Being more than 600 years old, Knole is one of England’s largest, most important but fragile historic houses. Bishops, a Lord Chamberlain and Henry VIII all resided there, but since 1603 it has been the home of the Sackville-West family, who own part of the estate. The rest is cared for by the National Trust, which is currently undertaking a major conservation project while retaining the essential atmosphere.
The rooms are furnished as they might have been in the 18th century and contain a notable collection of paintings by Gainsborough, Van Dyke and Reynolds as well as tapestries and objets d’art. It is thought that Knole was built as a ‘calendar house’ with its 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and seven courtyards. The number of rooms is not quite accurate and some of the staircases have been removed but, still, it is an amusing possibility.
Due to the conservation work, which will take years, some of the rooms are not on view (and the entrance cost has been adjusted) but there is still plenty to see and we have included a tour on ‘Knole – Past and Present’ which provides background information. You can bring your own picnic or have lunch in the café before you stroll round the kitchen garden or the deer park or go to the conservation workshops to marvel at the expertise of the craftsmen. If you would like to tackle the spiral staircase of the Gatehouse Tower with its panoramic views, it will cost a further £3 at the door. You will have a most enjoyable day. We plan to leave for home at 4.30pm.
|Coach departure places and times|
|9.00am||Brockham: Middle Street near junction with Oakdene Road|
|9.10am||Dorking: outside Dorking Halls|
|9.15am||Dorking: opposite Waitrose|
|9.20am||Dorking: Horsham Rd bus stop between Harrow Rd East and Tower Hill Rd|
|NB. The coach no longer stops in North Holmwood|