Please tell me about Orpington ...(51 Posts)
We live in central London and love it here, but we absolutely have to move as we have a tiny flat and we are also thinking ahead to secondary school (they are rubbish here)...
Orpington appears to meet a lot of our needs - houses with big gardens that we can afford, good secondary schools, easy commute into several London stations for DH.
So.... is there anything I should know? Any bad bits, any downsides? Please tell all!
good secondary schools? which ones are you looking at?
Hmm, I think of Orpington and industrial estates spring to mind, it's a bit of a suburban wasteland imo... but maybe there are nice bits I'm not familiar with...
There are some lovely bits, just as you say and some very grotty bits - Orpington is a very big place you know. We live on the edge near Chislehurst and love it. Schools OK and grammars in neighbouring areas ( we are only at primary level now anyway ). Orpington high Street ia quite grotty but you are close to Bluewater anyway. Commute is generally quite good into London and we are handy for M25 for the airports too.
Main thing is to check out which bit you are in. If house pricing looks too good to be true then it probably is - we saw loads of houses and when we turned up we kept finding that the biggest houses with beautiful gardens were in rough areas, which should have been obvious when you looked at prices.
Thanks everyone, sorry I didn't reply last night - DS2 decided to stay up till 10.30 so I was back and forth from his room like a yo-yo...
Nancy - all but one of the secondaries in Bromley EA are above average, I think it was the Priory that was below average (and even that is better than our local comp where we are now!) Are there any others I should avoid??
Meg - I have to be honest, if I could live anywhere in the UK I probably wouldn't choose Orpington but it is a good compromise for us, DH has an easy journey into work and we are half-way to my family who live in North East Kent.
Flocci - yes, Chislehurst area looks nice, and the prices do seem to vary quite a bit from area to area. As I don't know it all that well I am finding Street View and Google Earth very handy!
Petts Wood is v nice iirc, pricey though.
My folks live in NE Kent too! (Ramsgate)
We live in the area - Petts Wood is lovely. Orpington town centre is a bit run-down-looking and disappointing considering it is in a perfect commuting position, good schools and close to countryside, M25 etc. Having said that Orpington has plenty of perfectly good shops, it all just looks a bit bleh. Locksbottom is quite a nice side of town, bit far from the station though. The 'knoll' area of Orpington is supposed to be one of the nicer bits but still in the middle of its adjustment away from unrealistic house prices IMO, and not great value yet.
I live not far away. Agree that you can find lovely areas in or near Oprington (i.e. The Knoll, Crofton, Petts Wood, Chislehurst) that all deliver good houses, larger gardens and access to good primary and reasonable secondary schools.
I'm further towards Bromley, between Petts Wood and Bromley and I think it is an excellent family friendly area. OK, it isn't cool or trendy, but loads of families and generally good schools and local amenities.
If you're after huge choice for secondary, I'd look more at the shortlands/hayes areas because then you have the potential to get into Langley Boys/Girls or Hayes. I'm keeping an eye on Ravensbourne which has a fantastic value added score and recently had outstanding ofsted for 6th form. Definitely one on the up.
Totally agree with pooka - I would look around Hayes but towards West Wickham.
Langley Park Boys and Girls are fabulous schools but the catchment areas are miniscule (last year 1.2 miles for girls, 0.9 miles for boys). Hayes is also excellent as is Ravens Wood (this is boys only).
<<Pooka, I know someone with children at Ravensbourne and she speaks very highly of it.>>
Only downside with Hayes and WW is that the trains are not as frequent as Petts Wood/Orpington.
Langley schools do have small catchments, don't they. Personally (though dd 6 and ds 3 so long way off) am keen on idea of mixed school at secondary. But there are a fair few to choose from in the Bromley area....
What about the Darrick Wood schools? All the estate agents' bumpf always mentions them.
