If you have a… Weekend in Westerham
Now you’re talking…!! The longer you spend in Westerham, the more you’ll find to do… and the more you’ll realise what a wonderful centre the town is for exploring the surrounding country.
If you spend day one discovering what Westerham has in store (see a Full Day in Westerham), then day two can take you a little further afield.
Visit Knole, for four centuries the home of the Sackville family. It’s just fifteen minutes’ drive away on the outskirts of Sevenoaks. The house allegedly has as many rooms as there are days in the year, as many staircases as weeks in the year, and as many courtyards as days in the week. So to see the house and its surrounding parkland will fill most of your day.
But you’ll have time on your way there to pause awhile in the village of Brasted, with its myriad antique shops and eighteenth century houses; from there take a small detour to Toys Hill – within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, given to the National Trust by one of its founders Octavia Hill, who is buried in the churchyard of Crockham Hill. There are far reaching views of the Weald of Kent from here. Toys Hill was one of the areas badly affected in the 1987 storm – it’s interesting to see how it has recovered since then.
Alternatively, you could go to Hever Castle the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, now a destination for the whole family, with its castle buildings, gardens, maze, and great adventure playground for the younger members of the family. A good half day’s outing – so still time to take in Brasted and Toys Hill on the way.
Or there’s Penshurst Place, Ightham Mote or Groombridge Place, all offering a really good half day’s enjoyment.
Why not start your day close to home at Emmetts Garden. Enjoy the Edwardian garden and its spectacular views over the Weald of Kent. Refresh yourself in the Old Stables tea room, before moving on perhaps to Scotney Castle, just south of Tonbridge for the remainder of the day. Here you’ll see one of England’s most romantic gardens designed in the Picturesque style around the ruins of a 14th-century moated castle, set in a beautiful wooded estate.
Alternatively make for one of the most famous of them all – Sissinghurst, the garden created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson in the 1930s. Established round the remains of an Elizabethan castle, you can climb the tower, wander the gardens and visit the working vegetable garden. It’s about an hour’s drive but well worth it. There’s so much to see here that your visit may well last most of the day, so meander there and back along some of the quiet B roads of the area.
If you’re in Westerham when it’s open then don’t miss Westerham’s own Chart’s Edge – there’s something special to see in each season – and it makes a very pleasant and relaxing way to end a day’s exploration, before returning to Westerham for the evening.
Not had your fill yet? There’s still more to see and do from Westerham…