Plan Your Visit
In towns, bus onward travel can be more obvious, with bus stops and taxi ranks right outside the station (true at both Swanley and Sevenoaks). But remember that the rural stations almost always have bus stops on the nearest road too (Shoreham on the A225 just beyond the car park, and Eynsford outside the station to the left), and although not as frequent as we might wish at the moment, they do offer an onward mode of transport if you get your timings right! A useful app for live bus times is buschecker, but there are others. Enter your intended location and options for bus links and times will pop up. For example, it’s possible to go to Sevenoaks train station and catch a bus to Knole Park (frequently in the summer) or even a bus to Ightham Mote, a popular National Trust property about 15 minutes away.
In the Darent Valley, GoCoach offers at least two services in each direction per day, up and down the valley. The times for these are, roughly 10am onwards and 1pm onwards going up from Sevenoaks, and 11am from Swanley area going down the valley, and 1.30pm on (but no later).
But there are more flexible options emerging now too, with bus-on-demand apps such as out local Go2. Using the all-new Go Coach app (iOS and Android), riders are able to hail a vehicle directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms enable multiple riders to share the vehicle (picking up new passengers along a journey if there’s the demand). The powerful technology directs passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop within a short walking distance for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules. You need to pay a fare so have a means of payment ready [check if this can be prepaid].
There are now also some options to hire e-bikes for the day and have them delivered direct to the station you arrive at and picked up from the destination you choose. For example, CountryHireandGo (a local business based near Edenbridge) has several sturdy e-bikes with fat tyres (bridleway-friendly) to hire, with seven gears and a battery that will last for 25 to 40 miles (40 to 64km) depending on how much pedal power you add, how cold it is and whether you tackle lots of hills. Chargers can be supplied for longer hires and battery packs will recharge while you sit and have lunch in one of the valley’s delightful pubs, cafes or restaurants. Prices begin at £36 per bike for a half day.
The Darent Valley is very popular with cyclists, many of which from large cycling clubs in London, despite there being some very narrow lanes! But do consider the benefits of cutting out all that compromised urban cycling by catching the train (Thameslink trains have cycle spaces with Velcro straps at the front of the train by First Class) and setting off locally. Each of our stations has ample cycle storage and there are cafes at both Sevenoaks and Bat & Ball stations (check for opening hours), with one soon to be opened at Swanley station, for post-cycling refreshments.
We will be adding more cycle routes from each station as time goes on. A number of local attractions have cycle racks and venues like Shoreham Aircraft Museum positively welcome cyclists (there’s room to lean your bike against a wall and keep an eye on it).
Finally, for more information, Sevenoaks cycling enthusiasts publish long routes on websites such as 7oaks Tri Club.
Walks and Routes
There are literally hundreds of ways of combining routes in the Darent Valley area, a beautiful landscape criss-crossed by footpaths, lanes and bridleways. Popular routes are recommended on sites such as Kent Walks Near London, Explore Kent and Fancy Free Walks. Our local town and village websites also offer a lot of suggestions, from the Sevenoaks Society site (interesting to read in its own right), to Otford village’s site and also Shoreham (Kent), Eynsford and Swanley. Regular walks are lead by Southeastern staff from Swanley station, Monday at 12 noon (not on Bank Holidays). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. Also check Darent Valley Landscape Partnership for walks, especially the audio-visual trail about artist Samuel Palmer Trail (download before travelling).
But do watch this space as we will be adding recommended walks or Rail Trails, tailored to the rail experience of course, either starting and finishing at the same station, or linking stations along the valley. These will eventually be available as a leaflet pack for anyone tired of staring at a smartphone or printout.
If you discover a favourite of your own, with food and drink recommendations then do please let us know.