With its clapboard and half-timbered pubs, an affluent high street, and acres upon acres of woodland and open space, Chislehurst feels more like a high-end market town than an outer suburb of south-east London.
But with journeys to the capital possible in less than half an hour it enjoys a swifter commute than many other destinations in Zone 4. Little wonder that locals boast of enjoying the best of both worlds.
Affordable housing in this neck of the woods is rare, but housing association L&Q has just released 37 one- and two-bedroom flats.
Prices at Ravensbourne Place are appealing. Most of the flats are two-bedroom and a 30 per cent share starts at £81,000. There is also a one-bedroom bungalow at £70,500 for a 30 per cent share. The monthly service charge for the flats ranges from £120 to £140 (lqgroup.org.uk).
Do the maths
* For a two-bedroom apartment with a full price of £270,000 a 30 per cent share will cost £81,000.
* A 10 per cent deposit will be £8,100.
* The monthly rent will be £433. Monthly mortgage costs are likely to come in at about £410 (for a 25-year repayment mortgage at 4.5 per cent).
* Monthly service charge is £120. Total monthly cost (approximately) is £960.
"The big plus point in its favour is that there is not a lot of shared ownership in this area, and it is a lovely part of the country with a really village-type feel," said Nick Lieb, marketing co-ordinator at L&Q. "You are not only on the doorstep of some lovely country but you can be in London really fast."
The nearest station to the development is Elmstead Woods, and trains to either Charing Cross or Cannon Street take just under 30 minutes. An annual season ticket costs £1,244.
The development is a mile-and-a-half bus ride or five-minute drive from Chislehurst town centre (unusually the flats all come with their own parking space) and the site is handy for driving to Gatwick, Bluewater, the south coast and the M25. There are plenty of good middle- to upper-range shops and restaurants on the High Street and Royal Parade, and some very pleasant traditional-style pubs.
The local schools are excellent — Edgebury Primary is "outstanding" according to Ofsted and, for seniors, Bullers Wood is "good" with some outstanding features. There is also an outpost of the famous Italia Conti stage school in town, which offers weekend arts training (singer Pixie Lott is one of the alumni). And it certainly passes the green space test with a common, ancient woodlands, Scadbury Park nature reserve and golf, tennis and cricket clubs locally.
The quirkiest local attraction is the little-known and rather spooky Chislehurst Caves. The 22 miles of tunnels were originally flint and chalk mines but were used as air raid shelters during the Second World War. The caves, which are open to visitors, were a popular venue for music gigs in the Sixties and Seventies. David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Who all played there. They have also been used as a film location for Doctor Who.
Of course all property purchases involve compromise and the low-rise, red-brick blocks of Ravensbourne Place, part of a larger Taylor Wimpey development, are not going to win any architectural awards. But, bland exteriors aside, the flats are good quality and come with fully fitted kitchens and fitted wardrobes, which will help cut moving costs.