Ightham Mote in Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks District

The Sevenoaks District is another part of Kent that will not disappoint. Sevenoaks is the principal town of the district, which has a wealth of parks and gardens, a stately home with literary and royal links, and lots more. The town has an interesting range of shops, walking around its historic streets you will encounter lots of independent outlets, beautiful old buildings in this bustling but serene commuter town. It is easy to see why it is considered one of the best places to live in the country.

Stag Sevenoaks plays a central part in the town’s entertainment, comprising a cinema and theatre that showcase a range of local, national and international acts and events. While the seven oaks of which its name is derived are no longer after the ‘Great Storm’ in 1987 – only one is left. The Vine Gardens is also home to cricket, a café and a bandstand with its open space where it hosts many community events.

Plenty of beautiful grounds and spaces to explore nearby too. The Riverhill Himalayan Gardens has 12 acres to get lost in – literally in its tricky Himalayan Maze. At Great Comp Garden, explore seven acres of beautiful and rare plants that unfold and flower as the seasons’ move and change. Home to an Italian Garden, romantic ruins, enchanting woodland walks, it is a great day out for garden lovers. Reuthe’s The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks is described as a place for discovery and adventure in its 11 acre ancient woodland, with fairytrail forest hunt and alpaca treks, and so much more. Bradbourne Lakes, the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and Kemsing Down add to the host of outdoor spaces to experience. To find out more about the area, then visit the Sevenoaks Museum.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

Historic houses and places are rich in the district too. Knole House showcases 400 years of history at Kent’s last medieval deer park, which was originally built as an archbishop’s palace, and then passed through royalty to the Sackville family who still lives there today. Remains of a late 13th Century knight’s dwelling can be seen at Old Soar Manor. Go back even further in time with a trip to the Lullingstone Roman Villa, probably built around as early as AD 80s, reaching the height of luxury in the mid 4th Century when its striking mosaics were laid. Visitors can see the ruins, with galleries overlooking the excavated remains showcasing a collection of Roman artefacts.

Also in the area, Lullingstone Country Park is internationally important for its collection of ancient trees, with over 200 veteran oak, beech, ash, sweet chestnut and lots more, with some believed to be over 800 years old.  Lullingstone Castle overlooks a 15-acre lake, and the current Manor House and Gatehouse were built in 1497 and was regularly visited by Henry VIII and Queen Anne. It is home to the World Garden of Plants influenced by the owner’s nine month kidnap ordeal in the Columbian jungle, during which time the owner planned this world garden in his mind. Visitors can see the world’s rarest Gum Tree, the Dog Pooh plant, trees and plants from around the world, with wacky sculptures and trails in this extraordinary garden.

Sevenoaks District is another part of Kent that will not disappoint… It is easy to see why it is considered one of the best places to live in the country.

For animal adventures, Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation is home to the UK’s largest bird of prey centre with over 50 species, many of which are now breeding at the centre. It is also home to several other animals including Meerkats, African Servals, farm animals, reptiles, Huskies, and lots more at this wildlife conservation park.  

Also in the same field is The Hemsley Conservation Centre, a small zoo and wildlife centre that offers visitors the chance to see some of the world’s most endangered and least understood species with spectacular views over the North Downs as well as a play area and trails to explore.

There is also the beautiful Hever Castle. It was originally a medieval defensive castle built in 1270, with a gatehouse and walled bailey. In the 15th and 16th Centuries, it was home to one of the most powerful families in the country, the Boleyns. It was where Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, grew up. Visitors can explore and enjoy the gardens set in 125 acres, a maze, military museum, playground, miniature model house and boating lake. Its many events include archery, shield painting and jousting.

Activities are aplenty at Swanley Park – miniature train rides, inflatable fun, play areas with zip wire, roundabouts and swings as well as a climbing wall and a disabled-friendly swing. Or you can enjoy a JCB ride, racing cars, pedal cars, splash pool, pedalos, boating, canoeing, or relax and feed the ducks. A new addition is The Plunge, an inflatable waterslide and pool that is more than 4 metres tall, or if you want to try something higher then the Tree Trek may be for you. There is also an environmental area that is a haven for wildlife and fauna, including three wildflower areas.

There are lots more things to visit, including Quebec House, Toys Hill, Kent Fire Fighting Museum and Ightham Mote – the list goes on.

See Kent, Know Kent

Picture credits top to bottom: © The National Trust © The Riverhill Himalayan Gardens © Swanley Park.

Things To Do & See

To find out more, use the Things To Do filter for more ideas of attractions in the area. Use the What’s On filter for listings for events, or click on All for a complete list of things to do & see. Plus, don’t miss our posts in the Blog section, with our highlights of what’s on at various venues in the area in the forthcoming weeks. Plus lots more including festivals and carnival highlights as well as a dog friendly beach round up.
Great Outdoors at Swanley Park
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