The towns which used to be in Kent but people forget are now part of Greater London

St Mary the Virgin church in Bexley - a wonderful spire decorates this old building and is on the last part of the first section of the London Loop. Lovely spire of the church, a big old wooden gate, a red brick pavement the other side and a nice town street
St Mary the Virgin church in Bexley - the town used to be in Kent but it is now part of Greater London -Credit:Getty Images/Moment RF/Ray Wise

These towns might once have been part of Kent but due to a seismic administrative shake-up, they moved within Greater London. But it hasn't necessarily followed people living in those areas have let go of the notion they "live in Kent".

Take Bexleyheath for example, as this week KentLive covered the town which is in the London borough of Bexley as it has a great family park. In fact, it was voted the best park in London a few years ago, if proof were needed it was no longer in Kent.

But there was indignation from some online, with one simply writing "Near Kent? Bexleyheath is in Kent!" It's easy though to understand why people get confused, as the seemingly elastic border of south east London has absorbed many towns once classes as in the "Garden of England".

It was the creation of Greater London, through the London Government Act which came into force in 1965, which shook up the area. The old County of London expanded to 32 London boroughs and the City of London, a population of more than 3.2 million mushroomed to more than 7 million.

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Today, Kent is made up of 12 district authority areas and its population is around 1,593,200. It is 1,368 square miles, with a whopping 350 miles of coastland.

Between 2012 and 2022, Kent's population has surged by 7.8 per cent, that is higher than the average for the South East at 7.4 per cent, and England, at 6.7 per cent.

From 2022 until 2040, Kent's population is expected to rise by 18.2 per cent. Here are the Kent towns which have been sucked into London - some of which you have been glad to see the back of, while others you might feel nostalgia for.

Bromley town centre
Bromley town centre -Credit:MyLondon - Grahame Larter

London Borough of Bexley


After the creation of Greater London in 1965, Erith became part of the London Borough of Bexley. During the demolition process, many of the original Victorian buildings were lost, but some of the original townscape remains – clearly clinging on to every last bit of Kentish remnant.


Known for the Belvedere explosion of 1864, Belvedere is also one of the many districts added to London..


Nine miles to the east of Greenhithe, Bexleyheath was also one of the towns which was scooped up by London in the act and placed in the Borough of Bexley.

Stunning Danson Park in London Borough of Bexley
Stunning Danson Park at Bexleyheath in London Borough of Bexley -Credit:Brian T Photography/Getty Images


The ancient district allegedly had its name derived from Cetecopp, meaning “seat shaped or flat-topped hill.” Sidcup parish formed the Sidcup Urban District of Kent from 1908. Formerly known as Foots Cray, the urban town was renamed Sidcup.

Thamesmead East

Its name derived from the location of the district, Thamesmead was once in Kent is now classed as south east London – it's even got the SE postcode to prove it.


More than 200 years ago, Welling was largely covered in woodland, and you had to be eagle-eyed, as it was the perfect landscape for highwaymen, who were robbers on horses.

West Heath

Served by three Transport for London bus services.

Hand-drawn vector drawing of a Map of the Boroughs Of London. Black-and-White sketch on a transparent background (.eps-file). Included files are EPS (v10) and Hi-Res JPG. It is black and white with informal, fun writing
Hand-drawn map of the Boroughs Of London -Credit:Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images/Frank Ramspott

London Borough of Bromley


It's one of the largest towns to be absorbed into the London Metropolitan area. It's home to the author of The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells. Previous residents include Charles Darwin, David Bowie and children's author Enid Blyton.

But the town hasn't exactly been showered with praise by its former residents. Called a "morbid sprawl of population," by Wells, and a "lobotomy made out of bricks," by Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle.

Biggin Hill

Biggin Hill was an ancient parish in Kent but became a municipal borough in 1935. But by 1965, London County Council was replaced by Greater London Council and Biggin Hill became part of south London.


Historically part of Kent, Beckenham was a tiny village, with the vast majority of its land being rural. Timber merchant John Cator and his family began to build villas which resulted in a rapid increase in population between 1850 and 1900, from just 2,000 to 26,000.


Chelsfield was delegated to the London Borough of Bromley in 1965. Thatched rooves and country cottages make this quaint town a bit of a gem.


Most famous for its cave system, Chislehurst was actually once a Kent town. The Chislehurst civil parish formed an urban district of Kent from 1894 to 1934, before becoming part of the Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District, which was then split in 1065 between the boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.

It's small with large patches of woodland and feels much more like a village than many of South East London's larger towns. Chislehurst is probably best known for its huge cave system, used as a shelter during Second World War bombing raids.

Though no longer part of Kent, having been absorbed during the expansion of the city in 1965, like so many other towns, it still feels like a slice of the Kent countryside in London's busy sprawl.

Petts Wood

Most of Petts Wood was built in the early 20th century as a high quality estate in an extremely rural setting, just a short trip away from the big city.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich


Home to some of the grandest houses in London, Greenwich formed part of Kent since 1889, when the County of London was established. According to Britannica, the present borough was established in 1965 by the amalgamation of the former metropolitan boroughs of Greenwich and Woolwich, excluding a small area north of the Thames.

It has the O2, Greenwich Observatory, the Cutty Sark and, most famously, the Meridian line around which global time is based, the now-tourist centre was once part of Kent, having first been settled by humans as long ago as the Bronze Age.

Queen's House in Greenwich is a magnificent setting to get your skates on
Chislehurst Caves

Abbey Wood

This neighbourhood still lies in the historic county of Kent. CrossRail’s Elizabeth Line means customers travelling from Reading and Heathrow are now able to travel east all the way to Abbey Wood without needing to change at Paddington mainline station.


After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror gifted Plumstead to his brother, of whom he also titled Earl of Kent. This district jumped on the London bandwagon in the mid 19th century.

Shooters Hill

Shooters Hill is the highest point of south London, reaching to an astonishing 432ft – making for incredible views across London and Kent. According to the Royal Borough of Greenwich's 'history of the local areas: "The road through the area, however, would have been the low point for any traveller, as it was here that highwaymen took advantage of the dark woods for their dark deeds."

"The name 'Shooters Hill', first recorded in 1226, may have been coined as a result of such criminal associations."


Woolwich became part of the London metropolitan area in the mid-19th century, though it was officially still in Kent at the time. A vital part of the First World War, the Royal Arsenal Munitions Factory employed thousands of women to work on the assembly line.

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