Medieval England comes to Hever!

The Knights of Royal England return to battle it out at the annual Hever Castle Jousting Tournament. Spectators will be treated to a thrilling show as the brave knights compete for points to find this season’s champion. Witness spectacular displays of action, stunts, falls and fights in an authentic arena complete with Royal Box.

A fantastically exciting spectacle so do book now

Living with Nature at Hever Castle - Half-term family fun

Discover more about conservation and local wildlife as part of Hever Castle’s February half-term event, Living with Nature.
 
Following on from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch  and the Big School’s Birdwatch families and individuals are invited to visit the historic castle in Kent between 10 – 18 February to enjoy ‘Living with Nature’ aimed at school aged children.
 
Find out how to create habitats and encourage wildlife into your garden and join the RSPB workshop.
 
Join RSPB volunteers on a stroll around the grounds to learn about natural and manmade habitats or take a self-guided ‘Wildlife Detective’ walk to investigate animal footprints and tracks. Learn about nature throughout history from how fur was used to keep warm to which birds belong to the Queen.
 
Encourage creepy crawlies into your garden by building a bug house* (*additional charge) or buy a bag of bird food (50p per bag) and feed the birds and ducks.
 
For further information please visit the Castle's website or T: 01732 865224.
 

This IS Kent!

We have a winner!  Congratulations to Louise Wilden, whose glorious image will be the front cover of our 2018 edition of Spend Time in Sevenoaks tourism leaflet.

Amateur photographer Louise Wilden's daytime job is as a BA long-haul flight attendant. Louise has travelled the world, and has seen and photographed some stunning landscapes around the globe. We think this prize image shows that the Sevenoaks District in Kent is as beautiful and has just as much wow factor as any far flung corner of the world!

So what more can we say than Visit Kent and especially Visit Sevenoaks!

And thank you Louise for making our beautiful Kent lavender fields look simply stunning! Simply Sevenoaks!

Traditional Christmas Carols at Hever Castle

Christmas will really sparkle at Hever this year as visitors can experience an interactive Twelve Days of Christmas trail, which winds through the stunning castle grounds.  Don't miss your chance to walk through the Five Gold Rings tunnel or write messages of love for the Two Turtle Doves trellis!

The castle decorations this year follow the theme of The History of Christmas Carols, through floral displays and musical accompaniment. 

Christmas at the Castle at Hever Castle takes place Wednesdays to Sundays from 25 November and daily from 11 to 24 December.  Christmas prices: adult: £16.90; children (5-15): £9.75; under 5s free.

 

For history buffs . . . Eden Valley Museum

Pause your Christmas preparations to visit Eden Valley Museum!

Saturday open morning - 2nd December

Enjoy tea and cake while exploring objects and photos not currently on display. Free, first come first served (limited to 10 visitors, no booking required).

Museum Tour – 7th December

Join a member of the Museum Team for a 30 minute gallery tour, spanning Stone Age artefacts to modern-day local heroes.  Free, 10.30 am, no booking required.

 

Chiddingstone Castle's Christmas Fair

'Tis the season to be jolly when you visit Chiddingstone Castle's annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, 25 November, 10 am - 4 pm.

The array of stalls will surely provide something for even the most difficult gift choice!  There is literally something for everybody here so book now.  If you want to visit just one Christmas fair, this is THE one to choose!

Chartwell and Clementine Churchill

Chartwell's winter exhibition, entitled Clementine Churchill - Speaking for Herself, promises to be a fascinating visit!  The many personal items on display will provide an insight into Clementine from a new, and very personal perspective.

Open 18 November - 18 February 2018, 11 am - 3 pm.

Hever Castle helps the homeless this Christmas

Hever Castle is helping local homeless this Christmas when young visitors enjoy festive crafts. Create a mini angel in return for a donation to a local homeless charity.  Porchlight  works across Kent and the South East helping vulnerable and isolated people get support with their mental health, housing, education and employment.

The Hever theme this year is the history of Christmas carols. Visit Wednesday - Sunday from 25 November - 10 December and daily from 11 - 24 December for Christmas at the Castle.

Kent Life's top 10 villages

Kent Life's Top 10 Kent villages include three near Sevenoaks.  Ightham, Chiddingstone and Penshurst are featured, all boasting classic Kentish timber-framed houses, glorious countryside and views, great pubs to eat in, and a wonderful sense of community.

What a fantastic endorsement of our lovely local villages.  So come and stay to explore them for yourselves.  Visitwww.simplysevenoaks.co.uk for guest accommodation information.

Be our 2018 Simply Sevenoaks cover photo!

‘Kent’s Hidden Gems!’

Oh happy snappers . . .

Sevenoaks District Accommodation Forum (SDAF) is offering you a fabulous opportunity! Enter our annual photo competition for the chance to have your winning image feature on the cover of our 2018 accommodation and tourist guide, “Spend time in Sevenoaks”. 

We want a truly heart-stopping front cover image which screams ‘wow – where’s that?’ to tourists and locals alike!  Can you take a stunning photo of a hidden Kent gem – be it countryside, Kent produce, vineyards, lavender fields, historic gardens and houses, or a heart-racing surprise moment in Kent?

If you’re ready for the challenge, post your photograph on Facebook (@simply7oaks) using the hashtag #simply7oaks for your chance to be our image of 2018.  Alternatively email to: info@doubledance.co.uk. Please include a location/title for your entry.

In addition to your image being our 2018 guide front cover, the lucky winner will receive a celebratory bottle of bubbles from The Mount Vineyard, Shoreham.

