Plan your visit to Knole

The outside of Knole, Kent

There are plenty of places to discover and explore on a visit to Knole. From the courtyards and grand showrooms with their world-class collection to the Conservation Studio and sweeping views from the top of the Gatehouse Tower, there is something for everyone. Whether you have an hour to spare or a full day ahead, plan a visit to Knole and enjoy a splendid day out.

A couple of hours

If you only have an hour or two to spend at Knole, at the top of your list should be a view of the majestic parkland from the top of the Gatehouse Tower. You’ll need to don your comfy shoes – 77 steep steps lead to the tower’s roof – but the sight is worth the steps when you take in the panoramic views of Knole Park and the architectural delights of Knole’s roofline. There are also two rooms in the tower to explore, where you can learn about the life and loves of former resident Eddy Sackville-West.

Weekends, school and bank holidays are extremely busy at Knole, so we recommend visiting in the week for a more relaxing experience.

Half a day

Half a day at Knole gives you the chance to pick and mix the bits that most interest you. A stroll around the courtyards and a jaunt up the Gatehouse Tower or Tudor dressing up in the Visitor Centre should always be followed by a visit to the 19th century Orangery to watch the sunlight dance through the stained glass windows. Next door you’ll find the Bookshop, where you can browse a selection of books, ranging from countryside walks to first editions, or pick up a unique gift. the hours will fly by at Knole.

Art enthusiasts and budding historians might prefer to take in the grand showrooms (open March to October) and see Knole’s renowned collection of art and furniture, before visiting the conservation studio to find out how the National Trust is conserving its priceless treasures for future generations to enjoy.

Knole's Orangery is a beautiful space to explore
The orangery at Knole
Knole's Orangery is a beautiful space to explore

A full day

The main doors open at 10am and there are several interesting places to explore when you first enter Green Court. Our Visitor Centre provides the perfect introduction to Knole and its long history. Green Court is also a great spot to relax in the Orangery or Knole’s specialist Bookshop with its children's corner.

The showrooms will open Saturday 7 March - Sunday 1 November 2020 for free-flow visits from 11am to 5pm (last entry at 4.30pm), but if you arrive early you might be able to join a highlights tour for an introduction to Knole’s splendours with one of our experienced guides. Highlights tours lasting 45 mins run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 11am but places are limited, so it’s best to arrive early and enquire in the Visitor Centre to avoid disappointment.

As you journey through the showrooms created by Thomas Sackville in the early 17th century, you’ll become part of a 400 year visitor history at Knole. All fifteen of the impressive showrooms have now reopened following conservation, where you can see a world-class collection of portraits, royal furniture and opulent silver. Family trails can be collected in the Great Hall so your little ones can experience Knole’s treasures too.

Gainsborough's portrait of the marquis de Champcenetz is on view in the Reynolds Room at Knole
The Reynolds Room at Knole
Gainsborough's portrait of the marquis de Champcenetz is on view in the Reynolds Room at Knole

Visit the Conservation Studio to see how treasures from across the National Trust's collection are conserved. Located next to the Brewhouse Café, this is where 80% of Knole’s impressive collection was worked on over the last couple of years. You can peer in to the second-floor studio daily but for the full experience it’s best to visit Wednesday to Saturday when you can watch conservators in action and try your hand at the interactive displays.

See our team of conservators at work Wednesday to Saturday in Knole's conservation studio
See our team of conservators at work Wednesday to Saturday in Knole's conservation studio
See our team of conservators at work Wednesday to Saturday in Knole's conservation studio

Venture back outside to the Brewhouse Café for a hot meal or an indulgent cream tea before browsing the gift shop and plant sales. If you prefer to bring a picnic, there is an enclosed picnic area next to the car park where you can enjoy your sandwiches without attracting attention from the deer. We ask that you do not feed or pet the deer. They are wild animals and it is in the interest of both their welfare and that of our visitors that they are observed from a respectful distance.

After lunch, a trip to the Gatehouse Tower - last entry is at 4.30pm March-Oct, (3.30pm Nov-Feb) so this could be the final stop on your day out at Knole. The tower is home to Eddy Sackville-West’s former rooms and here you can find out about his fascinating and flamboyant life as a writer, musician and heir to Knole. Climb to the top of the tower for breath-taking views of Knole Park and a final look over the estate, before you head home for a well-deserved snooze.

However you choose to spend your time at Knole, we hope that you enjoy a pleasant visit to this special place.