To see a world in a grain of sand. And a heaven in a wild flower.
Knole ------The heaven of Sika & Fallow deer in Kent
Summer has suddenly arrived almost without any prior notice. Last Sunday (23 May) was a really gorgeous day through out the UK. I visited Knole for my third time.
Brief information about Knole:
Knole is a historical site in Sevenoaks, Kent, England, and mainly has two parts: Knole House and Knole Park. Knole House was built by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury between 1456 and 1486. In 1538 King Henry VIII took over the house. Since 1603 it became a home of the Sackville family and has remained largely unchanged for 300 years. Surrounding Knole House, Knole Park is a 1000 acre Tudor deer park.
Today, National Trust owns the house and about 43 acres of the park. The gardens and the rest of the surrounding estate are owned by the Lord Sackville and his family, who still live in more than half the house.
Knole House looks quite austere with grey colour. However it is packed with historical treasures linking with kings, queens and nobility, as well as the novelists Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. Vita Sackville-West was born and grew up in Knole, her lover Virginia Woolf drew inspiration from her and Knole in the writing of the novel Orlando.
As a reputable calendar house with early 17th-century appearance it has 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 14 entrances and 7 courtyards. Many state rooms are open to tourists.
When I visited Knole House for my first time I was impressive with the superb collection of Tudor furniture and outstanding portraits, which show the owners’ richness and high social status. However due the information limit provided by National Trust I didn’t feel very excited to be honest. I felt myself like an invader walking along from one dark room to another darker one. The people on the portraits seemed like watchers of these unusual beds, silver furniture, tapestries, textiles, china and the original of the famous Knole Settee. Consequently I finished my silent trip within one hour and back to the Knole Park.
Around the mansion Knole Park has survived the past 500 years. However Great Storm in 1987 damaged 70% of the trees in the park. Except the loss the park has changed little since Thomas Sackville's death in 1608.
It looks like a small village with over 800 Sika & Fallow deer in a huge space. It is Kent's only remaining medieval deer park and over 200000 trees have planted after the storm. There is also a small medieval lavender garden and orchard owned by Lord Sackville and a golf course too.
I really enjoyed my time in the park, particularly when I came across a few deer groups. All of them were friendly with visitors. Different from zoo’s experience it was my first time to meet free deer in such short distance. Interestingly my three times there were separately in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Different season brought different view, but they all were very beautiful and enjoyable.
The entrance fee is £9.50 for adult and £4.75 for child plus £2.50 for car parking, but all are free for national trust members. The house is open from March to October and Park open daily for pedestrians. The private garden opens for limited time which priced £5 for adult and £2.50 for child. A shop, tearoom and children's trail are all on-site. Nearby your can visit Down House and Chartwelltoo.
Knole is a fascinating tourist site in Kent. To people who like history they can appreciate the ancient building, the world-renowned rare furniture, important paintings and the prototype of the famous Knole settee; to people who like nature they can have unique experience with deer in zero distance plus beautiful view, which is always as Vita Sackville-West wrote that Knole 'has the tone of England; it melts into the green of the garden turf, into the tawnier green of the park beyond, into the blue of the pale English sky.'