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Gorgeous stately homes, irresistible gardens, Roman remains and a picturesque landscape.
Sevenoaks became part of the modern communications network when one of the earlier turnpikes was opened in the 18th century; the railway was relatively late in reaching it. It has a large commuting population although a nearby defence installation is a large employer of labour.

Whether you are looking for relaxation and the chance to unwind or for something more active including great hand's on fun for the younger family members then Kent is the place for you. With many award winning attractions featured together with the best known places to visit and many smaller less well known attractions.
Choose from enchanting gardens, historic houses, mysterious castles, cathedrals and country churches, fascinating museums, animal parks, steam trains, amazing maritime heritage and much more.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Shopping in Sevenoaks
There are hundreds of independent retailers situated in the Kent, offering an array of worldwide brands to locally sourced products. Each and every one of them offer a customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Sevenoaks Directory
Knole
Approached through a long deerpark drive. Begun in late 15th century, the house was taken over by Henry VIII. Great hall with musician's gallery, four poster beds, painted staircases. Highly recommended.
Sevenoaks Kent TN15 0RP Telephone: 01732 450608
Ightham Mote
Ightham Mote is one of the best preserved, and certainly one of the most beautiful, moated manor houses in England. The house dates back to the 14th century. The name presents a challenge to linguists; Ightham may refer to an early settler of the region, named Ehta or Ohta. Mote may refer to the moat which surrounds the manor, or it may equally well be a derivative of 'moot', a gathering place.
Mote Road Sevenoaks, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0NT Telephone: 01732 810378
Dining in Sevenoaks
Whether you want to relax over a cappuccino, enjoy a light lunch, have a fun family meal or indulge in a taste sensation, Kent caters for every occasion.
customer service that just can’t be found on the high street.
Check the Sevenoaks Directory
Sevenoaks
With its easy road and rail links to London, and its leafy and relaxed atmosphere, Sevenoaks has come to epitomise the essence of the commuter belt. While this perception is not far from the truth, the town retains a rural feel from the once wooded countryside that surrounded the ancient settlement that stood here some nine centuries ago.
Sevenoaks began as a market town in Saxon times, although an older settlement is believed to have been sited here previously, and it grew up around the meeting point of the roads from London and the Dartford river crossing as they headed south towards the coast.
The first recorded mention of the town came in 1114, when it was called ‘Seovenaca’, and local tradition has it that the name refers to the clump of seven oaks that once stood here; those trees disappeared long ago but were replaced in 1955 with seven trees from Knole Park. These replacement trees made headline news in the autumn of 1987 when several were blown down in the Great Storm that hit the southeast of England in October. Rural Sevenoaks changed little over the centuries until the arrival of the railway in
1864, when the town became a popular residential area for those working in London. Despite the development, which was again accelerated when the railway line was electrified in the 1930s, Sevenoaks has managed to maintain its individuality and there are still various traditional Kentish tile-hung cottages to be found here. In the Sevenoaks Library Gallery an imaginative programme of contemporary exhibitions of modern art, by both local and international artists, shows that the town does not dwell in the past. The exhibits range from photography and textiles to fine art, and Andy Warhol and John Piper are among the famous names to be featured here over the years.
Not far from the centre of Sevenoaks is another reminder of the town’s heritage in the form of the Vine Cricket Ground that lies on a rise to the south. It was given to the town in 1773, but the first recorded match held here - between Kent and Sussex - was in 1782, when the Duke of Dorset (one of the Sackville family of Knole) and his estate workers defeated a team representing All England. This remarkable victory was particularly sweet, as the Duke’s team also won a bet of 1,000 guineas! The weatherboard pavilion at the club is 19th century. The Cricket Club pay Sevenoaks Town Council a peppercorn rent, literally two peppercorns per year - one for the ground and one for the pavilion. The council may be required to pay Lord Sackville one cricket ball each year, but only if he asks.
The pride of Sevenoaks is Knole House, one of the largest private homes in England that lies to the southeast of the town and is surrounded by an extensive and majestic deer park. The huge manor house, with its 365 rooms, stands on the site of a much smaller house that was bought by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1456 and used as an ecclesiastical palace until 1532 when it was taken over by Henry VIII. In 1603, Elizabeth I granted the house to the Sackville family and, although it is now in the ownership of the National Trust, the family still live here. A superb example of late medieval architecture, with Jacobean embellishments that include superb carvings and plasterwork, visitors to Knole can also see the internationally renowned collection of Royal Stuart furnishings, 17th-century textiles, important English silver and works by Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Lely, Kneller and Reynolds. Little altered since the 18th century, it was here that Vita Sackville-West was born in 1892 and, as well as being the setting for Virginia Wolf ’s novel Orlando, it is believed that Hitler intended to use Knole as his English headquarters.
The trees in the 1,000-acre deer park were smashed by the great storm of 1987, and it fell to Lionel Sackville-West and a team of volunteers to plant more than 250,000 trees, mostly beech but with some oak and chestnut. He tended the trees personally until shortly before his death in March 2004, and had the distinction of beating the Queen into third place in a forestry competition for replantings after the storm. Lord Egremont won first prize, but as Lord Sackville commented, “he had professional foresters”. In the late 1960s Lord Sackville restored the chapel at Knole, since when it has been used regularly by his family and by Sevenoaks School. Knole has 365 rooms, a handful of which are open to the public.
A very short distance southeast of Sevenoaks stands One Tree Hill, a tranquil site with a network of paths that include the Greensand Way, a long-distance footpath linking Haslemere in Surrey with Ham Street, near Dover, in Kent. The name of One Tree Hill originally referred to a single large beech tree that grew near the summit; it was replaced many years ago with a copper beech.
Sevenoaks
The town's name is derived from the Saxon word "Seouenaca", the name given to a small chapel near seven oak trees in Knole Park around AD 800.
There are few records earlier than the 13th century for the town, when it was given market status. In the Middle Ages two hospitals were provided by religious orders for the care of old or sick people, especially those going on pilgrimage.
Sevenoaks School, at the south end of High Street, is the oldest secular school in England. It was founded by Sir William Sennoke, a wealthy London merchant, in 1432. Sennoke, an orphan, had been brought up in the town. In later life he became a wealthy merchant and mayor. Founding the school and adjacent almshouses was his thanks to the town. In 1560 it was ordered by Queen Elizabeth I that it should be called The Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth. It was "for the education of boys and youths in grammar and learning".

