Knole in Kent is a 1.000 acres (400 hectares) land, with a mansion built in 1454 and extended after 1456 for the Archbishops of Canterbury.
Though the oldest records of the estate are in the 1290s, with Robert de Knole being the owner, there is no information that he built any property on the site.
Around the 1530s it became a royal property throughout the Tudor dynasty when Henry VIII hunted there and found the place a suitable residence for his daughter Mary I, during his divorce from her mother, Catherine of Aragon.
In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn’s daughter, gifted the property to Thomas Sackville, her second cousin, a well-respected poet, playwright and linguist as well as lawyer and courtier.
The Sackville family renovated the house, where showrooms were designed to impress visitors and to demonstrate their wealth and status.
Since 1946 the house and overall 100 acres of the land are owned by the National Trust (read more about the NT here).
However, Sackville-West family still lives there today and retained ownership of the majority of the parkland, the deer herd and the contents of the house, but permit commercialised access.
In 2019 an extended preservation project, “Inspired by Knole”, was completed to restore and improve the structures of the buildings and thus help to preserve its important collections.
Hence when I was there, I could only visit some parts of the house, the Orangery, the roof terrace and the parkland, which is still populated by wild deers.
Knole is home to one of the rarest collections in the world. Royal Stuart furniture, paintings and textiles fill the historic interiors.
The house itself contains seven acres of roofs and has around 400 rooms, 15 of which are open to visitors.
There’s a widespread myth that Knole is a calendar house with 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and 7 courtyards.
The golf course of Knole Park Golf Club is located within Knole Park.
And the park was the location for the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” promotional video.
Children 5-17 years old: £5.00 and under 5 are free.
Family of 2 adults and up to 3 children: £25.00
1 adult family: £15.00
It is free for National Trust Members.
How to get there?
By bus and train
The nearest bus and train station is in Sevenoaks. And several trains are coming from/to London every day. Check the timetable here.
From there, you can walk 1.5 miles (2.4km) or catch a regular local bus.
To reach Knole, insert the TN13 1HX in your satnav. Parking is free for NT members or £5 per car for non-members.
Nearby places of interest
– Ightham Mote is around 7 miles away (10km). Read more here.
– Chartwell House is where Winston Churchill lived. It is 8.4 miles (13.5 km) away. Read more here.
– Chiddingstone is one of the oldest Tudor villages that still intact. It is about 9 miles (14 km) away. Read more here.
– Hever Castle is 9.5 miles (15.6 km) away.
If you are in Kent, why don’t you visit one of the top five of England’s largest houses?
I hope you like it as much as I did!