10 reasons to visit Sevenoaks

PUBLISHED: 10:06 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:13 14 January 2020

Deer in snow at Knole (photo: National Trust Images/Jonathan Sarget)

Deer in snow at Knole (photo: National Trust Images/Jonathan Sarget)

Archant

Regularly voted one of Kent’s best places to live, and with easy access to London, let’s celebrate Sevenoaks

1. Shop and eat

The High Street is bucking the trend and continues to thrive, with a good mix of chain stores and independents. Browse Bligh's Meadow shopping centre and do explore the pedestrian side streets.

Look out for Danish Collection, Sevenoaks Bookshop, First Stage, The Chinaman, Vintage Attic, Oliver Bonas, Francis Jones Jewellers, The Clever Dresser and more. If you're looking to eat out then you'll be spoilt for choice too; try The Little Garden, Otto's Kitchen, Bill's, Marco, Ephesus, Hattusa and Nonna Cappucini's.

Spot the yeti at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens (photo: Manu Palomeque)Spot the yeti at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens (photo: Manu Palomeque)

2. Majestic Knole

Few towns can boast a medieval deer park at their heart, but just a short walk from the High Street is the National Trust's Knole Estate.

With a historic home originally built in the 1450s as an Archbishop's Palace, the park surrounding it had been enclosed as a hunting ground even earlier and became a favourite haunt of Henry VIII.

Having benefited from a huge restoration project, completed last year, there is now even more to see within the grand house, as well as 1,000 acres to explore during winter walks. Look out for the estate's famous fallow deer and Japanese sika deer.

Nearby, Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden are always worth a vist (photo: Manu Palomeque)Nearby, Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden are always worth a vist (photo: Manu Palomeque)

3. Popular theatre

Last year nearly 22,000 people flocked to The Stag's popular festive pantomime as it celebrated its 10th anniversary.

The town-centre theatre and arts centre is the perfect example of a thriving council-operated venue, having been taken over in 2008 after the private company running it went bankrupt.

Now the digital cinema, theatre and events venue, based in a 1930s former cinema, brings around £7m to the town's economy each year and puts on a wide range of shows and concerts for all the family.

There's still a chance to catch Aladdin until 5 January.

National Trust property Ightham Mote (photo: Manu Palomeque)National Trust property Ightham Mote (photo: Manu Palomeque)

4. Cricketing history

The Vine Cricket Ground is one of the oldest cricket venues in the world.

The land was given to the town in 1773 but it had already been in use for organised games for many years. In honour of the town's name, seven oak trees were planted on the northern edge in 1902 to mark the coronation of King Edward VII - although six were blown over during the Great Storm of 1987 and there have now been several replacements over the years.

The ground is now home to Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club.

5. Spot the yeti

Set on a hillside with fine views over the Weald of Kent, Riverhill Himalayan Gardens was once owned by Victorian plant hunter John Rogers. A lot of the gardens are as he originally planted them and it's from his interest in Himalayan species that the attraction takes its name.

In spring, the woodland areas burst into a carpet of bluebells, and in summer a programme of outdoor theatre events takes place in the formal walled garden. Kids can climb to the Little Everest viewpoint, build dens and spot the Riverhill 'yeti'.

6. Historic home

National Trust property Ightham Mote is a short drive from Sevenoaks and has 700 years' worth of stories to tell. The medieval moated manor was owned by a number of noble families, most famously the Selby family who lived there for nearly 300 years. The estate and its formal gardens are perfect for walks and there's a plan to restore the gardens and improve the area around the estate.

7. Unique wildlife

It runs 65 nature reserves across Kent, but Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is probably the jewel in Kent Wildlife Trust's crown. A 73-hectare site offering a diverse range of habitats, it is home to native mammals, birds and insects and has a pioneering mix of lakes, seasonal ponds and woodland. There are walking trails, bird hides, a visitor centre, café and picnic area.

8. View from a hill

Ide Hill is the highest village in Kent, so it's no surprise that the National Trust's Emmetts Garden offers some spectacular views. Perfect for a family walk, the six acres were originally laid out by Edwardian plantsman Frederic Lubbock. In the spring Emmetts is a riot of colour with its bluebell walks and in autumn it's one of the best places to catch the seasonal colours. There's a good café and shop and it's dog friendly.

9. Village people

Two nearby rural villages, Lullingstone and Eynsford, offer a wealth of attractions. Start with a walk at Lullingstone Country Park, 460 acres of woodland and meadow following the River Darenth. From here stop in at The Hop Shop at Castle Farm, famed for its lavender crops in the summer, and take in visits to Lullingstone Roman Villa and Lullingstone Castle and The World Garden. In Eynsford, you can find one of the UK's largest bird of prey centres, Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation.

10. Annual events

This busy community has several annual events of note. The Sevenoaks Summer Festival brings music, arts and entertainment to the town during a two-week celebration. Later in the year it's the Sevenoaks Literary Festival which puts the town in the spotlight.

More from Out & About

From its literary links to its cricketing history, this riverside town has plenty of surprises to discover

Read more

There may not be the usual crowds this summer, but we can still look ahead to our return to one of Kent’s favourite seaside destinations - Whitstable

Read more
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Picnic baskets at the ready because we have gathered 10 of the best places to enjoy a picnic in stunning rural Kent

Read more

As the world slows down, we turn our eyes to the skies in search of the best places to watch some celestial wonders this summer

Read more
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Margate is Thanet’s trendiest seaside town so we selected some things to do, see and eat when visiting

Read more

Here are 12 places that may have flown under your radar before but are well worth seeking out

Read more

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Take our quiz to see if you can decipher the town or place in Kent from the emojis

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Enjoy three of Kent’s best and most loved cycle rides which take in lots of the county’s beautiful coastlines

Read more

We look ahead to the end of lockdown and to a quiet seaside resort we can’t wait to visit again – Herne Bay

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life