10 good reasons to visit Westerham
PUBLISHED: 13:12 19 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:34 20 February 2013
What do Churchill, General Wolfe, Andy Pandy and the birth of the National Trust have in common? They are all part of Westerham's rich history
There are around 150 listed buildings in Westerham. Some, such as the 16th-century Grasshopper Inn, Quebec House, Squerryes Court, the parish church of St Marys with its 12th-century tower, plus the George & Dragon where a plaque commemorates General James Wolfe's last stay in December 1758, are open to the public.
But its worth looking out for the many other examples of architecture and features from the past, including Darenth, a 15th-century Wealden House, Pitts Cottage (now a restaurant) and the Long Pond, which was restored as the towns Millennium project.
Jane Austen at Squerryes
Squerryes Court, the beautiful 17th-century manor house in Westerham, is surrounded by 20 acres of attractive gardens which include a lake, restored parterres and an 18th-century dovecote. In 2009 the BBC used Squerryes for a production of Emma by Jane Austen. As a sequel to this, Squerryes is holding a Jane Austen in West Kent exhibition during the last May Bank Holiday and throughout June. The Sevenoaks Flower Guild will also be organising displays based on this exhibition in the Bank Holiday. The house and gardens reopen to the public in April.
Easter trail at Quebec House
There are two special events coming to Quebec House, the childhood home of General James Wolfe, who became famous for his victory in the Battle of Quebec (1759) in the coming months. On 4 and 5 April a childrens Easter trail will be set out and then on the 15, 16, 29 and 30 April visitors can enjoy a tour entitled Our Treasures when guides will give talks on the 18th-century life and past times at Quebec House.
Mothers and murders at Chartwell
March will be a busy month for Chartwell, the historic former home of Sir Winston Churchill. There will be a Mothering Sunday luncheon on the 14th in the Mulberry Room followed by a Murder Mystery Dinner on the 20th. Myra Lester, gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, returns on the 22nd to demonstrate floral arrangements for Easter and Spring, followed by a two-course luncheon. Plus there will be all the usual access to the house and gardens between March and October.
A walk into the past
Westerham is surrounded by beautiful countryside and woodland. There are several marked walks with great views to choose from, including the North Weald and North Downs way. These take in the many historic links and places in the area, including the statues of General Wolfe and Winston Churchill, Squerryes Court and Chartwell. The Town Partnership is currently updating details of local walks and these will shortly be available from outlets in the town and online.
From tee to green
Golfers can use Westerham as a base to visit several courses in the area, including Westerham Golf Club, Park Wood Golf Club and Limpsfield Chart Golf Club. Westerham Bowling Club is based at The King George V sports ground, also home to the local football club. Other recreational facilities include tennis courts and childrens playground equipment.
Nearly every shop in Westerham is an independent outlet and between them they offer a diverse range of goods and services. As well as the stores in the main High Street and Market Square, youll find others bordering The Green and more tucked away in courtyards and alleyways such as Fullers Hill.
Spoilt for choice
You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Westerham. There are around 20 places to choose from including tea rooms, sandwich bars, fish and chips, plus Indian, Chinese, Thai, French, Italian and traditional English food restaurants and grills. The three town pubs and the Kings Arms Hotel also have tasty menus or you can treat yourself to a good old-fashioned pint. The former Westerham Brewery has also been re-established in a new location close to the town and is again producing its own brews.
Film buffs are well catered for thanks to The Fleapit Cinema Club. It screens classic films at Westerham Hall in Quebec Avenue on Friday evenings (Sep-Apr). There are also some Sunday matinees. Movies for February include John Huston's version of Moulin Rouge (5 Feb); The Godfather (14 Feb); and North by North West (19 Feb). There is an annual membership fee of 35 (45 for families, and 25 for senior citizens and students), but guests can be signed in for 3.50.
All you need is love
With Valentines Day approaching, there is romance in the air and all the restaurants in Westerham are preparing to offer couples a special meal to remember. The Kings Arms in Market Square is also offering special overnight packages.