The Sevenoaks station opened a few years after Bat & Ball and then – and now – connected with fast services to London and south to Tonbridge and Hastings. The town was a prosperous market town, with a large outdoor livestock market to the side of the station, held weekly until as recently as 1999, when the area made way for the BT building. There used to be several pubs nearby for commuters to knock back a beer or two before heading home (those who weren’t already at home of course).
The community centred not around the station in this town, but more the major stately home in the area, Knole House (constructed in the 1400s). Beautiful Knole Park surrounds Knole House and is a 1000 acre site of special scientific interest (SSSI), with several thousand often dramatic and mature trees, sweeping walkways, hundreds of deer, a cricket pitch and a golf course. The house at the centre of the park is owned and maintained by the National Trust, though the family whose home it used to be still live in a wing. It has a splendidly restored café, partly on the roof (with extensive views) and a new conservation wing which allows visitors from time to time.
Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, to the south of the town, has gardens open to the public, with tea rooms, activities and dramatic sculptures dotted around the grounds. If you climb to the top of the gardens, there is a stunning view across the whole of the Kentish Weald. The 402 bus stops a short, downhill 15 minute walk away from the entrance.
The name of Sevenoaks in thought to have derived from the Old English word ‘Seouenaca’, the name given to a small chapel near seven oak trees on the Vine (a very old cricket ground near the centre). The number of oaks planted in this area has waxed and waned over the years, with six of the seven blown down in the hurricane of 1987. However, cricket matches are still very much alive and COVID-19 permitting, a newly refurbished, picturesque cafe to the side of the pitch can be enjoyed in the summer months. Cafe on the Vine .
The high street has a wide range of mainly independent shops, offering a variety of choices between several cafes, cars and restaurants. Together, with a few large retailers, there are also, indie record shops, health care providers, shoe shops and many well-established charity shops.