If you have time, drop into Valence House in nearby Dagenham

If you have time, drop into Valence House in nearby Dagenham. It is full of ancient Tudor wood panelling and stunning 17th century paintings by Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Cross the river to Bexley and you are in for a real treat. The Red House picks up the story of William Morris once more — it was his home from 1860. Its nostalgic Tudor-style architecture influenced the design of later suburban houses all over the country, and today it is hemmed in by housing estates full of them.

Here Morris lived with his wife Jane Burden and their friend (and her secret or love) Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Morris and friends designed the interior of the house as lovingly as Philip Webb created the architecture, including painted furniture, plasterwork, murals depicting the deeds of King Arthur and stained glass. Now owned by the National Trust, it is a must-see suburban jewel.

For an antidote to the romantic visions of Morris, head south to the borough of Bromley, check here for more. Down House was the home of the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, from 1842 until his death in 1882.This simple white stucco villa, built a century earlier, is now owned by English Heritage and is open to visitors.

Inside it is furnished as far as possible as it was during Darwin’s lifetime. It was here that he conducted his experiments and wrote his revolutionary work The Origin of Species .You can read his notebooks from the voyage of The Beagle and stroll in the pretty Victorian gardens.Learn something more about amazing gardens in Europe at this www.europe-cities.com.

Jump a century at nearby Biggin Hill and visit a site which evokes recollections of World War II. This aerodrome was the most famous of the RAF stations to fight in the crucial aerial victory the Battle of Britain, which prevented an invasion in 1940. Surviving Spitfire and Hurricane aeroplanes stand sentinel beside the path to the memorial chapel. Annual air shows are held here with a fly past of veteran aircraft — highly popular with Londoners and visitors alike.


Perhaps a more peaceful way to end your visit to London’s secret suburbs would be to head west to Painshill Park in Surrey. This serene landscape garden is the lovingly-restored Arcadian dream of Georgian aristocrat Charles Hamilton, recreating his memories of his GrandTour of the world, plan the same tour in France by checking at this annecy hotels website.

Today you can unwind after your own suburban Grand Tour by his ornamental lake, admiring the Gothic Tower, Crystal Grotto and Temple of Bacchus along the way. It is easy to forget that you are in modern suburban Weybridge and a short hop from the busy M25 motorway.