Westerham in North West Kent is a picturesque market town that’s the ideal holiday destination for history enthusiasts. Not only is this town set in stunning countryside, thanks to its base within the North Downs, but it also has its fair share of heritage sites and country houses, with its most famous being Sir Winston Churchill’s former family home, Chartwell, which is just 2 miles from the town centre or a scenic 4 mile walk there and back from Westerham Green.
The town is the perfect gateway into the Kent Downs and the Weald. Around the attractive centre sits an excellent selection of cafes, specialist shops and old inns. Fantastic farmers’ markets also take place on the first and third Sunday of every month around Market Square just outside the old George and Dragon Inn.
Guided and self-guided walks around Westerham take in numerous historic buildings and landmarks from 17th century timber-framed inns to old churches. Centrepiece is the statue of Major General James Wolfe who was born in Westerham in 1727 and was killed at the Battle of Quebec in 1759. Wolfe’s historic childhood home, Quebec House with beautiful 18th century gardens, sits just outside Westerham. The town trail also features an impressive seated bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill.
Historic Houses & Gardens
A selection of some of Kent’s most popular historic homes and gardens sit close to Westerham. Two popular National Trust properties are within easy reach. Just on the eastern edge of the town is General James Wolfe’s childhood home, Quebec House and around one mile outside the town near the Kent/ Surrey borders is Sir Winston Churchill’s former home, Chartwell.
If you are based in Westerham it’s just a 4 mile scenic walk there and back from Westerham Green to Chartwell. Churchill purchased Chartwell in 1922 and lived here until his death in 1965. A visit includes a tour inside the house and around the spectacular grounds and gardens including Lady Churchill’s Rose Garden. Wonderful views of the Weald are visible from the house and gardens, and a choice of woodland trails, play areas, a shop and restaurant are all onsite. A brand new biographical exhibition on Churchill exploring his childhood, political career, his art and military training is also included in a tour, featuring over 40 personal effects.
Squerryes House in Westerham is a magnificent 17th century manor house owned by the Warde family since 1731. Enchanting gardens and parkland surround this house which is available for private hire and weddings. A tour of the house takes in a fine collection of art by Dutch and Italian masters.
Other nearby castles, heritage homes and gardens within easy reach of Westerham include the Sackville-West’s estate – Knole in Sevenoaks with surrounding deerpark. Hever Castle, Emmetts Garden and Wealden Gardens including Penshurst Place are just a short drive away. Fun family attractions also feature in the surrounding area like Beaver Water World at Tatsfield and Godstone Farm and Playbarn.
Don’t miss a tour of Lullingstone Roman Villa at Eynsford. The villa dates from around AD 100 and still contains original mosaics and wall paintings along with a stunning modern lightshow and ample opportunity for children to dress up in Roman costumes.
Westerham sits just off the M25 Junctions 5 and 6, within easy reach of Gatwick Airport and London, and close to the Surrey border. Nearest mainline stations are Oxted just 4 miles away with fast links to London Victoria, London Bridge and Clapham Junction. Sevenoaks station with further London rail links is just 6 miles to the east.
An extensive local bus service operates in the area, with a regular bus service running between Westerham and Oxted, Gatwick Airport, Sevenoaks, Bromley and Crawley. Parking is free in Westerham centre on Sundays and Bank Holidays!
Where to stay
A superb selection of heritage boutique hotels and old inns with rooms and restaurant can be found around the centre of Westerham, all blending period charm and features with luxury modern facilities and the finest cuisine. Many include exceptional event and function room facilities in an ideal location just 40 minutes from London and just off the M25, with idyllic rural Kent surrounds. Holiday cottages and great value bunkhouses are also available in the surrounding countryside perfect for exploring the Weald, Downs and heritage houses such as Chartwell and Knole. Browse Westerham accommodation online now and book with iknow.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.