Simply Sevenoaks 2020 Photo Competition

“What makes you smile” is the title for this year’s photo competition, in association with The Stag Sevenoaks.  Sevenoaks District is full of delights but we’d like to know what there is about it which brings a smile to your face.  Is it a glorious view?  Or a tranquil garden; a quirky corner in one of our great houses and castles, a confusing maze, or a glass of Kent fizz? 

 So please post a photo of ‘what makes you smile’ on Twitter or Instagram and tag us and/or use #simplysevenoaks with a location for your entry.

 The winning image will feature on the 2020 accommodation and tourist guide, “Spend Time in Sevenoaks”.  There will also be a display of stunning recent photo competition entries on the Art Wall in the Stag Café during October. Come and admire and be inspired!

Closing date for entries is 12.00 am (midnight) on Sunday 10th November 2019. The winner will be announced on Wednesday 20th November 2019. All entries must be available as an A5 portrait, with a resolution of 300 dpi.  Entries must be an image of Sevenoaks and its District (ie 20 mile radius from central Sevenoaks). The decision of SDAF is final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. Copyright will remain with the photographer.  However by entering this competition the photographer/entrant agrees to SDAF and its members using the images for exhibitions, publications (print or digital) or for promotional use. 

Hola! Mexican Celebration Week-End at Lullingstone Castle

The World Garden is delighted for the 2019 Mexican Celebration Weekend, Saturday 21 & Sunday 22 September, 11 am – 5 pm, to team up with the British Cactus & Succulent Society for CactusWorld LIVE – A succulent adventure!

There will be a cactus show with stunning specimens, plants for sale from leading nurseries, a variety of stalls and children’s attractions, as well as authentic Mexican food and music from Lullingstone’s very own Mariachi band!

Tom Hart Dyke, patron of the BCSS society, will lead two guided tours of the World Garden including Mexico & the cacti hot houses at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.  Tom will be joined by fellow horticulturalist, broadcaster and patron Ann Swithinbank, as well as houseplant writer and blogger Jane Perrone, who will be podcasting her popular On the Ledge show from the event.

There will also be talks, demonstrations, workshops and surgeries for everyone to learn more about these amazing cactus beauties in Lullingstone’s dedicated marquee. Darren Everest Dahlias returns for his third successful year to showcase his stunning Dahlias in the manor house, ready to inspire and offer a riot of colour.

 Adults - £10 under 15’s go FREE

www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

Vibes from the Vines at The Mount Vineyard

Relax and chill this August at Sevenoak’s The Mount Vineyard in the new Flint Bar!

Nestle amid the vines to soak up DJ Marcel Mendez performing atmospheric “Vibes from the Vines” DJ sets at The Mount’s fabulous Flint Bar, while sipping your summer drinks.

“Vibes from the Vines” are happening:

Sunday 18th August 1pm - 6pm 

Sunday 25th August 1pm - 4.30pm

Monday 26th August (Bank Holiday) 1pm - 6pm 

(Flint Bar opening and events are subject to dry weather)

Edenbridge & Oxted Agricultural Show 2019

Celebrating the country way of life since 1837, the Edenbridge & Oxted Agricultural Show offers a fantastic Bank Holiday week-end outing, for Sunday 25th and Bank Holiday Monday 26th August, 8 am - 6 pm.

The Show combines all the favourites of a traditional agricultural show with 21st century family entertainment, rides, experiences and shopping. New this year - Atkinson Action Horses, Team MAD BMX stunts, Henfolds Birds of Prey and Water Buffalo. All the favourites including the Sheep Show and the junior BMX bike track.

Family tickets with free entry for any number of children are available this year.

The Castle Inn at Chiddingstone - a Tudor village dining experience

Sitting in the heart of this well-preserved Tudor village, The Castle Inn at Chiddingstone dates back to the 15th century.

In spring 2019, it was bought by the owners of the renowned Botley Hill Farmhouse at Titsey near Oxted. The new owners have already breathed fresh life into the old inn, establishing a tasty menu with daily-changing specials, developing a really friendly team and installing eye-catching flowers in baskets and tubs outside. 

