Knole's fascinating historic links with kings, queens and the nobility, as well as its literary connections with Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf, make this one of the most intriguing houses in England. Thirteen superb state rooms are laid out much the same as they were in the 18th century, to impress visitors by the wealth and status of the Sackville family. The house contains Royal Stuart furniture, paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyck and Reynolds, and many 17th-century tapestries.
Knole is set at the heart of the only remaining medieval deer park in Kent.
There has been a garden at Knole for 500 years, ever since the days of Archbishop Bourchier, who created a small medieval lavender garden and an orchard near to the house. In the 16th century, under the ownership of Henry VIII and, later, during the tenancy of the Lennard family, this was extended and the Kentish ragstone walls, which run for almost a mile around the 24-acre garden, were added. Punctuating the walls is a series of wrought-iron gates, mostly dating from the time of the 6th Earl at the end of the 17th century. Through these gates are views out of and into the garden.
Then, as now, the garden was divided into a formal area, with lawns and borders and an informal area known as the Wilderness (mentioned by Lady Anne Clifford in her diary in the early 17th century), where mossy paths wind their way under the beech trees. Like the park, the Wilderness was devastated by the storm of 1987. This area of the garden has been replanted, too - to a design which respected the spirit of the past. Several of the avenues, which had been created towards the end of the 17th century by the 5th Earl, were retained.
Address, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0RP
Opening times11am - 4pm
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