Sevenoaks is the principal town of the district, with a wealth of parks and gardens, a stately home with literary and royal links, and lots more.
The Sevenoaks District is another part of Kent that will not disappoint. Sevenoaks is the principal town of the district, and walking around its historic streets you will encounter lots of independent outlets, and 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. Other areas of interest include Westerham, Swanley, and Eynsford.
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 from which its name is derived are no longer due to the Great Storm in 1987. Only one oak is left in the Vine Gardens, which is also home to many community events.
Plenty of beautiful grounds and spaces to explore nearby too. Highlights include the Riverhill Himalayan Gardens which 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, and 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 a fairytrail forest hunt and alpaca treks, and so much more. Bradbourne Lakes, the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, and Kemsing Down add to the many outdoor spaces to experience.
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 and 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, some of which are believed to be over 800 years old. Lullingstone Castle overlooks a 15-acre lake, regularly visited by Henry VIII and Queen Anne. It is home to the World Garden of Plants where visitors can see the world’s rarest Gum Tree, the Dog Pooh plant, and 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 the residence of other animals including Meerkats, African servals, farm animals, reptiles, huskies, and lotsmore at this wildlife conservation park. The Hemsley Conservation Centre is 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, a military museum, a playground, a miniature model house and a boating lake. Its many events include archery, workshops and jousting spectaculars.
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. Plus, splash pool, pedalos, boating, canoeing, or you can simply relax feeding the ducks.
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Picture credits top to bottom: © The National Trust © The Riverhill Himalayan Gardens © Swanley Park.