Those in the know visit on a Thursday for Local’s Night, when you can have your taste buds tickled by a fabulously priced meal and catch up with friends old and new. And, as they say at the Castle Inn: “It doesn’t matter where you live – as long as you’re at The Castle on a Thursday between 6 and 9 pm, you’re a local to us.”

Sounds tempting? Just visit to sample for yourselves!

Boldly Tread in the Footsteps of Intrepid Plant Hunters at Lullingstone Castle!

Plant Hunters Weekend at Lullingstone Castle

24th, 25th & 26th August, 11 am - 5 pm

Celebrating the lives of some of Britain’s most intrepid plant hunters, Tom Hart Dyke and friends in Victorian dress will lead a guided tour of the World Garden between 1.30 - 3.30 pm - join at any time!

Visitors are offered a unique glimpse into the past to experience an authentic plant hunter’s expedition camp, complete with plant presses, roaring fire, porters and canvas tents. Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) will have some special animals and reptile guests joining during the garden tour. SCAR expert handlers will showcase different animals among the continents to bring the tour alive.  Visitors are offered a unique glimpse into the past to experience an authentic plant hunter’s expedition camp, complete with plant presses, roaring fire, porters and canvas tents.

 Admission price - £10 adult - children under 15 go FREE

www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk Photo courtesy of Alan Graham

Sevenoaks Literary Festival 2019

Booking has now opened for Sevenoaks 2019 Literary Festival! Don’t miss out on such delights as Adam Nicholson on The Making of Poetry, Lemn Sissay on My Name is Why and Andrew Lownie on the Lives and Loves of the Mountbattens.

Running from 21 September to 3 October, this seasonal treat is organised by our wonderful local Sevenoaks Bookshop. Make sure to book your tickets now!

It's official . . . summer's here!

The sun’s here, school’s out and now it’s time to play! There’s certainly a huge choice of events in Sevenoaks and the surrounding district to suit every taste, and everyone in the family! So here are some choices to help you plan your summer break. Enjoy!

Hever Festival Theatre - to 30 August

Don’t forget to book a performance at this fabulous local summer outdoor theatre.  Music, drama, comedy, family shows and talks are all on offer, plus reduced entrance to Hever Castle Gardens. Box Office 01732 866114

 

Great Comp Music Festival - 7 – 29 September

A feast of the innovative and the conventional, all within the intimate confines of Great Comp’s Barn Theatre. To book: www.greatcompmusic.org

 

Summer events at Rochester Cathedral

Cathedral Adventure Golf – until 1 September

Play a round of Adventure bridge-themed nine hole golf in Rochester Cathedral’s Nave. The course has been designed to encourage young people to learn more about the engineering behind bridges. Each hole will be accompanied by a model of a different type of bridge.

 

The Secret Garden, Chapter House Theatre – 20 August, 7.30 pm

The enchanting story in Rochester Cathedral’s very own secret garden

 

Kent Downs AONB 70th anniversary

Be part of the National Parks and AONB designation’s 70th Anniversary! Kent Downs hope to create a heart-shape - with as many people as possible - on September 21st, and use aerial photography to capture and share the moment. The location details are to be confirmed, but to register your interest in taking part, email nicki.batchelor@kentdowns.org.uk.

 

Penshurst Place (To 1 September)

Maize Maze (11 am to 6 pm) - free entry with standard Garden Ticket

Summer Sundays offering varied family events including Falconry and garden panto shows.

 

Hever Castle

Summer Jousting (select dates) - the Knights of Royal England return to battle

Knights and Princesses School - with hands on children’s activities

Castle Canines August 3 & 4 - a weekend dedicated to our canine friends

Photographic Course August 21 - £100 one day course to cover both technical and artistic areas of photography

 

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens

7 August – 1 September (11 am - 4 pm): Weekly themed children’s activities including Magical Face Painting and Nail Art, Wizard Wands, Sticky Seed Owl Art and Spell books.

Sunday 8 September - Family Dog Show and BBQ with fun classes for all the family!