In 1456 Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, purchased the Knole estate and built Knole House, which still dominates the town.

The eponymous oak trees in Knole Park have been replaced several times over the centuries. In 1902 seven oaks were planted on the north side of The Vine cricket ground to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII.[3] During the Great Storm of 1987, six of those trees were blown down. Their replacements, planted in a ceremony involving well-known people from television shows such as Blue Peter and including locals Gloria Hunniford and Caron Keating, were vandalised, leaving only one standing. There are now nine trees on the site, of varying ages.

A serious railway accident occurred nearby on 24 August 1927. Southern Railway K class passenger tank engine No. A800 River Cray was derailed hauling a Cannon Street to Deal express, knocking a road bridge and killing 13 passengers. The locomotive crew survived, although the entire K class was subsequently rebuilt to prevent such an event from occurring again. The accident also called into question the quality of track laying in the area.

The town is situated at the junction of two main routes from the north before traffic climbs over the Greensand Ridge which crosses Kent from west to east; that situation is similar to Maidstone and Ashford. That road was one of the earliest in the county to be turnpiked in 1709, because of the clay soils.

The valley to the north is that of the River Darent and it is here that that river turns to the north to cut through its gap in the North Downs. There are several lakes along the course of the river here, the result of the extraction of sand and gravel in the past.

