Bromley is located in the south east of London and is one of the largest London boroughs (there is some debate as to whether Bromley is actually part of London, but I always take anything within the M25 to be at least "greater London". Bromley contains towns such as Orpington, West Wickham, Petts Wood, Beckenham and Biggin Hill. Bromley town centre is regarded on of the best and people travel from quite far to come and shop their. The Glades shopping centre has a total of 108 shops including a large Waterstones book store which is popular for book signings and another large Marks and Spencers store. The Pavillion Leisure Centre is next to the Glades and provides Bromley with a gym, sports hall, squash courts and a swimming pool with flumes and a wave machine. Bromley is also home to the Churchill Theatre, located on the pedestrianised high street, which has been host to some fantastic shows in recent years. Touring shows such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show, aswell as the pantomime Cinderrella starring hollywood legend Steve Guntenburg have been played at the Chirchill. Overall, Bromley is a great place to live, work, shop or for recreation and well worth a visit!
Bromley, a town close to my heart, is situated just outside south-east London depending on how you look at it, but is also one of the largest London boroughs. It starts in Crystal Palace and stretches to Orpington, and the areas it covers can range from luxury to council estates in a matter of miles. It covers zones 4/5 and can be reached by train from Victoria in just over 10 minutes (Tubes have evaded us for now), and has excellent bus links with Croydon, Lewisham, Bexleyheath and other places in Kent and motorways which make Dover and the M25 easily reachable.
Bromley is probably one of the best places to shop in the south east, with a decent high-street, identikit shopping centre, and the biggest Primark known to man (well, it's three floors). There are also a few decent charity shops, where you may find designer bargains and a few boutiques though most would be referred to in my opinion as market-shops (market quality clothes, in a shop). It lacks the individual shops that you might find spread out in surrounding areas such as Beckenham and Greenwich (but perhaps the kind of people who live here are not the right target for this place, more on that later). However, you will find all of the well-known high street brands here, such as Topshop, Karen Millen, and Debenhams and a few slightly lesser known such as Massimio Dutti and T.M Lewin. I also hear that there will be a Reiss opening here soon, and there's a pretty nice Mango store, which recently opened. Many of these shops have moved around from time to time, such as Topshop and H&M, into bigger and better premises (though I think New Look could benefit from this) so you can get a mini West End experience in some stores, and not feel like you're missing out.
There are also many restaurants in the town centre, some easily recognisable such as Pizza Express and Nandos, and some less so (Calligulette, Abbaye). There is something here to suit every budget, whether you have £10 or £100. Many are comfortably busy, but you may have to book for some of the more expensive ones. I find that because I have a limited budget, I tend to stick to the same places a lot of the time, so it's nice to venture out into surrounding areas such as Chislehurst or Beckenham. The other nightlife is somewhat limited, of course there are all the usual chain pubs and bars (O'neills, Walkabout) but I avoid the nightclubs like the plague. There is nowhere for younger people to go, without being surrounded by chavs or feeling slightly out of place with the older generation, and little variation for the types of music one might enjoy. There have also been some problems in the pubs here, which has led to shorter opening hours leaving you somewhat stranded at 11pm on some nights. I find that for more excitement I have to venture to Croydon or Central London, or just wait until I'm back at University. Otherwise, it's fine to have a quiet drink with friends around here.
So what else is there to do here? Of course there is a theatre, cinema and lesuire centre, but for something more exciting you may have to venture out of the town centre. There are Chislehurst Caves nearby, which I've never visited, but they might be a good place to take children. You can also easily get to activity centres in Downe, which offer abseiling and go karting.
Many areas in Bromley are quite nice, namely Chislehurst, Keston and Petts Wood, with huge houses and well-to do-middle-class people. There are some excellent schools here, with great facilities, but they all tend to be in one part of the borough, leaving the other part neglected with it's two 'rougher' schools, which I don't feel is fair. In my opinion the people may have money, but many still buy typical high-street clothing, and tend to look a bit similar with fake tans, highlighted hair and fake nails. There are some people who live, work, shop and go out in Bromley and seem to think it is the centre of the universe and anywhere else without a BR postcode is like a foreign country. This is not a bad thing, but it is perhaps not a place I would choose to live in. I know this is a silly reason, and I probably couldn't afford to live here anyway, but I'd prefer to live somewhere closer to central London that was filled with a bit more individuality and creativity. There are also many chavs, which litter around the Mecca that is JD Sports, but I wouldn't feel uncomfortable around them. I do always feel pretty safe around here, maybe it's just the invincibility of being young that makes me feel this way, but nothing has ever happened to me when going home at night or made me feel afraid.
I have enjoyed hanging out in Bromley with friends when I was younger (I was a bit grunge, and tended to congregate by the recycling bins), but I was ready to explore somewhere else like my University town of Nottingham, which is more of a compacted London (lots of shops, clubs, bars and attractions). Of course I feel nostalgic about this place, but I can see it becoming less and less of a place to visit throughout my life.