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With excellent shopping, sporting and leisure facilities, this suburban town also has an ancient history, strong links with Darwin and a wealth of green spaces. One of the last towns before the green belt and the M25, Orpington in south London offers a quick commute of about 30 minutes into London Bridge and the City and offers a peaceful alternative for families escaping central London’s hustle and bustle. There are good state schools, including two grammars, plus a vibrant town centre and homes ranging from multimillion-pound houses on private gated estates to affordable two- and three-bedroom terrace houses. There are period homes and cottages in the nearby villages of Chelsfield, Knockholt, Halstead and Pratts Bottom and also in Downe, where Charles Darwin’s home, Down House, is open to the public.

Chickens and a famous Liberal by-election victory are Orpington’s historic claims to fame. As for those chickens, the Orpington Buff, the Orpington Black, and the Orpington Jubilee were all bred in the area by Victorian farmer William Cook. Today, these large, good-looking, fluffy chickens, which even have their own fan club, are mainly bred for show.  Around town you will find the long straight High Street with a great selection of shops and restaurants, the Walnuts shopping and leisure centre, colourful market, and Orpington’s famous war memorial is a grand triangular column of Portland stone, six metres high. Orpington is 15 miles south-east of central London and lies to the north of the A21, Sevenoaks, Biggin Hill and Westerham are to the south, and Bromley to the west.

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