We moved from Sidcup about 2 years ago, looked at all areas of North East Kent - put offers in on 2 houses, 1 in Chislehurst and one in Seven Oaks and decided in the end ot move to NE Essex - quality of life is much better, mopre countryside, more house for your money, graqmmer schools up here as well as good LA schools.
Am just throwing this in for you as DH a Bromley boy and would only at first move about 20 minutes away from his parents in Bromley but we love it up here.
I hear good things about Darrick Wood (seniors and junior). Lovely brown uniform . Don't know what their catchment is like, but have heard that it's quite small for secondary, so worth checking with them first.
Thanks for the warning on the uniforms pooka! We want to be close to the station for DH, and it seems to be one of the nearest schools.
Also, do you know anything about Bishop Justus? I think it is quite a new school. The DCs do go to a C of E school at the moment so it might be another option for us.
I don't have direct experience of Bishop Justus. Though a lot of children from dd's primary seem to go on there, and a friend's daughter started in September.
It seems to have had some initial teething problems, but has settled down. The early teething probs probably completely understandable - must be a major undertaking starting a completely new school and working out how it will function. Certainly was also true of Ravensbourne, which merged about 12 years ago with another school and the boy's and girl's Ravensbourne schools were joined. Went through a marked period of transition which has taken some time to overcome.
Re: BJ - Excellent music facilities. OBviously great new buildings. Friend's dd is wonderfully happy there, despite it not being high on their list of options, so much so that her second dd will unquestionably also go there.
I know of other people (another friend's neighbours) who moved from Catford to Bromley specifically so their musical son could go there. They have found it heaps better than the state sceondary he was at in Lewisham.
Don't know about catchments/entry for parishoners or whatever. Is our third closest school and as far as I am aware we would get in (we're just over a mile away).
i live in petts wood and find it to be a lovely area. My dd has just got into Darrick Wood which is in Farnbrough again a lovely area. My dad lives in Oprpington but more the side nearer to Green street green again a nice area.
I think its generally a nice area. the orpington/petts wood train line serves London easily.
If i were to say an area to avoid it would probably be St Mary's cray, it has cheaper properties but there is a reason for this, however on saying this you could get wonderful neighbours in a not so nice area and awful ones in a nice area (like us)
I think Orpington shopping area is ok it offeres different shops than Bromley town centre which is nice to have a variety. There is also the orpington industrial estate which offers many other kinds of shops.
Overall i think it is a nice affordably area to move to
My brother lives in Petts Wood, very happy there. Good train service to London, nice open spaces, good schools.
Thanks again everyone - our flat is now officially on the market so we are going to start viewing properties soon. I did like the look of Petts Wood, but the trains not quite as good as Orpington, so I think we are going to look there, up to about a mile from the station. That includes the area near Darrick Wood/Farnborough which looks vnice on paper at least!
Tonight I am feeling a bit wobbly - it is very strange to see your home being advertised on the interweb! Plus I did a speculative ring-around primary schools (although I realise it may be months before we move) and not one of them was able to offer both the DCs places in the same school ... eek
I grew up in Orpington. Ask estate agents for houses in Orpington South, with BR6 postcodes. Oh God, have I just shown myself to be an awful snob?
I would avoid Bishop Justus, tbh. If Newstead or Olaves aren't options, then Darrick Wood is a good bet. Coopers has gone downhill in recent years IMO.
i too have heard many negaticve things about coopers in recent years and thats from teachers......yikes
Hello Basement Bear (hopefully no longer in the basement!).
Where did you end up moving to? We're currently considering moving into the Orpington area and it would be great to hear how you've settled in if you ended up there!
Hi im joining this conversation very late but i just wanted to say ive lived in orpington all my life, there are good & bad parts like any town, I went to darrick wood & am hoping to send my children there if not ravenswood (i have all boys)as they are both excellent schools, although the catchment is very strict.
I also agree BR6 is the best way to search.
reading the other posts i have to also agree the Langley Schools are superb, people move specifically to get in to those schools.
I hope that helps anyone thinking of moving this way?
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