 

Knole House

Family Mondays - 5, 2, 19 August (11 am – 3 pm) with nature themed arts and crafts (5 – 12 years)

Bat Walks – Friday/Saturday 30/31 August (7.30 – 915 pm). A dusk walk with detectors to find Knole’s resident bats (5+ years)

£10 pp for both events.  Book: 0344 249 1895

Outdoor Cinema - Friday/Saturday 13/14 September (6.30 – 10 pm). Family friendly al fresco cinema. £12 adult; £7.50 child.  Book: 0344 249 1895

 

Quebec House

Mrs Wolfe’s recipes (Saturday/Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 1 – 4 pm). Try some of Mrs Wolfe’s 18th century recipes.

 

Chartwell

Family Ant Trail: to 1 September (£1).  Follow the trail looking for Amet the Ant and his colony of amazing friends.

Open air Theatre:

Midsummer Night’s Dream: Thursday 15 August 7.30 pm with picnics from 6.30 pm.  £15 adult; £8 child; from 8 years)

Alice in Wonderland: Thursday 29 August 3.30 pm. £12 adult; £7 child; from £26 family

Ightham Mote

Summer bat walks to learn all about the Mote’s resident species. Thursday 8 August and other dates. £10 per person. To book 01732 810378 x 100.

 

Lullingstone Castle and World Garden

Plant Hunters’ Weekend: 24 – 26 August (11 am – 5 pm). Celebrate the lives of Britain’s most intrepid plant hunters with a costume guided tour (1.30 – 3.30 pm). SCAR (2nd chance rescue) will visit with animal and reptile guests.

£10 adult; children under 15 free

Mexican Celebration Weekend: 21/2 September (11 am – 5 pm: CactusWorld LIVE – a succulent adventure.

Motoring towards . . . Edenbridge Motor Show

We’re motoring through summer towards Edenbridge Motor Show and Music Festival on Sunday 8th September, 10.00 am - 6.00 pm at Gabriel’s Showground, Mill Hill, Edenbridge TN8 5PL.

This is THE event for car and bike enthusiasts, but there’s something for the whole family including music by The Noel McCalla/Derek Nash Band, a host of side stalls, stands and children’s activities plus numerous food and beverage outlets to sustain you throughout the day.

Now in its 6th successful year, the show is proudly presented by Edenbridge Chamber of Commerce supported by sponsors, Gaywood Farm Storage and Small Workshops; Wolfe Westerham Garage, Airborn International Ltd and Oxted Classic Cars.

Admission £5 with children under 14 FREE if accompanied by an adult.

Picture Perfect Treat at Hever Festival Theatre

If you’re looking for a romantic summer’s evening outing, look no further as this is the solution!

Hever Festival Theatre offers one of Sevenoaks’ district’s biggest summer treats with a programme ranging from comedy, musical theatre, classic, jazz, opera and family to speakers and film. The popular annual open-air summer Festival takes place in the spectacular award-winning gardens of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of Kent’s top tourist attractions. The world class live entertainment (including evening performances and matinees) is presented in a covered theatre situated on the Two Sisters Lawn, so audiences are happy come rain or shine!

And this year for the first time, a discounted theatre and castle gardens joint ticket is available to buy online. Pre-theatre dinner or afternoon tea after a matinee at the Guthrie Pavilion can be booked online when booking tickets for the Festival Theatre at www.heverfestival.co.uk.

The Festival’s second part, their high summer programme, will start soon on 24 July until 30 August.

Festival Theatre Director, Ailsa Molyneux said of this year’s Festival:

“The 2019 Festival is brimming with events. This year’s extended selection will appeal to both our existing patrons and those who will be new to the truly magical experience of visiting our theatre in the award winning Hever Castle Gardens.”

Gates for evening performances open at 6.30pm, performances start at 8pm. Gates for matinee performances open 30 minutes before start time.

Tickets are bookable online www.heverfestival.co.uk or the Box Office is open for telephone bookings Monday-Friday 9.30am-5pm on 01732 866114.

Classics at the Castle!

TODAY’S HOT TIP!

