Sevenoaks is a characteristically Kentish town, only 25 minutes from London Bridge by train. Surrounded by spectacular countryside and numerous historic stately homes, it is a wonder to find such a peaceful pocket of the UK so tantalisingly close to the buzz of London.
Whether it’s the unique artwork and cobbled streets of The Shambles, or the lively markets on a Wednesday and Saturday, Sevenoaks is a charismatic town. Visitors will also find an impressive selection of cafes, restaurants and country pubs in the town itself.
From vineyards and lavender fields to medieval castles and manor houses, there is an impressive variety of things to do in Sevenoaks. Here are the top 20 places to see and activities to enjoy in and around this wonderful town.
1. Visit Knole Park & House
The biggest attraction of Sevenoaks is the iconic Knole Park and House, owned by the National Trust. Knole House is one of Britain’s largest private houses and most impressive stately homes. It is surrounded by 1,000 acres of medieval parkland, where an abundance of deer roam freely.
The house dates back to the 1450s and is steeped in history. It features one of the rarest collections of Stuart royal furniture, textiles, and paintings. The interiors of the house feel like a time capsule from the Tudor era. In fact, the surrounding parkland was a popular hunting ground of Henry VIII. Knole House famously has 365 rooms, 52 staircases, and seven courtyards.
From crisp walks in the winter, to sunshine and picnics in the summer months, visitors have plenty to enjoy and explore. Sneak a peek into the walled gardens, or take a tour of the stately house. Other facilities include a shop, visitor centre, toilets, and a cafe complete with a sunny rooftop terrace.
Fees (house and parkland):
- £10.00 for adults
- £5.00 for children
- £25.00 for family
- £5.00 for parking only
- Parkland is free to roam on foot
2. Wine tasting at The Mount Vineyard
A hidden gem located just outside Sevenoaks in Shoreham, The Mount is an award-winning vineyard. With wonderfully relaxing surroundings, it is perfect for a spot of alfresco wine tasting in the heart of the Kent countryside.
Discover the history of the vineyard and learn about English viticulture. All while sipping on top quality local wine and indulging in a delicious cheese board. It is the quintessential English wine tasting experience, all set in the grounds of a charming Victorian house.
Although you can’t beat a refreshing glass of bubbly in the sun, a visit to The Mount Vineyard not just for the summer months. In the winter, visitors can enjoy a more cosy experience next to the log burner in the inviting tasting room.
If a more educational wine tasting isn’t for you, then you can visit the bar and restaurant from Thursday to Sunday between midday and 6pm. Sip your way through The Mount Vineyard’s wine offering, along with cheese, charcuteries, or stone-baked pizzas.
- £30 per person
- £35 per person with a tour of the vineyard (available from May to September)
3. Discover Churchill’s home at Chartwell
Chartwell is a National Trust property and one of their most visited sites. Located in Westerham, it is famous for being the family home of Sir Winston Churchill. The house itself is a homage to Churchill, featuring the largest collection of his paintings, books, and treasures. A visit to the house is the perfect opportunity to get a unique insight into the home life of this iconic historical figure.
The house is surrounded by acres of delightful gardens, enchanting woodland, and pretty meadows. Discover the pastel coloured roses in Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden, and the stunning views across Kent from the Terrace Lawn. There are a number of fantastic walking trails at Chartwell, all of which take you through the beautiful Kent countryside.
Fees (house and gardens):
- £17.20 for adults
- £8.60 for children (5-17 years)
- £43.00 for family
Fees (garden only):
- £10.00 for adults
- £5.00 for children
- £25.00 for family
4. Explore Riverhill Himalyan Gardens
Just out the top of Sevenoaks town are the Riverhill Himalayan Gardens. Set on a hillside, the gardens offer breathtaking views across the Kent countryside. Visitors can wander over 12 acres of pretty gardens. Stroll along the Rose Walk and inhale the fresh scents of the flowers, or get lost in the maze.
It’s a truly unique place to explore, as it merges tradition with modern. Historical gardens are dotted with contemporary sculptures. While the perfectly manicured terraces of the Walled Gardens are in sharp contrast to the untamed nature of the wild Jungle. For a more peaceful visit, simply take a seat on one of the benches and take in the views.
