Built in 1456 by Thomas Bouchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, Knole House is one of the great treasure houses of England, as well as one of the most visited site owned by the National Trust.
The history of the estate goes back to the 12th century. It was the residence of five archbishop of Canterbury in total, before being confiscated by Henry VIII.
In 1566, Knole House was given by Elizabeth I to her cousin and favourite, Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, whose descendants still own it today. Sackville enlarged and embellished the house, which remains little altered since then.
Nowadays, Knole's prime attraction is the wonderful 17th-century royal Stuart furniture collection, unrivalled in England by its rarity and quality. The house has a stupendous amount of Renaissance, Tudor and Stuart artworks, including first-class plasterwork ceilings, grand tapestries, carved marble, silver furniture, painted walls, as well as portraits by Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Reynolds.
Knole House is so extensive that is resembles a village of terraced Renaissance houses separated by a central Gatehouse, rather than a single habitation. There are no less than 365 rooms, 52 stairs and 7 courtyards. You can also watch deer grazing in the surrounding park.
The manor and Sackville family appear in some literary works, such as V. Sackville-West's work 'Knole and the Sackvilles', and Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando'.
Opening Hours & Admission
Knole House is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, between 27 March and 31 October. Admission is £6 for adults and £3 for children. Access to the garden only is £2.
How to get there
Knole House is located in Sevenoaks, 35min by train from London's Charring Cross station (£7.10). The house is 2.5km from the train station.