Historic Houses & Gardens Ride

16/09/2017 @ 09:00
Priory Gardens, Orpington
Priory Gardens
Church Hill, Orpington BR6 0HH
Richard / Tracey

A ride with a difference

25 Lovely Leisurely Miles

Open House London is the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design.

Bromley Cyclists, in association with Friends of Orpington Priory Gardens and arts organisation V22, invite you on a leisurely cycle tour visiting the sites of three Grade II/II* buildings in V22’s South-East London portfolio that are open to the public during Open House London weekend, 16-17 September 2017.


  • Our Open House tour starts in Priory Gardens, Orpington, the Arts & Crafts style gardens created by Cecil and Lilian Hughes 1919-1941, the last private owners of The Priory, Orpington (open Sun).
  • Leaving Orpington our route takes us through Jubilee Country Park to Bromley and on via a section of the Waterlink Way to Louise House, Forest Hill, (open Sat) where we will stop for a while, with the option to join a tour of the house.
  • Onward via another section of the Waterlink Way through Ladywell Fields to Manor House Library, Lee, (open Sat ) with time to visit the house, join an optional tour, and see the Manor House Gardens Ice House.
  • Our return journey follows a section of the Cray Riverway to Orpington and completes the circular tour.

The circular tour will be a led ride along quieter streets, through parks and green spaces, incorporating London’s network of cycle routes where possible.

Please note that we have a limited number of places on this tour, and it is a led ride whereby all riders are responsible for their own safety. We recommend that you are insured through one of the cycling organisations, such as London Cycling Campaign.

Distance: 25 miles approx.


Our cycle route includes:

Priory Gardens, Orpington
Public Park: Sat 16 & Sun 17 Sep, 9am-8pm
Wander around Grade II listed Priory Gardens before or after our tour – 14 acres of landscaped gardens created by Cecil and Lilian Hughes in Arts and Crafts and Italianate styles, a park and ponds where the River Cray rises.

The Priory, Orpington
Open House: Sun 17 Sep, 10am-5pm 
Grade II* listed building dating back to 1270, a rare exampte of a medieval rectory under the auspices of Christ Church Priory, Canterbury, until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Subsequently leased by the Crown to the Hart Dyke family of neighbouring Lullingstone, the first of a series of owners until Cecil and Lilian Hughes in 1919.
Adjoining modernist former public library. Architect: John Seely and Paul Paget, 1961.

Jubilee Country Park, Petts Wood 
Public Park: Sat 16 & Sun 17 Sep, 9am-8pm
Beautiful local nature reserve, with Bishop’s hunting ground, farmland, golf course. and WWII Heavy Anti-Aircraft Gun Site.

Waterlink Way
Cycle Path
The Waterlink Way is an established part of the National Cycle Network, connecting a number of parks and green spaces in South East London while following the Pool and Ravensbourne Rivers.

Louise House, Forest Hill 
Open House: Sat 16 Sep, 10am-5pm + hourly tour
Grade II listed purpose-built former industrial school within a setting of municipal buildings and a modern newly created garden. Architect: Thomas W Aldwinckle, 1891.

Ladywell Fields, 
Public Park: 24hrs
A river and park restoration project 10 years on. River channels, backwaters, pools and riffles, improved habitats within the river corridor along with improved access and educational benefits.

Manor House Library, Lee 
Open House: Sat 16 Sep, 10am-5pm + hourly tour
Grade II listed classical design with 5-bay facade, 4-column portico, and two Adam-style plaster-work ceilings on the ground floor. Now a library with restored fixtures and fittings illustrating the elegance of the original design. Architect: Richard Jupp, 1771. 

Manor House Gardens Ice House, Lee
Open House: Sat 16 & Sun 17 Sep, 12pm-5pm
Grade II listed ice well and underground chambers in Manor House Gardens park, which provided ice for nearby Manor House.

Cray Riverway
Footpath with shared-use sections 
The Cray Riverway follows the River Cray from the ponds where it rises in Priory Gardens, Orpington, for 13.5 miles to the River Thames.

Please check you bike is roadworthy before joining the tour, and bring with you: spare tubes, tools to get your wheels and tyres off, a drink, snack, and a sense of fun.

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