Open House Festival

High Elms History tour


Sir John Lubbock Third, 1840

BEECHE Centre High Elms Country Park, Shire Lane, Orpington, BR6 7JH

Discover the fascinating site that was home of John Lubbock and frequently visited by his neighbour Charles Darwin. See remains of the manor house's terraced gardens, stable yard, walled garden and eco-friendly BEECHE education centre.

Getting there





Additional travel info

Car parking facilities available at High Elms and Cuckoo Wood car park (walking route available via bridleway)



Accessibility notes

Some paths may be muddy, please wear comfortable walking shoes or dress for any changes in weather



A site rich with history inhabited since Medieval times- we will tour the beautiful walled garden and remaining garden terraces created by Sir John Lubbock which surrounded his 19th century mansion (which sadly burnt down in 1967). The gardens and pond were used for scientific study and observation, inspiring both Lubbock and his neighbour, one Charles Darwin. Able to visit are Lubbock's designed Grotto" and memorial seat from 1913, and the remaining Victorian stable yard can also be seen.

Sustainable building & nature

The new BEECHE centre (Bromley Environmental Education at High Elms) was completed in 2008 by sustainable architect firm Architype. The park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the education and visitor centre aims to continue this study of biodiversity, and sustainability, with walls insulated with hay bales and a sedum living roof which can be seen from a viewing platform.

Online presence

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