Updated: 19 May 2024

Entertaining children and enjoying family time together doesn’t have to come with the stress and financial cost of driving: being stuck in traffic congestion, searching for a parking spot, and paying sky-high fuel prices.

Here are seven ideas for family activities and destinations that can be reached using Bromley’s rail or bus networks. Please share any recommendations of your own in the comments.

Tips for rail and bus travel
– Children can get free and discounted travel on TfL services. Children under 5 travel free with a fare-paying adult, older children can get a 5-10 Zip Oyster Photocard, 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard, or 16+ Zip Oyster Photocard.
– Check your route in advance to ensure you are not impacted by planned engineering works or temporary stop closures: TfL Journey Planner, Southeastern, Thameslink.
– If you are travelling out of London, check whether you can use your Oyster or contactless card. Areas shaded in blue, or absent from the TfL map, are outside Oyster fare zones – you need to buy a ticket instead.

1. Beckenham Place Park
Beckenham Place Park is a popular destination for families in south London. Free family trail, story map for under-5s and +7s, skate park and BMX track. Junior parkrun (2km) for 4-14 year-olds on Saturday mornings. PTP Coaching operate the lake for swimming and paddle-boarding. Next to Beckenham Place Mansion, the Homestead Cafe serves food, coffee, pizza and ice creams daily from 8am. Between May 25 – June 2, Botton’s Family Funfairs are operating opposite the Mansion (under-11s only). More information: May Half-term Kids Fair.

Accessibility: Beckenham Hill station has step-free access to both platforms. Ravensbourne station only has step-free access to platform 2 (towards Sevenoaks). The majority of the park’s paths are wide enough for wheelchairs, with slight-moderate slopes. There are accessible toilets at the Homestead Cafe. More details at AccesAble – Beckenham Place Park.

Getting there:
– Beckenham Hill Road entrance served by the 54 bus between Woolwich & Elmers End, and Beckenham Hill station (Thameslink).
– Ravensbourne entrance served by Ravensbourne station (Thameslink, Southeastern), and the 354 bus between Bromley North & Penge.

  • Aerial photo of Beckenham Place Park showing lake
  • Photo of children riding on the BMX track

2. Petts Wood and Hawkwood
150 acres of ancient woodland, ‘the acme (pinnacle/highlight) of Kentish suburbia‘. Free entry, with a number of walking tracks. Bromley Council have a useful map and guide here: Bromley Walks – Petts Wood.

Accessibility: Lifts are currently under construction at Petts Wood station. Although they are not currently available, it is scheduled for completion in early 2024. Paths are uneven and unsuitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs or buggies. More information: Petts Wood and Hawkwood Access Statement.

Getting there:
Petts Wood station (Southeastern), 208 bus between Orpington and Lewisham, R7 bus between Bickley and Orpington.

Petts Wood. Source: National Trust.

3. Bromley Central Library
The largest library in Bromley, with a wide range of children’s books, audio books and MP3s. The library also hosts the Friday Coding Awareness Club for children aged 6-12, weekly between 4-5pm. Child must be a library member, and accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Free to book here: Coding Awareness Club.

Accessibility: Both Bromley South and Bromley North stations have step-free access. Bromley Library does not publish information about wheelchair access or disabled toilets.

Getting there
Bromley South station (Southeastern, Thameslink) or Bromley North (Southeastern). Very well served by buses, find the most convenient route here: TfL Journey Planner.

4. Home of Charles Darwin – Down House
The former home of Charles Darwin and his family is open to the public, with exhibits on his life and work. ‘An unstuffy educational day out‘ for the family. Entry fees £12.50-20.00 for advance online bookings.

Accessibility: Unfortunately the final stretch of the walk along Luxted Road to Down House is a narrow lane, without a footpath. Down House is a wheelchair-accessible building, with a lift and accessible toilets. More details at English Heritage – Down House.

Getting there
146 bus, 20 minutes from Bromley South to Downe Village via Keston, 10 minute walk to Down House.

Interior of room inside Down House with piano, table and armchairs
Inside Down House. Source: English Heritage

5. The Hub from Greener and Cleaner, The Glades
The Hub is a space for learning, fun and creativity where you can learn how to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on bills. Open Monday, Thursday – Sunday. Full event listings: Events at The Hub.

Accessibility: Both Bromley South and Bromley North stations have step-free access. The Glades is wheelchair-accessible.

Getting there
Bromley South station (Southeastern, Thameslink) or Bromley North (Southeastern). Very well served by buses, find the most convenient route here: TfL Journey Planner.

  • Photo of a person standing by a sign talking to a person in a wheelchair.
  • Photo of a person sitting in a group that participating in a mending workshop.

6. Knole Park
The last medieval deer park in Kent, with former archbishop’s palace Knole House. Anyone can visit the park for free, entry fees for Show rooms or Gatehouse Tower are £3-15. National Trust are offering 2-for-1 tickets for visitors that travel by bus or train (proof of travel required, see details on Car-free travel to Knole).

Accessibility: Sevenoaks has step-free access to the booking hall and platforms, but not to the toilets. Stepped access only between the car park and overbridge. The route from the station to Knole House has footpaths, but some steep climbs. The driveway to Knole House is shared with motor vehicles. More information: Knole House Access Statement, Sevenoaks station accessibility.

Getting there
Sevenoaks station is 32 minutes from Bromley South (Southeastern), then around 30 minutes’ walk to Knole Park.

7. Tour de Penge community bike ride
As part of the annual Penge Festival, the Tour de Penge on Saturday 9th June is a community bike ride for all ages and abilities. The round trip from Penge to Greenwich and back, mostly following off-road routes, is approximately 13 miles. There is a finish party afterwards at Alexandra Junior School. Riders must register in advance, with the Penge Cycle Club. For registration and more information: Tour de Penge 2024

Accessibility: Any type of bike can be used, including tricycles, wheelchair bikes, tandems or handcycles.

Getting there
Bicycles can be taken on rail services on the weekend (note, non-folded cycles are not allowed on buses or trams). The start and finish point, Alexandra Junior School, can be accessed via Penge East or New Beckenham stations.

  • Two adults and two children at the Tour de Penge cycle ride
  • A group of parents and children cycling on the road as part of the Tour de Penge cycle ride

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