crime: Rates are below national averages.
Bars and restaurants: Mainly consists of high-street favourites such as Ask and Café Rouge. Not particularly edgy perhaps, but it is pubs where Orpington excels. It is home to Camra’s 2010 pub of the year, the Five Bells, which has an extensive range of ales, regular live music nights and serves tasty, unpretentious food like steak and kidney pudding. The Black Horse, The Royal Oak and The Partridge are also worth popping into for a pint or two. Gourmets should seek out nearby Locksbottom’s Chapter One restaurant, which is Michelin-starred.
Leisure: If you need to burn off the calories after all that food and drink, there’s an LA?Fitness gym, and a martial arts club. Sporting facilities are first-rate and include Goddington Park which has several rugby and football pitches, and two tennis clubs. Bromley Museum, tucked away in the lush Priory Gardens, is worth a visit too.
Shopping: If you can bear it, Bluewater Shopping Centre is not far away. If you can’t, the Walnut Centre has a respectable selection of high street staples. Otherwise, Orpington has all the amenities of a lively suburb with a decent leisure centre, a top-quality public library and even a market, three times a week.
Commuting: Orpington Station to London Bridge takes an impressively swift 15 minutes, while those who want to head to the West End can get to Victoria Station in 37 minutes. It’s also close to the M25 which means that, on a good day, you can drive into central London in 40 minutes.