My Favourite Places - Sevenoaks
31 March 2023
She founded Fiona Penny Bespoke Home Finders 16 years ago and knows both the housing industry and this area of the country inside out. So in our regular feature we ask property guru Fiona Penny to spill the beans on her favourite places – and next up is Sevenoaks. So who has made the shortlist?
This store is full of stylish Scandi-inspired fashion and interiors. It was opened in 2000 by Judith Jørgensen when she moved to England, fell in love with (and settled in) Sevenoaks and began to share her love of ‘HYGGE’, the Danish word for a cosy ambience in your home, way before it became a household word. Hard to leave this shop empty-handed (you’ve been warned).
Hard to pass through town without popping into this luxury florist, which offers wonderful workshops too. Plus it has a sister shop just opposite called House, brimming with stunning interiors. So buy a bunch of your favourites then pop across the street for a stonkingly gorgeous vase to display them in. Win, win.
Tucked away in historical Bank Street, offering locally sourced, wholefoods from quiches to cakes this café offers great coffee, great wi-fi and is dog friendly. (If you like it there are three more local Basils in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells to try).
Just five mins drive from Sevenoaks, in the village of Ivy Hatch, this hidden away eatery combines the best of old and new. Situated in a traditional 17th century inn you’ll find MasterChef semi-finalist Freddie Innes as resident chef, offering modern British food, using locally sourced ingredients.
Many restaurants have come and gone on Sevenoaks high street but Sun-Do has stood the test of time and was the first Chinese restaurant in Sevenoaks, opened in 1965. Their wonderfully crispy Aromatic Duck is the best I’ve ever had.
Best for wellness
Located in a great spot opposite Sevenoaks station, you’ll find SPN – a boutique wellness studio (there’s one in Sevenoaks and one in Tunbridge Wells) that brings the big city health and fitness vibe to the suburbs. Drop in for a great yoga, pilates, barre or spin class – and then pop into the on site café – Eat ‘n’ Mess – for the amazing gluten, dairy and nut free coffees, pastries and cakes. A fab collaboration, that truly feeds the ‘mind, body and soul’.
Best for culture
Sitting in the heart of the town you’ll find this community arts centre with a cinema and stage hosting large scale touring and musical productions. It puts on a superb panto every Christmas too.
Best co-working space
Take one historic warehouse in the centre of Sevenoaks that’s been lying derelict for over 20 years and add a sprinkling of fairy dust (well more like lots of hard work and a serious refurb) and the end result is a fully transformed co-working space and unique venue for professional events. There’s loads going on at this little gem which has become quite the local hub.
Best historic spot
Knole Park, with its wild deer herd, is 1,000 acres of parkland on the edge of Sevenoaks. The Grade I listed house ranks as one of the five largest country homes in England and the house alone covers 4 acres! The current house dates back to the mid 15thCentury, steeped in history and now owned by the National Trust.
A stunning venue, this is Kent’s last medieval deer park with meandering walks and bustling wildlife offers loads of brilliant family-fun events throughout the year.
But to be honest, Sevenoaks is surrounded by historical places – more than you can shake a stick at! Also worth a visit are Ightham Mote, Penshurst Place, Hever Castle and Chartwell to name but a few.
Sevenoaks School sits proudly at the end of the town, surrounded by amazing facilities and grounds and dating back to 1432. Nowadays it is a highly selective, co-educational private school with an excellent reputation as one of the best IB schools in the country and it was the top co-educational independent school in the UK in The Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 guide.
Plus Sevenoaks also boasts a whole heap of other good preparatory and private schools, such as Radnor House, Russell House, Granville school and the Amhurst local primary school in Riverhead obtains consistently good Ofsted results.