The gardens are family-run and are well catered towards children. There is a sculpture trail to explore and even a resident yeti to spot! Numerous fun and creative events for all ages are hosted throughout the year too. Before you leave, grab a cuppa and piece of cake at the delightful cafe.
- £7.00 per person
- Free for under 4s
5. Biggin Hill Memorial Museum
The Biggin Hill Memorial Museum tells the stories of RAF Biggin Hill during the Second World War. It pays homage to the men and women who served there, remembering their courage and sacrifices. The memorial museum safeguards St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, which sits on the same site in Biggin Hill.
As the most important airfield of the Battle of Britain, due to its proximity to London and Europe, it is internationally recognised for its role in the war. The museum houses a number of nostalgic items, including letters, paintings, photographs, uniforms, and flying jackets, as well as a Browning machine gun. The visiting experience aims to bring the stories of the people who worked there to life.
Facilities include a cafe, toilets, shop, picnic area, and outdoor terrace.
- £8.50 for adults
- £4.50 for children
- Free for under 5s
6. Picnic at Vine Cricket Club
The Vine Cricket Club, also known as Sevenoaks Vine, has a rich heritage dating back to the early 18th century. It is one of the oldest cricket grounds in England and is located at the bottom of Sevenoaks town. The wide open green grounds are the perfect location for a relaxing picnic in the summer months on a warm sunny day.
There is a pretty garden at one end, which can be accessed via a wooden archway draped in purple wisteria. Take a seat on one of the benches overlooking colourful flower beds, and a quaint bridge over a fishpond. Just to add to the English charm, there’s also a traditional red phone box.
7. Visit Ightham Mote
Ightham Mote is a National Trust property located in Ivy Hatch near Sevenoaks. It is a medieval moated manor house and the oldest to survive in England, dating from the early 14th century. The house, garden, and estate, are set amongst the beautiful Kent countryside in a secluded valley.
A wonderfully preserved medieval property, it has been the home of an impressive variety of historical figures. From medieval knights and a courtier to Henry VIII, to sheriffs, squires, MPs, and an American businessman.
There are over 70 rooms in the house to explore, including the Great Hall, Tudor Chapel, Library, and an old chapel with its crypt. It houses a collection of 17th century furniture and tapestries, 16th century stained glass, and other intriguing ornaments and treasures.
The surrounding grounds are the perfect place for a charming walk. There are three marked walking trails around the estate, including a wheelchair route. Take the opportunity to spot various wildlife, particularly an abundance of pheasants. For those after a longer and more challenging walk, there are plenty of options, including the 8.5 mile walk between Ightham Mote and Knole Park.
- £8.00 for adults
- £4.00 for children
- £20.00 for family
- Free for under 5s
8. Relax at Chipstead Lake
Chipstead Lake is a picture-perfect area of natural beauty located in the charming Sevenoaks village of Chipstead. The lake is home to Chipstead Sailing Club, as well as being a popular spot for adventurous open-water swimmers.
The very popular Bricklayers Arms pub overlooks the lake. The village green in front of the pub is the perfect setting for a refreshing drink in the warmer months. With the lake as a backdrop, watch the sailing boats drift across the water while you sit back and relax.
9. Find exotic plants at Emmetts Garden
Located near the village of Ide Hill in the Sevenoaks district, Emmetts Garden is a small but enchanting hillside garden. Established in the late 19th century, it is still a family home to this day. It can be found at one of Kent’s highest points, which means it offers spectacular views over the Weald.
Emmetts Garden is a plant lover’s paradise, with a number of themed gardens to explore. It is home to various rare and exotic plants, as well as an impressive variety of shrub and tree species. There is something to see all year round, whether it’s the rose beds and blooming flowers in spring and summer, or the colourful foliage in the Autumn. Emmetts Garden also offers a great spot for a summer picnic, in the most beautiful surroundings.
Facilities include toilets and a delightful tea room.
