Why move to Sevenoaks?
Living in Sevenoaks means having the best of both worlds: just a stone’s throw from the beautiful hills of the North Downs and High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, while having the bright lights and city services of London readily accessible by a number of stations, within Sevenoaks itself or from a number of satellite villages. Whether buying or renting, moving to Sevenoaks offers a fabulous variety of housing styles, including brand-new developments such as Bourchier Court by the station, or the high-specification Ryewood Development in nearby Dunton Green. Historic properties also abound, with the villages of Westerham, Seal and West Malling being particularly popular. In addition to the traditional Victorian and 1930s homes of the town, there are also a number of unique homes in converted oast houses, barns and country homes, for those seeking an extra measure of character.
A little bit of history
Sevenoaks was given market town status in the 13th century, with the weekly cattle market continuing in the town until as recent as 1999. The history of Sevenoaks centres mostly around its most famous and historic building, Knole House, a former archbishop’s palace built in the mid-1400s and designated as one of Britain’s largest homes. The oak trees that give the town its name have been replaced several times over the years and now stand along The Vine, thought to be Britain’s oldest cricket ground.
Architecture and property
Sevenoaks houses wear their history very well, with a wealth of characterful Kentish properties locally designed in the traditional Wealden style. These homes are built with timber frames, often with jettied first floors, whitewashed wattle and daub walls and thatched roofs. Sevenoaks was an important rail destination, with Victorian terraces springing up to house the workers. These are often beautifully preserved, particularly around St Botolph’s. Outside of Sevenoaks centre, there are also lovely Victorian terraces close to the station at Bat & Ball, which offers an alternative station for commuters.
Shopping and amenities
Shopping in Sevenoaks includes a mix of independent stores and household names, with a number of top retail names being located in the town centre such as Boots, Fat Face and Neal’s Yard. Explore the maze of narrow streets that lead off the High Street and you’ll find antiques stores, arts shops and local food stores located within charming period buildings. There’s a large Marks & Spencer Food Hall and a Waitrose in the town centre, plus a Tesco superstore at Riverhead.
Eating out in Sevenoaks means a choice of world cuisine, from tastes of Asia at Wagamama or Giggling Squid, French bistro classics at Cote Brasserie and reliable all-day dining at Bill’s. A number of independent restaurants also line the High Street, including Anatolian dining at Hattusa and a great selection of vibrant cafes.
There are few places where it’s possible to step off the High Street and into a 1,000-acre medieval deer park: Knole Park is one of the town’s best treasures and offers excellent walking and of course, the 365-room house now owned by the National Trust. There are many other pockets of green space within the town itself, including Bradbourne Sandpits and adjoining the town is the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, which runs alongside the river Darent. Nestling at the foot of the North Downs and surrounded by glorious countryside, there are ample walking opportunities locally in the surrounding villages.
The area is particularly well served by an excellent selection of schooling, which includes the grammar schools in Maidstone, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, plus an annexe of the Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls, which offers sixth form for boys. Sevenoaks School dominates the lower portion of the High Street and has the feel of a university campus. Other Sevenoaks schools include Knole Academy, St Michael’s and Russel House Prep.
Sevenoaks is 21 miles southeast of central London, close to junction 5 of the M25. Bromley is to the north, Maidstone to the east, Tunbridge Wells to the South and Caterham to the west. The town is about 30 minutes from Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge via a central station and also well connected to the Eurostar terminals and ferry ports.