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From:  Lewisham (TQ382758)
To:  Hastings (TQ816093)
Distance:  58.6 miles (94.3 km)
Meets:  A20, A205, M25, A25, A26, A28, A259
Highway Authorities

Highways England • Transport for London • East Sussex

Traditional Counties

Kent • Sussex

Route outline (key)
A21 Lewisham - Locksbottom
A21 Locksbottom - Badgers Mount
(M25) Badgers Mount - Chevening
A21 Chevening - Hastings

The A21 is the main arterial route out of London for traffic wishing to head to Hastings. Upgraded piecemeal over the years there are still large parts of it that are unimproved and it is nowhere near the quality of the M23/A23 route to nearby Brighton. .


Looking north at the A21 terminus in Lewisham

Section 1: Lewisham - Chevening

The A21 begins at a new roundabout with the A20 by Lewisham Station. It trundles down to Catford, where it gets tangled up with the South Circular. This one-way system is called the Catford Gyratory. The road then heads out through the increasingly leafy suburbs, and into Bromley. There's a new bit of dual carriageway spine road which bypasses the High Street - with traffic lights for the A222. This is called Kentish Way though it starts on the cutely named Tweedy Road. The dual carriageway ends at a set of lights with the B228 and the passes through Bromley Common, and the first bit of open space. After a couple of miles it reaches Farnborough Common, and the junction with the A232, called "The Fantail", which dumps traffic from Croydon onto the A21. The terminating A232 passes its primary status onto the A21. Having just come through miles of suburbs, Farnborough itself has a bypass, but is single carriageway. Then the A223 is met at a roundabout.

After another roundabout, the A21 deviates slightly from its original course, and runs north of the railway and Knockholt station rather than south - this is another minute bit of dual carriageway. At the next roundabout, with the A224 the A21 disappears, leading onto a spur of the M25. The spur leads to junction 4 of the M25, where, if traffic wishes to find the A21 again, it needs to head southbound on the main M25 to junction 5 at Chevening. Like the A264 the A21 gets to multiplex with a motorway.

A21 Motorway Spur, coming from the M25

Section 2: Chevening - Pembury

If you are using the M25 to get back onto the A21, as you are directed to do, you have to 'come off' at J5, the Chevening Interchange. Although to access the southbound A21 from the M25 you need only stay on the main carriageway - to continue on the M25 westbound you need to use the slip road as for M25 traffic this is a TOTSO. There's no access to the M26 eastbound. After the junction, the road is still classified as M25 up to the GSJ with the A25. Then it is back to the A21 classification and trunk road status is gained.

The Sevenoaks bypass is unadulterated two-lane grade-separated dual carriageway. There are some good views of the Weald, too. There is a junction with the old A21 - now the A225 and B245 (a rare sighting of a 3-digit 'B' road outside London) - where the Sevenoaks bypass becomes the Tonbridge bypass. The bypass a couple of interestingly shaped junctions with the A26, and multiplexes with it between them. The second of these junctions just about manages to be a trumpet. However, things are about to take a turn for the worse as the `fork' signs appear meaning that the dual carriageway is about to end. From here onwards the upgrades are very much piecemeal. The next section, Castle Hill, is due to be improved on-line from 2011/12 and the Draft Orders have been recently published. It's only a mile or so until you get to another roundabout and dual-carriageway bypass: this time for Pembury. There's a grade-separated junction with the A228/A264, then the bypass stops and chucks you back onto old road at Kipping's Cross.

A21 through Hurst Green

Section 3: Pembury - Hastings

This section can be a bit painful when traffic's heavy. After a few miles of winding single carriageway, the village of Lamberhurst has now been bypassed with a dual carriageway that panoramically descends and then climbs to pass under a `land bridge' for the Scotney Castle access road, which means that the access road now crosses the A21 on a bridge with trees, etc., on it, the intention being that you don't notice you're crossing a trunk road; from our viewpoint it's an unexpected tunnel. The road passes Bewl Water on single lane dual carriageway (D2 hatched down) and crosses the border into Sussex at Flimwell. There is a traffic light controlled junction in the middle of Flimwell where the A268 and B2087 are met. Now it is a single-carriageway sixteen and a half mile slog to Hastings.

The A229 is met at an uncontrolled junction just north of Hurst Green and this major trunk road now passes through another village, having another uncontrolled junction, this time with the A265. Continuing south, a roundabout is met on the outside of Robertsbridge, which manages to get a bypass, but only a single-carriageway one. After Robertsbridge there is a roundabout with the A2100 which traipses through Battle. The A21 doesn't head this way as it once did and instead forks east to saunter past nowhere in particular on its way to Hastings.

The other end of the A2100 and the A28 are met at another uncontrolled junction on the northern fringe of Hastings. This is about the point where the Hastings bypass would have met, had it ever been built. Instead the road winds its way into ever denser suburbs having roundabouts with the A2101 and A2102 (meaning it meets three roads in numerical order). How the road meets the A259 on Hastings seafront depends on which map you look at, but whichever way you do go it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. One version suggests a TOTSO at St. Margaret's Road to an uncontrolled T on the A259, which is probably most fitting at this point.


