The ancient market town of Sevenoaks stands high on a greensand ridge, overlooking the Downs. The game of cricket has been popular here for hundreds of years and has been played on The Vyne since 1734.

London Rd, Sevenoaks © N Chadwick (CC2)

Traditionally the town was named after a group of oak trees that once grew on the local common in Saxon times. No trace of original trees remain but in 1955 new trees were replanted from nearby Knole Park. The land was acquired by Archbishop Bourchier in 15th century, on which he built a palace for the archbishops of Canterbury.

Sevenoaks is largely residential and forms a popular commuting town for London. Although, it still has plenty of character and charm, with half-timbered facades, steep gables and mellow brick buildings. Several heritage buildings remain in the town including the 13th/15th century Parish Church of St Nicholas, with its tall Perpendicular tower. Parts of which are believed to date from Anglo-Saxon times. The Chantry, Old House and further north the Red House remain fine examples of highbrow dwellings from the reigns of William and Queen Anne.

The classical 18th-c buildings of Sevenoaks School stand alongside superb red-brick Georgian properties. The school was established in the 15th-c and is one of the oldest and most famous boys' schools in the country. The current palladian building (1727) is based on a design by Lord Burlington.

At the southern end of the town is the entrance to Knole Park. Beyond which stands Knole House, one of the largest private houses in England, situated in a large deer park. Dating from the late 15th-c, it belonged to the Sackville family until the National Trust took it over in 1946. It was granted to the sackville family in 1603 by Elizabeth I and it was here in 1892 that Vita Sackville West was born.

Chartwell, a large country house five miles west of Sevenoaks, was Winston Churchill's home from 1922 until his death in 1965. Run by National Trust.

Map of Sevenoaks


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