- £8.00 for adults
- £4.00 for children
- £20.00 for family
- Free for National Trust members
10. Explore Lullingstone
Lullingstone Country Park is a beautiful natural space in Darenth Valley near the village of Eynsford. It’s the perfect spot for a digital detox. Enjoy long countryside walks through chalk grassland, ancient trees, and rolling hills. There are also amazing displays of orchids and other wildflowers in the spring and summer months. It is the epitome of Kent countryside.
A visit to Lullingstone is a family-friendly day out, with picnic spots, play areas, and activity trails. The visitor centre has a cafe and hosts a number of events and activities throughout the year. To the north of the site is Lullingstone Roman Villa, an English Heritage site which dates back to AD 100. Discover incredible mosaics and prints of the rare wall paintings.
Another popular attraction of the area is Lullingstone Castle & The World Collection of Plants. Lullingstone Castle is one of England’s oldest family estates and was often visited by Henry VIII and Queen Anne. The World Garden of Plants was created by Tom Hart Dyke, who famously endured a 9-month kidnap ordeal in the Colombian jungle. The garden features rare plants from all over the world and is an absolute must-visit for any horticultural enthusiasts.
Fees for the Roman Villa:
- £9.00 for adults
- £6.00 for children (5-17 years)
- £9.00 for concessions
- £25.80 for family
Fees for the Castle:
- £9.00 for adults
- £4.50 for children (3-16 years)
- £7.50 for senior citizens
- £30.00 for family
11. Visit Quebec House
Quebec House is a National Trust property located in Westerham near the pretty village green. It is famous for being the birthplace of General James Wolfe, victor of the epic battle of Quebec in 1759. The house was renamed in his honour.
Quebec House is a tudor building that has gone through several alterations. On the National Heritage List for England, it is a Grade I listed house that has a number of intriguing interiors features. The property is home to a fascinating collection of 17th and early 18th century furniture and paintings. It also features a number of personal artefacts associated with Canada and James Wolfe.
12. See the lavender at Castle Farm
Castle Farm is a family-run farm in Shoreham, just outside of Sevenoaks. In the summer months, the farm is home to beautiful Lavender fields, and the bright purple colour sweeps across the surrounding landscape. It’s an Instagrammers dream! You can smell the lavender before you see it – a truly wonderful scent that feels immediately relaxing and restorative.
The farm produces a range of fresh local produce, including beef, pumpkins, lavender oils, teas, honey, and their famous apple juice. Browse their collection of produce in the popular Hop Shop. Guided tours of the lavender fields are available, and start from the end of June.
13. See the birds of prey at Eagle Heights
The Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation is located in Eynsford, close to Lullingstone. It is home to one of the UK’s largest Bird of Prey centres, with around 100 raptors of over 50 species. Visitors can enjoy one of their daily demonstrations with these incredible birds.
It’s not just birds at the foundation. There is also an inviting wildlife sanctuary that’s home to meerkats, farm animals, reptiles, huskies, and more. Eagle Heights makes for a fantastic day out for families in Sevenoaks. Kids will love the various activities on offer.
There are a number of different unique experiences, suitable for all ages. These include the Husky Summer Camp and Alpaca Trekking. They also offer Photography Days for budding wildlife photographers.
- £9.95 for adults
- £5.95 for children (3-14 years)
- £7.95 for senior citizens (65+)
14. Unravel the history at Hever Castle
Hever Castle is a 13th century double-moated castle located in the village of Hever near Edenbridge. It is a very popular attraction in Sevenoaks, with 700 years of rich and varied history to discover. Hever Castle is famous for once being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
Hever was originally built as a medieval defensive castle, complete with a gatehouse and walled bailey. It houses a number of fine antiques, furniture, tapestries, and one of England’s most impressive Tudor painting collections. Visitors can also explore the castle’s award-winning gardens.
For those after more than just a day trip, Hever Castle is also home to a 28-room B&B. Stay in plush bedrooms complete with four-poster beds and marble bathrooms. Guests also benefit from out-of-hours access to the grounds.
Fees (garden tickets):
- £15.85 for adults
- £9.95 for children (5-17 years)
- £14.30 for concessions (60+ and students)
- Free for under 5s
15. Explore Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve
A restored former quarry, Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is now managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, including birds, insects, plants, fungi, and mammals. To date, over 2,000 species of wildlife have been identified in the reserve.
