Knole

http://www.kentdowns.org.uk/uploads/Knole_c)_John_Miller.jpgKnole is one of England’s most important, complete, yet fragile historic houses, set at the heart of Kent’s last remaining medieval deer park. One-time palace to archbishops and former royal property of the Tudor dynasty, Knole, in Sevenoaks, was a place of extraordinary wealth and grandeur. Now over 500 years old, this National Trust house wears the marks of six centuries of history with quiet dignity. This history is reflected nowhere better than in the curious collections housed at Knole. Spread across various state rooms, galleries and intriguing smaller spaces, Knole’s unrivalled collections of royal Stuart furniture, textiles, portraits and tapestries have gradually been worn by light, damp, pests and time. Nevertheless they retain a humble, faded glory, whilst pieces such as the rare silver furnishings of the King’s Room proudly attest to Knole’s more prosperous past.

In danger from the elements, the house is currently undergoing vital emergency repairs. The National Trust will cover some windows and may protect furniture and close certain rooms, but their mission is to show visitors the work they are doing and share the archaeological and architectural secrets they have discovered. New at Knole in 2013 is the Estate Office, which contains Knole’s Hidden Histories exhibition. Workers on the estate tell their stories in a sound archive, while visitors can browse dossiers on the people who worked there and rummage through the drawers and furniture in the original estate office.

Free exhibitions throughout the year in the Orangery include textile, fashion, fine art and photography shows and Knole celebrates the 100th anniversary of Vita Sackville-West’s marriage here with a special exhibition in May.For further information about facilities (including the Brewhouse Tearoom), 2013 events, entry fees and opening times, or Knole in general, please visit their website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole

N.B. Sat Nav postcode TN13 1HU

  • Telephone: 01732 462100
  • Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole
  • Opening times: See website for details
  • Travel information: Sevenoaks railway station is 1 1/2 miles from Knole. By road: Southern end of Sevenoaks High Street, off A225
  • Facilities: Gift shop, Christmas shop and tea rooms