The Sevenoaks eGuide provides visitors and locals with complete Sevenoaks information and serves as the main Sevenoaks travel guide for Sevenoaks tourism. Where is Sevenoaks? is something we are often asked, the answer is Sevenoaks is in Kent in the South East of England and easily reached by train from London.
The history of Sevenoaks dates back to 800 AD, when the Saxons built a small chapel here. The chapel sat near seven oak trees and so the Saxons called it ‘Seouenaca’ and was combined from the two words Seven Oaks. The Seven oak trees themselves have fallen down and been replaced several times throughout the years, including in 1987, when a terrible hurricane destroyed all but one and peopel asked “where is Sevenoaks“. Today, nine oak trees stand on this site, which is now a part of Knole Park.
It was in the 1300s that Sevenoaks history properly began, for it was then that it gained the status of market town. In 1432, the prestigious Sevenoaks School was founded, becoming the oldest secular school in England. Now Sevenoaks School is a major international school with students attending from around the world. In the 1450s, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Bourchier, purchased a large estate on the western side of Sevenoaks town and built Knole House. Well preserved and now managed by the National Trust, Knole House and the surrounding deer park have dominated the landscape and identity of Sevenoaks ever since.
During World War II, the entire southeast of England, including Kent, were battered by German aircraft during the Blitz bombings. During that time, the skies above Sevenoaks saw thousands of war planes and many of Sevenoaks’ soldiers and regiments played an important role in defending the British war effort.
It is perhaps because of its idyllic surrounding countryside that Sevenoaks Kent has attracted numerous famous people throughout the centuries, especially writers and artists. For example, H.G. Wells lived at 23 Eardley Road in the 1890s, and this is where he wrote what is widely considered to be the first-ever science fiction novel, The Time Machine. Other famous British authors, including Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Edith Nesbit and poets John Donne and W.H. Davies all spent time in Sevenoaks and were inspired to write about its landscapes.
Other famous residents of Sevenoaks were politicians who had property in Sevenoaks. Diana, Princess of Wales, lived in Sevenoaks and attended West Heath School in the 1970s. And perhaps the most well-known British Prime Minister in history, Sir Winston Churchill, owned and lived at Chartwell, a gorgeous manor home in Westerham, which is part of Sevenoaks district.
The landscapes that attracted these creative people seeking solace are still a draw for visitors today. Most people who travel to Sevenoaks come here to discover the lush countryside that is preserved in the numerous parks and gardens around the area. A number of way marked walking paths offer the chance to get away from it all and see Sevenoaks district on foot.
But even those who come looking for the delights of food, drinks, culture and shopping in Sevenoaks are rarely disappointed. The bustling town centre is home to numerous small boutiques, art galleries and antiques shops and Sevenoaks shopping is a popular activity for locals and Sevenoaks visitors.
Many of these are owned by locals and offer products unique to the area. Likewise, Sevenoaks has become something of a gastronomic centre in Kent. A handful of well-respected chefs have opened restaurants here, knowing that they would be welcomed by the discerning local residents. And for a town of less than 20,000 people, there are a good number of cultural options, from orchestras and choirs to several notable performing arts centres and the Sevenoaks theatre the Sevenoaks Stag has regular performances.
Whether you are seeking an escape to nature, want to expand your knowledge of British history or have a hankering for local art and food, Sevenoaks has a little something for everyone. Around Sevenoaks there is wonderful countryside and major attractions including Chartwell and Hever Castle.
Sevenoaks accommodation is limited and there are only a few hotels and some bed and breakfast accommodation.