Help us say ‘Wow – this is Kent!’

  • Closing date for entries is 12.00 am (midnight) on Sunday 29th October 2017.
  • The winner will be announced on Wednesday 8th November 2017.
  • 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.
  • Details on how to claim the prize and full prize terms and conditions will be given in the letter of notification.
  • 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.

Good luck and start posting!

Lullingstone Castle Fire Engine Rally - 8/9 July

Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 July – 11am – 5pm –  is Lullingstone Castle's  *SPECIAL EVENT* weekend  - a Fire Engine Rally.  

An action packed ‘special event’ for all the family! A spectacular showcase of fire-fighting history with over 20 fire engines and carts from the Victorian hose carts and the Edwardian period right up to present day, courtesy of the Kent Firefighting Museum and the Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Experience epic live fire displays run by the Fire Service Preservation Group South East Branch enthusiasts, demonstrating how to put out various kinds of fires!  Younger visitors can get a slice of the action and learn how they operate, with the opportunity to even squirt the hoses!

Admission is £10 – adults – Children under 15 FREE www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

Walk through Eden Valley history!

Where better to learn about the history of the Eden Valley than at the Eden Valley Museum in Edenbridge!  And now is the perfect opportunity with the museum's new tours and coffee mornings.

Museum Tours

On the first Thursday of the month, join a Museum Team member for a 30 minute tour of the galleries. Walk through the  Stone Age artefacts to modern-day local heroes.  Tours free and starts at 10.30 am, no booking required. 

Coffee Mornings:

On the first Saturday of every month join the museum for a special open morning. Enjoy a visit to the museum, refreshments and share your memories and experiences of the Eden Valley. Alongside tea and cake you can view objects and photos not currently on display and allow you to handle the collection.

Entry is free, first come first serve (limited to 10 visitors, no booking required).

 

Be Medieval @ Lullingstone this Bank Holiday!

Bank Holiday weekend, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 May, will see Lullingstone Castle 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 mini 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!

2017 Special Event – admission charge £10 per adult and children (under 15) FREE entry

Jane Austen in Kent

"Kent is the only place for Happiness.  Everybody is rich there" - Jane Austen, 19 December 1798

2017 is the year of Jane Austen's bi-centenary, so it's appropriate that we celebrate this but also Jane's extensive family connections with Kent, and the Sevenoaks district.

Did you know that the family roots were in Kent, with the early Austen family living in Horsmonden as cloth makers?  Jane's great grandmother lived in Bordyke, Tonbridge and later worked at Sevenoaks School, as a housekeeper.  Her sons were educated at the school, with Francis becoming a wealthy lawyer living in The Red House on Sevenoaks High Street.  Francis' second wife was Jane's godmother, hence Jane's own visit to Sevenoaks in 1788, aged 12.

Jane's family ties encouraged numerous Kent visits to Goodnestone Park, Godmersham and Chilham.  Family members also lived in Seal, near Sevenoaks.  Jane's books make frequent mention of Kent, with the notorious planned elopement of Georgiana Darcy potentially taking place in Ramsgate.

So why not make a tour of literary Kent?  The Historic Houses Association launched a literary trail section on their website this year.  So log on and see what literary inspiration you can find!

If you need accommodation, www.simplysevenoaks.co.uk can inspire with fantastic B&B and self-catering options.

Riverhill Himalayan Garden Bluebell Festival

First snowdrops, then tulips and now bluebells are bursting out all over!  But what a treat lies in store for you at Riverhill Himalayan Garden in Sevenoaks with its annual bluebell festival.  Enjoy bluebell walks, an art exhibition, bluebell themed crafts to buy or just simply savour a coffee & delicious homemade cake and admire these quintessential English flowers. 

Tulips from . . .

. . . Hever Castle & gardens  - now hosting its first ever Tulip Celebration.  The gardening team are proud to present its inauguaral Tulip Celebration with  7,000 tulips, in 60 varieties planted along the Pergola Walk, Pompeiian Wall, Tudor Garden and Italian Garden. 

Due to the exceptionally warm weather, many of the tulips are in full bloom so now's the time to visit and admire.  Free garden tours are on offer with Head Gardener Neil Miller from 24-28 April and 2-7 May (excluding Bank Holiday weekend).  A daily talk, 2 pm, on the history of the tulip will tell you more about this stunning bulb. The castle interior will also be dressed with tulips.

In fact, if you visit Hever over the next few weeks, it'll be hard to miss a tulip!  Tulips are intriguing bulbs, and have a fascinating history so this is definitely a visit to make this Spring.

 

National Gardening Week 10 - 16 April

What better title for a week in Spring than RHS National Gardening Week? After months of green-fingered frustration the starting gun has been fired for all gardening enthusiasts to be released into their horticultural playgrounds!

In celebration Hever Castle is calling all adults and children to visit and be inspired by the stunning Hever gardens, and the talented and informed Castle gardening team. 

Visitors can design (for small additional charge) and take home a miniature garden, which once established and blooming can be photographed for entry into the June Hever in Bloom competition.

Start planning your garden now!  Who knows, this might be the start of a talented gardener's Chelsea career.

Autumn Extravaganza!

Celebrate Autumn's arrival with Great Comp Garden's Autumn Extravaganza! Saturday and Sunday, 8th and 9th October, will see an explosion of flora, fun and fascinating crafts down in Platt, near Sevenoaks.  Don't be left out!  Go and join the fun and be inspired for your Autumn gardening.