AND PERFECT WEATHER FOR . . .

New for 2019, Lullingstone Castle is delighted to present “Classics at the Castle” event on Saturday 29th June in aid of the Henry Spink Foundation - £5 of every admission goes to the charity. Visitors will have the opportunity to admire around 100 classic cars at this special car rally, a great day out for all the family. The Henry Spink Foundation is an independent charity created to help families of children with severe disabilities of all kinds.

 Admission prices - Adult - £15 - children under 15 go FREE

11am – 5pm

 

Wine Wednesday at The Mount Vineyard in Shoreham

It’s English Wine week 25 May - 2nd June so Kent has a great deal to celebrate with its fabulous offering of home produced wines. Now winning international awards, Kent vineyards are being ranked as some of the very best in the world. What’s even better, they’re on our doorstep!

In celebration of English Wine Week, The Mount Vineyard is relaunching its ever popular Wine Wednesdays on 29th May!

Be treated to a tour of the vines with a glass of bubbles in hand, a further four wine tasting and a delectable cheese and charcuterie platter for £35/pp!

Whilst a wonderfully informative evening, this is a relaxed way to spend a few hours enjoying local produce with plenty of time to catch up with friends or family. 

And because the Mount is celebrating all things about English wine, they are giving one lucky guest joining them on 29th May a bottle of their limited edition white Pinot Noir (RRP £60/bottle). Book online to secure your place and like/share their social media giveaway post to be in with a chance of taking home this outstanding vintage! 

Wine Wednesdays run all summer from 29th May to 25th September. 

www.themountvineyard.co.uk/reservations

Get ready for a magical Medieval Bank Holiday weekend at Lullingstone Castle!

MEDIEVAL WEEKEND

BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY & MONDAY 26 - 27 MAY Lullingstone is transformed into a magical medieval village – step back in time to experience the authentic sights and sounds with 'living history' displays (including live firing of cannons and mock battles!), character dress, campfires, tents and medieval weapons, courtesy of the remarkable Woodvilles medieval re-enactment group. Everyone can get involved with the archery sessions – fun for all the family!

11am – 5pm Admission charge £10 per adult and children (under 15) FREE entry.

The Early Bird Catches . . .

. . . . the dawn chorus!

Book now for the second Great Comp Garden, Sevenoaks, Dawn Chorus Walk.

Wednesday 22nd May with wildlife expert Simon Ginnaw

Simon is passionate about our natural world. He has lived in Kent all his life and has worked and volunteered in and around conservation and wildlife education for over 15 years.  He has over 12 years experience leading and guiding experience across the UK and abroad.

Simon says “I love meeting people and sharing with them the things that excite me about nature, especially my main area of expertise, which is bird behaviour.”

Date: Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Start Time: 4am (sunrise will be at 04:58am)

Meeting point: Great Comp Garden, Comp Lane, Platt, Nr Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 8QS. Please meet at the garden entrance hut.

Cost: £10 per person. Payable on arrival by cash.

How to book: Email us at office@greatcompgarden.co.uk to book a place on this walk.  

There are only 16 places available on this walk so please register your interest early to avoid disappointment.

2019 Sevenoaks Business Awards

This is your chance to show appreciation for your favourite Sevenoaks business! Is it somewhere that provides excellent service? Somewhere that goes the extra mile to be helpful? Or somewhere you’ll visit knowing that they’ll provide a solution for whatever you need, both speedily and with a smile?

This is Sevenoaks Town Partnership’s seventh year in running the Business Awards to celebrate and promote the successful businesses in the town.

Application forms to nominate the business of your choice within the following categories is now available on the Sevenoaks Town Partnership website or by emailing admin.tp@sevenoakstown.gov.uk

• Independent Retailer of the Year

• National Chain Retailer of the Year

• Sevenoaks Apprentice of the Year

• New Business (under 5 years)

• Customer Choice – only category voted for by the public

• Micro-enterprise of the Year

• Judges Choice – nominated by judges.

