Weekend Visits to Knole

An A-frame sign reading 'Car park closed - full' sits at the top of Knole's drive with a blue car passing it

In light of the current guidance for Covid-19 (coronavirus), Knole will be closed from Wednesday 18 March. The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, volunteers and staff will always come first and with that in mind Knole house, Brewhouse Café, shops, car park and toilet facilities will all be closed. Find out more about how to access the parkland.

Knole is always extremely busy at weekends and school holidays, when visitors can expect regular car park closures and long queueing times in the café. For a really enjoyable family walk in the fresh air and relaxing experience in a National Trust café, we recommend visiting neighbouring properties at these times. Find out more ...

When are we busy?

Weekends, bank holidays and school holidays (particularly when the weather is sunny) are extremely busy, resulting in regular car park and café closures. During these peak times, we recommend trying one of our neighbouring National Trust properties to avoid disappointment (see below).

Alternative National Trust properties

Happily, Kent and adjacent Sussex have plenty of beautiful National Trust places to visit that aren't quite as busy as Knole. If you'd like a more relaxing visit during these peak times, why not try another nearby property? We recommend the following:

  • Ightham Mote: A 15-minute drive from Knole, Ightham offers over 500 acres of wide open space and gardens to explore, circular walks to take in the fresh air, and a cosy café with great family facilities to start or finish your visit..
  • Emmetts Garden: Sitting on top of one of the highest points in the Weald of Kent, Emmetts is also just 15 minutes away - be prepared for some stunning views and scenic walks, plus a children's wild play area, café and family facilities. Dogs are also allowed in all corners of the estate.
  • Petworth Park: If you're keen to watch wild deer in their natural habitat, try a different adventure and visit Petworth Park in the South Downs. With 700 acres for their 700-strong fallow deer herd to wander, you're bound to spot one round every corner.

Frequently asked questions

What happens when it’s busy at Knole?

Staff and volunteers in the car park work hard to direct visitors and closely monitor the spaces that we have available. The Brewhouse café also reaches capacity and closes due to health and safety reasons. Closing is always a last resort and something we try to avoid - when we do reach capacity, we put a message on the Knole website, then we close to vehicles for a period of time to allow us to clear a block of spaces and avoid tailbacks onto the High Street. If this does happen and you are turned away, please remember to be polite to our hard-working staff and volunteers.

Why does the car park get full?

Our car park has enough capacity to accommodate our visitors during off-peak times. However, recently the number of cars we have welcomed to Knole has increased, particularly at weekends and bank holidays when the car park often gets full.

When the car park is closed, there will be signage at the entrance and a member of staff will be positioned on Sevenoaks High Street waving cars by to prevent a gridlock. It is not safe for vehicles to wait on the High Street until the park re-opens - it also causes major traffic disruption to the local area.

What about Knole’s school holiday Sunday shuttle bus?

After reading our advice, if you are still planning to visit Knole on a school holiday Sunday, we do offer our visitors a FREE bus service on our busiest Sundays between Sevenoaks Station and Knole, stopping along the way at the Town Centre Bus Station and Sevenoaks Town Centre car park. The Knole Shuttle bus service runs on school holiday Sundays on a continuous half hourly loop from 11am - 4.45pm. Find out more on our shuttle bus web page. However, we do still advise you to avoid these peak times.

Why can’t we add extra car parking spaces or an extra access point?

We understand just how frustrating these problems can be for both our visitors and our local residents, but we are unable to build, expand the car park or add an extra access point to the park as Knole’s 1,000 acres are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) overseen by Natural England. Additionally, the National Trust only manages 100 of those acres, with Lord Sackville’s Knole Estate managing the remainder. In 2018 work was carried out to improve the ground conditions to the existing car park and to create identifiable segmented spaces.

National Trust is a conservation charity, so we need to make sure that any work we do is sensitive to this special place with its 600 years of history, and that our commitment to caring for land, outdoors and nature is at the heart of any decisions we make.

What public transport links connect to Knole?

Arriving at Knole by public transport is a number one solution on our list, and also the most ecologically sound (we are a conservation charity after all). Sevenoaks train station is a mile from the entrance and there is a bus stop with regular buses to and from Sevenoaks School, located near the entrance gates. Visit our page on the Good Journey website, which will help you plan a car-free route.

Are there any alternative parking options?

Knole’s main entrance is a five-minute walk away from the large Sevenoaks Town Car Park (sat nav postcode TN13 1LW), which provides 480 parking spaces and is free on Sundays. It is a 15-minute walk to Knole via Webb's Alley, and is also a stop-off point for our free shuttle bus on school holiday Sundays (see above). However, we do still recommend avoiding peak times.

 

Inspired by Knole

We know that Knole is loved by our visitors, staff, volunteers and local residents for many reasons: the fascinating showrooms, views, events, conservation studio, wildlife and the parkland all included. We love all these things too - it’s a place to find inspiration, adventure and tranquility in equal measure. We want to keep those unique elements to Knole special and cause as little disruption to the house, landscape and wildlife as possible.

Thank you for helping us to ease congestion at Knole and in Sevenoaks.