The landscape is made up of five lakes, various ponds, reedbed, and woodlands. There are a number of walking trails to explore, along with a visitor centre, bird hides, and a designated picnic area. The Jeffrey Harrison Visitor Centre hosts various family events throughout the year.
Facilities include a shop, cafe, and toilets. Note that dogs are not allowed (except guide dogs), and running/jogging is not permitted. It is located on Bradbourne Vale Road, with free entry and free parking. Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is a tranquil haven and an inviting retreat from the hustle and bustle of the town centre.
16. Discover Penshurst Place
A 14th century stately home, Penshurst Place is one of the oldest family-owned estates in England. It was once the property of King Henry VIII, and the home and gardens were used as a hunting lodge for the King.
Visitors can explore both the house and gardens. One of its most famous features is the medieval Baron’s Hall, which is one of the few surviving in England. Popular staterooms include The Solar, Queen Elizabeth Room, and Long Gallery.
The Manor House is surrounded by 11 acres of walled formal gardens. Perfect for a long stroll, walkers can discover various pockets of natural beauty. From fruit trees and water features to an abundance of tulips and roses. Understandably, Penshurst Place is a popular filming location for TV and film productions.
A great day out for families, there are plenty of attractions to keep kids entertained. These include an adventure playground, the Maize Maze, the Old Coach House, the Toy Museum, and a woodland trail.
Fee (house, gardens & grounds)
- £13.00 for adults
- £7.00 for children (5-15 years)
17. Visit Shoreham Aircraft Museum
The Shoreham Aircraft Museum is home to a number of exhibits displaying hundreds of aviation relics from crashed aircrafts. These artefacts come from a range of different aircraft, including Spitfire, Hurricane, and many others.
Alongside these artefacts, visitors can discover photographs, letters, documents, and eye-witness accounts. Together, they tell the stories of those who flew the aircrafts and fought in the Second World War. There is also an impressive collection of Home Front memorabilia, as well as flying helmets, uniforms and insignia.
Facilities include a tea room with a charming outdoor area, where you can enjoy classic cream tea and homemade cakes.
18. Stop by Chiddingstone Castle
Situated in the village of Chiddingstone near Edenbridge, Chiddingstone Castle is set in 35 acres of beautiful Kent countryside. It consists of a Grade II listed historic house with Tudor origins and 400 years of history.
Chiddingstone Castle houses a collection of art and antiquities from all over the globe. These include Ancient Egyptian, Japanese, Jacobite and Stuart, and Buddhist objects. All are from the collector Denys Eyre Bower, who wished to share his findings for future generations to enjoy. Visitors to the castle can explore the collection rooms, as well as the Great Hall, Library, Servant’s Hall, and the Victorian Kitchen.
The informal grounds surrounding the castle offer stunning views of the Greensand Ridge. Notable features of the gardens include an Ancient Egyptian-inspired grass maze, Japanese cherry blossom trees, and a Victorian Orangery.
Fees: No admission charge to the ground, but donations to the car park honesty box are welcomed.
19. Watch a production at Stag Theatre
Popular amongst the locals, The Stag Sevenoaks is an entertainment venue that’s home to a theatre and two small cinema screens. The Stag is located in the centre of Sevenoaks, and very much feels like the heart of the town. The venue is run by an independent charity.
The Stag hosts a variety of different events and performances throughout the year, for all kinds of audiences. From local theatre group productions and the popular Christmas pantomime, to comedy and music events.
20. Find the house where H.G. Wells lived
One for the literature fans. The house in which renowned writer H.G.Wells lived is situated on Eardley Road in Sevenoaks. He lived there while writing his most famous novel, The Time Machine. It is said that the landscape of Knole Park inspired the setting of future Earth in his novel. To find the house, seek out the blue plaque which marks it.
There really is an impressive variety of things to do in Sevenoaks. Perhaps you’re a local looking to discover more hidden gems in this wonderful town. Or maybe you are visiting from London on a day trip, seeking out some of the peace and tranquility that the Garden of England brings.
Have you visited Sevenoaks? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch on social media!