Aerial Map of Selsdon.  (Gardens, golf courses, woodland, fields etc!)


Selsdon – a short introduction


The boundaries of Selsdon are shown on the membership map. Selsdon is a 'greenbelt' suburb in Surrey, South East England on the southern border of the London Borough of Croydon. 

Selsdon has great transport links, with fast and easy access to London & the South Coast, and is close to many local and national attractions. Residents typically have a high life expectancy and a low crime rate.

Selsdon 'village' was developed from farmland into housing from the 1920’s, and Selsdon today has a library, community centre, churches, a high street with a post office, shops and restaurants, the ‘Village Club’, two pubs, schools (one of which offers a sports club with 25m swimming pool), a tennis club, three supermarkets, a hotel spa/country club, as well as many well run, community focused, clubs and voluntary groups. Local Activities

Our resident association has been active for nearly a century. One of the oldest in the UK. Most visible for delivering the fantastic display of 'cross street' Christmas lights - all funded by voluntary donations each year. Also providing the highly valued 'Selsdon Gazette' which is a free, quality, monthly community magazine produced by the association and delivered direct to over 4,000 households. On the 'Selsdon Triangle', (the green area on the central traffic junction), the SRA commissioned a metalwork Tree sculpture clock and decorative railings by blacksmith and sculptor, Jon Mills. 

Selsdon has two well maintained woods, (Littleheath and Selsdon), and adjoins Sanderstead Plantation, Bramley Bank and King's Wood, so hundreds of acres of public woodland to explore, as well as having playground and recreation areas. It is also situated in walking distance of two well established golf courses (Croham Hurst, Farleigh) and a short drive from four others (Addington Court, The Addington, Purley Downs and Shirley Park). 

All this green space makes Selsdon a wildlife haven. Foxes, badgers, birds, bluebells, even deer, are a common sight. Selsdon is, at its highest points (such as in Littleheath Woods), more than 166 metres above sea level meaning that Selsdon is well placed for 'fresh air and fine vistas'. 

Running through the two woods are two well known walking routes 'The London Loop (section 4)' and 'The Vanguard Way (section 1)'The south of Croydon holds internationally important habitat of Chalk grassland/downland (see rare butterflies and orchids). Selsdon and the surrounding hills drain through aquifers to the River Wandle (which is a rare chalk stream - one of only 200 in the world) that leads to the Thames.  It is also close to Kent (known as the Garden of England) and the Surrey Hills AONB (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Popular with walkers and cyclists alike.

For suggested local walks and bike rides, please see our 'Places to walk and visit' page.

Selsdon - Some notable connections

For a more detailed history of Selsdon, please see our History page.

In summary…

The earliest written records, dating to the Anglo Saxon period, show that Selsdon was owned and used as a manor, farm and sometime hunting venue by the monarchy or their high ranking favourites and for a long time loaned/leased to Religious Orders such as the Benedictines. (Croydon was the summer home of the powerful Archbishops of Canterbury for over 500 hundred years.)

The most notable, more recent, resident of Selsdon was George Smith (30 April 1765 – 26 December 1836) MP, banker and director of the infamous East India Company, who bought the freehold in 1810. He transformed the Selsdon farm into a manor house, ‘Selsdon Park’. Smith was a great-great-grandfather (through George's grand-daughter Frances Bowes-Lyon, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne) of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (wife to King George VI), and therefore also ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. His memorial is in All Saints Church, Sanderstead. Following his family’s residence in Selsdon there were two further owners until 1925, when the last ‘Squire’ died and the manor was sold for development. The house to become a hotel and golf course (golf course closed and 'rewilded' in 2023) and from 1926 onwards the surrounding farmland began to be developed into what was then known as ‘Selsdon Garden Village’.

Sir Julian Huxley (22/06/1887-14/02/1975), Biologist and writer, an early advocate of conservation and an influential populariser of science. His connection to Selsdon lies in his public support of the 10 year campaign to create a ‘bird sanctuary’ and save Selsdon Wood from housing development in the 1920/30’s. He was a keen bird watcher and was very influential in shaping the modern RSPB. He went on to become the first Director-General of UNESCO (1946) and a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund. He also has a pub in Selsdon named in his honour!

In 1940 General de Gaulle fled France to organise & lead the Free French Army, and he first lodged at the Selsdon Park Hotel, and then with a French family (the Boissiers) in Arundel Avenue. Some of the first French evacuees from Normandy were also billeted in the Selsdon area.

In the early 1970’s Selsdon hotel was used as the meeting place for Ted Heath and a like minded group where they wrote their Conservative manifesto promoting a free market economy. They published under the name ‘The Selsdon Group’ and those choosing to follow these tenets continue the group today though none, then or now, were actually associated with the area! There is also a Lord Selsdon who, again, is not actually linked to the area, although his grandfather was once a South Croydon MP.

There are several famous alumni of Selsdon based Croydon High School including world renowned Cellist Jacqueline du Pré OBE (26/10/1945 – 19/10/1987) and more recently the broadcasters and TV personalities, Anneka Rice and Susanna Reid (coincidentally both of whom also appeared on BBC’s 'Strictly Come Dancing' partnered by dancer Kevin Clifton!).

Singer/Songwriter Kirsty MacColl (10/10/59 - 18/12/00), perhaps best known for singing on perennial Christmas favourite song 'Fairytale of New York',  grew up in Selsdon, attending local schools. Her mother, Jean Newlove (15/05/23 - 16/05/17) was a dancer & choreographer, and commissioned their contemporary home to be built by architect Eric Mayne in 1965. Premiership footballer Wilfried Zaha was a pupil at Selsdon High school (Quest Academy), the same school where former England football team manager Roy Hodgson taught PE and English in 1975. Supermodel Kate Moss lived on the borders of Selsdon during her childhood (from 1974 to circa 1988).

Selsdon Transport links

Bus services

Being part of a London borough means free bus passes for elderly residents. It also means that 'Oyster' travel cards can be used providing discounted travel across London.

Trains

Selsdon has direct access via frequent running, short bus journeys to East Croydon (one of the best connected railway stations in the UK!), West Croydon, South Croydon, Sanderstead and Purley Oaks railway stations.  Journey time into central London from these stations is approximately 30 minutes. These also provide direct trains to Gatwick Airport and Luton Airport and links to others.

Tram

Tramlink which runs through Croydon, is a short bus ride away at Addington Village interchange for transport East - West through South London between New Addington, or Beckenham and Wimbledon.

Car

Within the M25 area, and the ULEZ zone, Selsdon is approximately 6 miles or 20 minutes drive from the motorway, and 11 miles(18 km) from central London. The journey into London can take from 40 minutes upwards to drive, depending on the time of day. A journey to Brighton would take 1 hour. NT Chartwell 20 minutes. 

Airports

Gatwick Airport to the South is the nearest major airport to Selsdon 16 miles (26 km) drive, via the M25 and M23, or by train direct via East Croydon, South Croydon or Purley stations.

Heathrow Airport is 34 miles (56 km) by road via the M25, or can be reached by various transport links through central London. The SL7 bus route runs from West & East Croydon to Heathrow via Sutton & Kingston

Luton Airport is easily reached by direct train from East Croydon. 

Biggin Hill airport is a small international airport (business/hobby aviation) a short drive away (12 minutes).