Tourism booms in Kent!

Kent’s tourism economy flourishes as visitor numbers rise to 65 million.

Kent’s visitor economy has increased 7% and topped £3.8 billion for the first time ever, after welcoming a record 65 million visitors in 2017.

Independent research commissioned by Visit Kent has revealed that 64,970,000 visitors came to The Garden of England in 2017, and the county remains the third most visited destination outside of London for foreign visitors.

Overseas overnight visits to the county increased by 4% with an 8% increase in the number of nights stayed, and a 10% increase in the resulting value.

Across the county, visitor spending figures in Kent continue to rise compared to 2015, with the highest ever numbers reported for spending in the county from both day and overnight visits.

Tourism jobs have also increased by 6.8% to 76,828, and now account for 11% of total employment across the county.

Chief executive of Visit Kent, Deirdre Wells OBE said: “Tourism is the UK’s fastest growing service sector and these figures demonstrate the contribution which our vital industry makes to the economy of Kent. With our stunning countryside, world-class heritage, and delicious locally sourced food and drink, it is no surprise that visitors’ numbers are increasing. The collective efforts of tourism businesses across the county have paid dividends and this partnership will be critical in ensuring that this growth continues during a challenging year ahead.”

Other district highlights included a 10.1% increase in the value of day trips in Tonbridge and Malling, and a 9% rise in the number of day trips to Sevenoaks. Since 2006, the value of Kent’s tourism industry has risen by 33%.

Leader of Kent County Council, Paul Carter, said “The results from the 2017 survey commissioned by Visit Kent clearly show that the visitor economy is increasingly important to the county’s future prosperity”.

Deirdre added: “These figures demonstrate that, wherever you are based in Kent, tourism can bring growth, prosperity and jobs to your community. Our challenge going forward will be to turn more of our day visits into overnight stays and short breaks, bringing even further growth to the county.”

Simply Sevenoaks couldn’t agree more. So who’s up for the challenge in 2019??

Congratulations to The Bull at Wrotham

Warmest congratulations to SDAF member, The Bull Hotel at Wrotham on winning an AA Notable Wine List Award 2018 - 19.  This is one of only 5 awarded wine lists in Kent. The hotel also won Series 13 of the Channel 4 programme FOUR IN A BED.  What stars!

Snap to win the SimplySevenoaks Photo Competition!

SDAF ‘Spend Time in Sevenoaks 2018’ photographic competition

‘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: 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 Friday 8th December 2017.

• The winner will be announced on Wednesday 20th December 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.

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


The title may sound dull, but the event was lively and abuzz with chatter!

SDAF Chairman, Penny Cracknell said that 2016 had been a year of achievement, and quality new members.  The Brexit impact of the fall in sterling should make the UK a fantastic bargain for overseas visitors, and Sevenoaks District B & Bs and self-caterers looked forward to welcoming them.

Many thanks to The Stag, Sevenoaks for hosting the evening.  The Stag Coffee Lounge made a wonderful location and hopefully members and their guests will visit again to enjoy tea (in a pot), coffee and cake!