Knole Park is a 1,000-acre (4 km²) park inhabited by deer and several million trees. In its centre is Knole House, the home of the Sackville family (the Earls of Dorset) since it was given to them by Queen Elizabeth I in 1577. The estate is owned and maintained by the National Trust, although the Sackvilles still live there. It is frequently visited by the school.

Riverhill House and gardens are located directly to the south of Knole Park, on the southern edge of Sevenoaks. The house and gardens, which were first built in the 16th century, are privately owned by Jane Margaret Rogers but are periodically open to the public.

Sevenoaks is located at the junction of two ancient roads heading south from London and Dartford to the Weald. In 1710 part of one of the roads - from Sevenoaks through Tonbridge and Pembury to Tunbridge Wells - was the first in Kent to be turnpiked, and others followed within the century: it became the A21 road in the 1920s; the road now bypasses the town, and also takes traffic to the M25 London Orbital motorway at Junction 5. The Dartford road is now the A225. The cross-country A25 road passes through the north of the town.

There are two railway stations in Sevenoaks. The principal station is located on the South Eastern Main Line and also acts as the terminus for the suburban stopping services to both London Charing Cross and Blackfriars. The latter services follow the branch line via Swanley, calling at the second of the stations, named Bat and Ball.

There are four churches belonging to the Church of England in Sevenoaks, dedicated to St Nicholas, St Luke, St Mary and St John the Baptist; and also St Mary's at Riverhead. The Roman Catholic church is dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury; and there are some eight other denominations represented in the town.

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is to the north of the town centre, around one of the former gravel pits. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, covering some 175 acres (71 ha).

The Vine Cricket Ground is one of the oldest cricket grounds in England, with the first recorded match having been played in 1734. It was given to the town in 1773 by John Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, owner of Knole House at the time. It is notable for being the first place in England to play cricket with three stumps. In 1777 an "all-England" team played Hambledon at the ground.

Sevenoaks has two leisure centres and many sports and other activities are available.

Television viewers can receive either London (north/west via Crystal Palace) or Kent & Sussex (aerial pointing eastwards via Blue Bell Hill) transmissions. Programmes including London Tonight and BBC London, or Meridian Tonight & BBC South East Today. Digital reception is available in the area with a better Freeview signal from Blue Bell Hill or Heathfield in most places surrounding Sevenoaks, including Riverhead, Dunton Green and out towards Westerham.

The Stag Theatre and Cinema complex is located at the top of London Road. Recently re-opened as a community arts centre, supported by a strong network of volunteers and Sevenoaks Town Council. The multiplex cinema is open daily showing films.
The list of notable people who have been connected with the town includes John Donne, the poet, who was vicar of Sevenoaks in the 17th century, the 20th-century writer H. G. Wells and the Welsh tramp-poet W. H. Davies.

In January 1967, The Beatles made promotional films for "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" in Knole Park. In a Westerham antiques shop John Lennon bought a Victorian advertisement for Pablo Fanque's Circus Royal, which provided the inspiration for "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!", on the famous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album

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If you have wandered through the Kent Downs whether on foot, by horse, bicycle or car will have, at one time or another, pondered over the meaning of place names of towns , villages or hamlets that we normally take for granted in our everyday lives. Places such as Pett Bottom, Bigbury and Bobbing conjure up all manner of intriguing images as to the activities of former inhabitants, while others such as Whatsole Street, Smersole or Hartlip appear completely baffling.
Although most place names may appear at first sight to be random elements of words thrown together in no particular order, most are surprisingly easy to decipher with some elementary grounding in Old English. Over the centuries most of the Old English words have themselves corrupted and changed to appear as we know them today.
Kent Place Names
Kentish Dialect
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Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance some parts of Kent, particularly in the north west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney.

A Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms: in use in the county of Kent' by W.D.Parish and W.F.Shaw (Lewes: Farncombe,1888)
'The Dialect of Kent: being the fruits of many rambles' by F. W. T. Sanders (Private limited edition, 1950). Every attempt was made to contact the author to request permission to incorporate his work without success. His copyright is hereby acknowledged.
Kentish Dialect
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