In the spotlight: Sevenoaks
PUBLISHED: 13:19 05 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 September 2013
With a renowned literary festival this month and a new food fair, a great house at its heart and lots of independent shops, Sevenoaks is the quintessential English town
Sevenoaks is a very attractive country town, wonderfully convenient for London yet surrounded by lovely countryside and pretty villages – it’s even been voted the happiest town in the country.
It boasts some fine architecture and this month hosts the annual Sevenoaks Literary Festival, which reflects its long literary tradition: Vita Sackville West, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were all residents.
The town grew up around historic Knole and was named Seouenaca, the Saxon for its eponymous Seven Oaks. There’s even a recently published thriller set in Sevenoaks, Roadrage, by Martin Johnson (Odd Dog Press and Kindle).
What to do and see
Visit: Knole (01732 462100, TN15 0RP), set in a 1,000-acre deer park, it is a ‘calendar house,’ having 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and seven courtyards. The Museum and Art gallery/library (01732 453118, TN13 1LQ), Stag Community Arts Centre (cinema, theatre, art gallery) (01732 450175, TN13 1ZZ).
Scenery: Vine Cricket Ground and adjoining Vine Gardens, Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Bradbourne Lakes, Hollybush Recreation Ground.
Buildings: lovely row of cottages in Six Bells Lane, St Nicholas’s Church, in the High Street: the Old Vicarage, Old Market House, Chantry, Manor House.
Out of town: Ightham Mote (01732 810378, TN15 0NT), Riverhill House (01732 459777, TN15 0RR) and Emmetts Garden (01732 751509, TN14 6BA).
Eat out: The Vine Restaurant (01732 469510, TN13 3TB), Valentina (01732 469349, TN13 1UX), George and Dragon (01732 779109, TN13 2RW), House on the Hill (01732 450120, TN13 1BH), The Bricklayer’s Arms (01732 743424, TN13 2RZ), The Chequers (01732 450144, TN13 1LD).
Food Fair: The first Sevenoaks Food Fair takes place on 14 September, 11am-5pm at the Vine Gardens, featuring Kentish fare, talks, live music and a charity raffle. This free event is organised by Kentish Craft Fairs (www.kentishfoodfairs.co.uk) and Sevenoaks Town Partnership.
Shop at: Bligh’s Meadow Shopping centre (35-plus stores and a weekly market), lots of independents and quality chain stores and major supermarkets in the High Street.
One-bedroom and two-bedroom flats cost approx £161,000 and £260,000 respectively, a three-bedroom semi is around £360,000 and a four-bedroom detached house upwards of £593,000.