Sevenoaks is a fairly traditional market town, although these days, given its proximity to London, it is known largely as a commuter town.
Contrary to popular belief the town isn't named after the seven oak trees that stood alongside the cricket pitch (six of which were destroyed in the great storm of 1987); the town's name is instead derived from the Saxon word seouenaca, the name given to a small chapel in Knole Park around 800 AD.
The district of Sevenoaks consists of 29 villages and small towns including of Chiddingstone, Edenbridge and Hever.
Otford is a quintessential village, nestled in the Kent countryside. It was mentioned in the Domesday book and was the site of an old Saxon battle.
It is the perfect place to explore the Darenth Valley, especially if you like gentle country walks with plenty of rustic pubs along the way.
1 Sevenoaks station is fairly near the centre of town, to the north. It is on the Main Kent Coast Line, which runs from London Charing Cross to Hastings. London is 20–30 minutes away, depending on whether the train is direct or a stopper service. Trains also run on First Capital Connect to Bedford, Luton and St Albans.
2 Otford station is a 5–10 minute walk from the village centre. Be careful not to let train sales staff confuse the place with Oxford. There are regular trains from London Victoria as Otford lies on the main Ashford and Maidstone lines. The ticket office is often closed, but there is a side gate to let you onto the platform. There is a bike shed and a large carpark at the station, which gets busy during the week as many residents commute into London.
Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains or by telephoning +44 8457 484950 (premium number).
Sevenoaks is not a large town, and the centre can easily be travelled on foot. As with most other towns in England, the town is well serviced by buses and taxis.
Arriva is the bus company that operates in Sevenoaks. Timetables and fares are available on their website. Buy your ticket from the driver when you board the bus.
The main taxi rank is at the train station, although you can order a taxi by telephone to pick you up from anywhere.
For pre-booked journeys, try:
- 1 Knole House, TN15 0RP, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Mar-Oct: daily 11AM-5PM (bookshop, cafe and carpark open at 10AM); Nov-Feb: showrooms closed, cafe and shop remain open; park us open year-round from dawn to dusk. One of the great treasure houses of England, set in a magnificent deer park. Built in the 15th century and altered only in 1603, it has remained untouched since. Whole property: adult £15, child £7.50; gatehouse only: £5/2.50.
- 2 Sevenoaks Museum and Art Gallery, Buckhurst Lane, ☏ .
- 3 Lullingstone Roman Villa, Lullingstone Lane, Eynsford, DA4 0JA (8 miles north of Sevenoaks), ☏ . Adults £6.20, children £3.70, concessions £5.60.
- 4 Quebec House, Quebec Square, Westerham, TN16 1TD (6 miles west of Sevenoaks), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 5 Ightham Mote, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, TN15 0NT (6 miles east of Sevenoaks), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 6 Emmetts Garden, Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, TN14 6BA (5 miles west of Sevenoaks), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 7 Chartwell, Mapleton Road, Westerham, TN16 1PS (7 miles west of Sevenoaks), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Most parts daily 10AM-5PM, house opens at 11AM or 11:30AM; house rid closed Nov-Feb. Family home of Sir Winston Churchill, with magnificent views over the Weald of Kent. Car park (for countryside access) open daily 8AM-5PM. Adult £15.50, child £7.75; garden and studio only £9/£4.50.
- 8 Bough Beech reservoir. for walking, sailing and fishing. Includes a wildlife reserve
- 9 Hever Castle, Hever, near Edenbridge, ☏ . Mar: W-Su grounds 10:30AM-4:30PM, house noon-4:30PM (last entry 3PM); Apr-Oct: daily grounds 10:30AM-6PM, house noon-6PM (last entry 4:30PM); Nov-Feb: hour vary - consult website. A 13th-century castle once home to Anne Boleyn. Superb example of a Tudor manor house with plenty of history related to Henry VIII. Well maintained landscaped Italian style garden restored by William Waldorf Astor in the early 1900s. There are also special events from March to October. Castle & garden: adult £16.75, senior or student £14.75, child £9.40; garden only: adult £14.50, senior or student £12.75, child £8.90.
- 10 Chiddingstone Village. It is described as being the most perfect surviving example of a Tudor village in the United Kingdom. Much of the village is owned by The National Trust. The Chiding Stone from which the village derives its name is a large sandstone rock formation, and tradition asserts that the stone was used as a seat of judgement, mainly to remonstrate overbearing local wives.
- Church of St. Mary's, Chiddingstone. This parish church is a beautiful Grade II* listed sandstone church and is, perhaps, the fourth built on the site. In the churchyard is a mausoleum dating from 1736 built by Henry Streatfeild; leading down into the family vault beneath which has a through flow of air provided by vents in two false altar tombs. The church was almost destroyed by a lightning fire in 1624.
- 11 Chiddingstone Castle. Open to the public and houses Buddhist, Egyptian and Japanese artefact collections - the Japanese collection is exceptionally fine. The house dates back to the early 1500s, owned by the Streatfeild family and in the early 1800s was Gothicised by Henry Streatfeild with a new ashlar castellated exterior. The castle was sold to Lord Astor in 1938, and then served as a base for military forces during the Second World War. It then became Long Dene school until 1954 when the school was closed. The collections were assembled at startlingly low cost by Denys Eyre Bower, who bought the Castle with a bank loan, and was subsequently imprisoned on an absurd charge of attempting to murder his fiancee, who claimed Italian nobility but was in fact from Balham. The extraordinary story is told by Mary Eldridge in her book "Beyond Belief".
Otford is a waypoint on the North Downs Way, the Pilgrims Way and the Darenth Valley footpath. All of which are highly recommended, especially in summer. Paths get muddy in winter and after long periods of heavy rain.
There are a few antique shops in Otford.
- The Forge, Otford (main high stree). very good restaurant
- The Bull, Otford. specialising in seafood (and long waiting times). Don't be put off by this as you will always be told how long it will take for your food to arrive before you order. It is usually worth the wait.
- Ellenor's, Otford. Not open on Sundays. a local charitable cafe, serve amazing homemade ice-cream with new flavours every week.
- The Bull, Otford. once famed for its quiet, dimly lit atmosphere and good ales is now a Chef & Brewer chain pub/restaurant
- The Woodman, Otford. is generally full of a younger crowd of locals. It regularly shows sporting events on television.
- Rising Sun, Twitton. a really local pub, where you will be greeted by the local farmers, dogs and families enjoying everything from their own beer festival to a bit of folk singing.
- Premier Inn Sevenoaks, ☏ . Set a little outside the Town Centre, this newly built casual budget hotel is just 2-minute walk from Sevenoaks train station
- Hever Castle itself has rooms, B&B double from £180. Open Mar-Dec, no dogs.
|Routes through Sevenoaks|
|East London ← Dartford ←||anticlockwise clockwise||→ Redhill → West London|
|South London ← merges with (A/C) ←||NW SE||→ Tonbridge → Hastings|
|Dorking ← Redhill ←||W E||→ at Wrotham Heath → Maidstone|