A21: 1923 Historic Route

Original route of the A21 through Battle

Old route of the A21 through Knockholt and Badger's Mount

The A21 originally started on the junction Lewisham High Street and Lee High Road. Today, it starts slightly west of here at a roundabout, running on the Lewisham bypass.

The original route at Farnborough was bypassed in the 1930s - the old route becoming the B2158.

At Knockholt, the A21 diverted south of its current line past the station and down London Road. This was originally a straight through route, but by 1927 the A224 Orpington Bypass joined it by Badger's Mount. It then ran down what's now the A224 to Sevenoaks, then what's now the A225 and B245 to Tonbridge.

The route of the old A21 through Tonbridge is now taken by the B245, B2260 where the A21 used to multiplex with the A26 along the High Street, and the A2014.

Pembury, Lamberhurst and Robertsbridge have all been bypassed.

From the A2100 junction it originally followed the A2100, B2159, and A2102. It was realigned to its current route to take over the B2091 and the southern end of the A229 in the 1950s.


Plans on the Highways Agency website suggest the whole route down to Robertsbridge will be upgraded to grade-separated dual carriageway. What will happen south of here is unclear.

Named Junctions

See A21 Named Junctions


Roads UK

JunctionsBromley Common Roundabout • Catford Gyratory • Chevening Interchange • Chipstead Interchange • Coopers Corner (Hurst Green) • Flimwell Crossroads • Forstal Farm Roundabout • Hewitts Roundabout • Johns Cross • Kippings Cross Roundabout • Loampit Vale • Middle Lodge Roundabout • Morleys Interchange • Northbridge Street Roundabout • Pembury Interchange • Pratts Bottom • Quarry Hill • Scotney Castle Roundabout • The Fantail • Vauxhall Interchange
ServicesChevening services
CrossingsRobertsbridge Bypass Bridge • Tonbridge Bypass Bridge
RoadsA21(M) • High Weald Country Tour
PlacesHastings • Lewisham • London • Orpington • Royal Tunbridge Wells • Sevenoaks • Tonbridge
MiscellaneousA21/Named Junctions
Related Pictures
View gallery (76)
- Coppermine - 19523.jpg2015-03-28 13.49.54.jpg6.jpgA21 Roadworks-5.jpgChevening Interchange.png
Other nearby roads
LewishamA20 • A212 • A2210 • A2211 • A2212 • A2212 (Lewisham) • A2213 • B208 • B209 • B210 • B212 • B2142 • B218 • B220 • B227 • B236 • CS5 • E2 (Old System) • E5 (Old System) • NCN21 • South Cross Route
BromleyA2212 • A2218 • A233 • A234 • B212 • B2212 • B228 • B230 • B251 • B265 • Ringway 2
SevenoaksA2028 • A21(M) • A224 • A225 • A25 • B2019 • B2020 • B2042 • B245 • M25 • M26 • Pilgrims Way
Royal Tunbridge WellsA228 • A26 • A263 • A264 • A267 • B2022 • B2023 • B2110 • B2169 • B2249 • High Weald Country Tour • POLO
HastingsA2100 • A2101 • A2102 • A229 • A259 • A2690 • A28 • B2092 • B2093 • B2094 • B2159 • B2172 • NCN2 • T37 (Britain)
The First 99           A1  •  A2  •  A3  •  A4  •  A5  •  A6  •  A7  •  A8  •  A9  • A10 • A11 • A12 • A13 • A14 • A15 • A16 • A17 • A18 • A19
A20 • A21 • A22 • A23 • A24 • A25 • A26 • A27 • A28 • A29 • A30 • A31 • A32 • A33 • A34 • A35 • A36 • A37 • A38 • A39
A40 • A41 • A42 • A43 • A44 • A45 • A46 • A47 • A48 • A49 • A50 • A51 • A52 • A53 • A54 • A55 • A56 • A57 • A58 • A59
A60 • A61 • A62 • A63 • A64 • A65 • A66 • A67 • A68 • A69 • A70 • A71 • A72 • A73 • A74 • A75 • A76 • A77 • A78 • A79
A80 • A81 • A82 • A83 • A84 • A85 • A86 • A87 • A88 • A89 • A90 • A91 • A92 • A93 • A94 • A95 • A96 • A97 • A98 • A99
Motorway sectionsA1(M): (South Mimms - Baldock • Alconbury - Peterborough • Doncaster Bypass • Darrington - Leeming • Barton - Birtley)
A3(M) • A8(M) Baillieston spur • A14(M) • A38(M) • A48(M) Cardiff spur • A57(M) • A58(M) • A64(M) • A66(M) • A74(M) • A92(M)
DefunctA1(M) Newcastle CME • A2(M) Medway Towns Bypass • A4(M) • A5(M) • A8(M) Renfrew bypass • A14 • A18(M) • A20(M) • A36(M)
A40(M): (Westway • Denham -Stokenchurch) • A41(M) • A42 • A46(M) • A48(M): (Port Talbot bypass • Morriston bypass) • A62(M) • A88 • A99
UnbuiltA2(M) Rochester Way Relief Road • A6(M): (Western route • Eastern route) • A34(M) • A48(M) Llantrisant Radial • A59(M) • A61(M)