Spotlight on Sevenoaks

PUBLISHED: 10:53 05 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:24 05 April 2013

Spotlight on Sevenoaks

Spotlight on Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks and its nearby villages form a richly rewarding area for visitors interested in history, country walks and culture

10 good reasons to visit Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks and its nearby villages form a richly rewarding area for visitors interested in history, country walks and culture- here are 10 good reasons to visitthe area

Antiques and Ightham

Brasted is a mecca for lovers of antiquities, with about a dozen antique shops, plus a single winding street packed with 18th-century houses, a compact village green and a row of Tudor cottages. Ightham is famous for Ightham Mote (01732 810378, TN15 0NT), the magnificent 1300s era moated manor house now owned by the National Trust. The villages centre has some lovely half-timbered and tile-hung houses and its where youll find the source of the River Bourne.

Stars and views

Otford, with its quirky listed duckpond, has the remains of an Archbishops Palace, and the Otford Solar System, a full-scale representation of the positions of our planets, constructed as a millennium project. Note also Otford Heritage Centre (01959 523140, TN4 5PG), an interesting museum which shows changing displays of Otford past and present. Ide Hill is on one of the highest points of a sandstone ridge, with a sloping village green and stunning views across Bough Beech reservoir.

Shop until you drop

Indulge your passion is the catchphrase coined by Bligh Meadow Shopping Centre, a delightful, upmarket shopping centre in the heart of Sevenoaks with more than 35 stores. As well as household names, there are also plenty of other smaller independents (note the irresistible Chocolate Shop on London Road), in addition to many appealing little cafs and restaurants.

Deer and tapestries

Knole House (01732 462100, TN13 1HU) is a wonderful stately home within a medieval deer park where sika and fallow deer roam free. There are 13 fine staterooms, furnished in 17th-century style, with tapestries and paintings by Van Dyke, Reynolds and Gainsborough, plus a shop, the Brewhouse tearoom and a childrens trail. On 2 April theres an Easter trail for children and walks here are a delight at al times of year.

Woodland and wildlife

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve (TN13 3DH) is an interesting nature reserve where water and land are in equal proportions. There are five lakes, woodlands, reed beds and ponds, plus plenty of unusual birds (lapwing, moorhen, coot, varieties of geese, siskin and more), as well as rare plants, fungi and other wildlife. The visitor centre has displays on the history of the site, its creation, habitats and wildlife, and theres a gift shop and tea bar.

Ancient stones

The southern end of Sevenoaks High Street was admired by architectural historian Nicklaus Pevsner, who said that here there were more worthwhile buildings than in almost any other street in the country. Among these gems are The Old Vicarage (1700s) The Chantry (1600s), The Manor House, and St Nicholas Church (dating from the 13th century). Theres also a very interesting row of old cottages in Six Bells Lane, plus Outrams, a fine 1400s building.

What a Shambles

The Shambles is a spacious enclosed yard with a decorative wall mural and three-dimensional sculpture set into the side of a building, reached by passing under an ancient timber beam across the road above a cobbled alleyway. The Vine cricket ground is the oldest one in Britain and in the adjoining Vine Gardens are two of the original 1902 oaks, plus the six replacement trees planted in 1987 after the hurricane damage.

Wine and dine

The many fine restaurants include: Gavin Gregg (01732 456373, TN13 1HX), The House on the Hill (01732 450120, TN13 1BH), The Vine (01732 469510, TN13 3TB), The Checkers (01732 450144, TN13 1LD), Loch Fyne Sevenoaks (01732 467140, TN13 1JY). Italian: Strada (01732 461706, TN13 1LL) and Valentina (01732 469349, TN13 1UX),

Let us entertain you

The Stag Community Arts Centre (01732 450175, TN13 1ZZ) houses The Stag Theatre (with the largest performance stage in the south east), The Plaza Suite, a performance venue for theatre gigs and events, and two cinemas, plus a theatre bar/daytime caf and The Stag Art Gallery Wall, where local artists can display their work. Shows this month include the musical Chess (10 April), a concert by the Sons of Cream (11 April) and comedy show Call me Crazy (20 April).

Himalayas in the Weald

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens (01732 459777, TN15 0RR) are 10 acres of spectacular landscape with amazing views out across the Weald. You can enjoy bluebell walks and the vista of rhododendrons, azaleas and primroses. This place is ideal for children, as theres a full programme of family fun activities, which include den building, spot the yeti, a Himalayan hedge maze, and little Everest viewpoint, an elevated vantage point from where you can see for 20 miles. Riverhill caf and a shop.

Getting there

Sevenoaks is between Orpington and Tunbridge Wells, about 19 miles from central London. Its on the A225, accessed by either the A25 or the A21, the latter leading to junction 5 of the M25. Excellent rail services to London.

Satnav postcode: TN13 1LQ

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