This year the awards ceremony will be held at Knole Academy on Friday 13th September when the winners of each category will be announced. For more information please contact Bonnie Tarling on 01732 459 953 or email admin.tp@sevenoakstown.gov.uk

Hop along to Easter Excitements in Sevenoaks

It’s all “hopping” and happening in Sevenoaks this Easter holiday season! Take the family out for an egg-citing trail or hunt to catch those elusive bunnies or carrots. Or for a change, hunt for mythical sea beasts in the gardens at Penshurst. Every location has a tempting cafe, so if you just want to watch the rest of the family at work, you’ve the perfect excuse to relax and enjoy your latte and home-made bake.

The list of choices is long, so why not enjoy more than one Easter outing?

Great Comp Garden, Platt, near Sevenoaks

Easter Egg Hunt: Friday 19 - Monday 22 April

Hunt for bunnies in this delightful 7 acre garden.

Hever Castle, Hever

Easter Family fun: 6 - 22 April

Find the golden carrot for a chance to win a golden hamper! Search for the hidden bunnies and enjoy the daily Easter Bonnet making craft activity.

Lullingstone World Garden, Eynsford

Easter family trail and quiz: Easter weekend, 20 - 22 April

Scour the World Garden for clues!

Penshurst Place, Penshurst

What Lurks beneath the Inky Sea: 6 - 22 April

Find mythical sea beasts in the gardens; make a sea beast in the craft workshops in the Old Coach House and enjoy story telling on 21 April.

Riverhill Himalayan Garden, Sevenoaks

Easter Bunny Hunt: 17 - 22 April

Hunt the bunnies in this glorious rhododendron garden!

Please check individual websites for opening hours and prices.

Music at the Mount

Book now for Music at the Mount Vineyard, in Shoreham. Friday April 26, is the date for an evening of wine, food and music, all to put you into a relaxed mood at the start of a Spring weekend. Tickets cost £30/pp and include a glass of welcome bubbles, a cheese and charcuterie platter to share between two, stone-baked pizza slices and music from Jay Scott and The Find.

To book a table at 7.00 pm or 7.30 pm, please call, email or visit our website

T: 01959 524008, option 2 or E: sales@themountvineyard.co.uk

Blooming Marvellous at Hever!

Hever Castle’s tulips are impatient to be seen and admired. To help you see the very best of their fabulous displays, a dedicated page has been established so that visitors can see where the best of the blooms are on display.

The formal tulip festival, with garden tours (11.30 am each day with the head gardener) and associated activities, runs from 24 - 30 April. The castle will also be adorned with majestic floral displays by the in-house florist Pamela Brise.

But why not get a sneak tulip preview now and feel inspired by these gloriously colourful and surprisingly exotic bulbs?

Spring has sprung at Lullingstone Castle

Lullingstone Castle and its famous World Garden are now open for the 2019 season! This is a true harbinger of spring so make sure you get out this weekend to visit and savour one of our great Sevenoaks district gems.

The team of volunteers have been preparing new garden features for 2019, so visit soon to admire and be inspired. The Easter programme will be as egg-citing as ever so keep up to date with Lullingstone events via their website and Facebook page.

This season there’s also a great offer on a family passport. Why not sign up so Lullingstone will feel just like your very own garden?

Hever Festival Theatre 2019 is brimming with events . . .

Festival Theatre Director, Ailsa Molyneux said of this year’s Festival:

“The 2019 Festival is brimming with events. This year’s extended selection will appeal to both our existing patrons and those who will be new to the truly magical experience of visiting our theatre in the award winning Hever Castle Gardens.”

Hever Festival Theatre, the open air theatre set in the stunning grounds of Hever Castle, is back for 2019…and it’s bigger, better and longer than ever (4 May to 30 August) with highlights that include Britain’s Got Talent winner Lee Ridley aka Lost Voice Guy, national treasure, broadcaster and journalist Jeremy Vine, and icons of jazz Mica Paris, Courtney Pine (with special guest Omar) and Miloš Karadaglić performing as part of the Rye International Jazz and Blues Festival.

The Festival offers one of Sevenoaks’ districts best summer experiences. So book now!