Knole has been on our to-do list of National Trust properties for a while now, and we finally made it there today.
Knole has been one of those properties we’ve always wanted to go to, and I’ve always had that “but it’s in Kent” excuse about it. Kent is actually really close – much closer than I realised. So close in fact, we made it there in around an hour which isn’t bad at all – mainly thanks to the M25 being pretty clear.
On entering Knole, you’re met with fields, space, woodland. DEER! As Shaun said “it’s like going around Richmond Park” except the deer didn’t step out in front of us, luckily.
There are renovations going on at the moment – so no National Trust shop, though there is a temporary outdoor cafe – and fortunately it was the right kind of weather to eat out, so we grabbed sandwiches and a drink and did that. There was an old red bus doing journeys for £2.50 into Sevenoaks and back again which looked quite fun, but we didn’t want to spend £7.50 – and we’d spent a while driving too. The new cafe and bookshop should open this summer.
Knole itself is a huge property, now owned by the National Trust, though the Sackville family still live there (they rent apartments from the National Trust), and with hundreds of years of history inside. I quite enjoyed looking at all the paintings, though my history and religious knowledge let me down a lot. Shaun isn’t much help either! H was given a quiz on a clipboard to do around the house which relied a lot upon this knowledge, but we muddled through.
There were kids activities on today too – H did some colouring and was so patient too, I know she takes her time much more with pencils than anything else, and her tidiest work is done that way. She really enjoyed colouring in the letter H, she made an H bookmark (which will get used a lot) and made a little book (with her own motto ‘Be Kind’) with things to spot inside the house, just before we went in.
Knole itself isn’t just the house though, or indeed the gardens which are privately owned but opened once a week. There are the grounds too – with deer, so many deer who don’t seem so timid when you’re close (but don’t get too close – there are signs asking you not to feed or pet them). There are tree trunks to climb on, and vast green spaces to have a picnic or fly a kite if the weather is right. There’s also a golf course nearby.
I really enjoyed it for viewing some history – H found it interesting doing the activities. We easily spent four or five hours there anyway! There are Kids Activities going on Mondays through the summer holidays – check their website for more information.