The small scenic town of Westerham is known as ‘the gateway to the Garden of England’.

It’s one of the most sought-after places to live in Kent, and it’s not hard to see why.

Don’t let the chocolate box façade fool you. With its attractive boutique shops and cafes centred around the pretty green, it’s no sleepy town. There’s so much to do in Westerham that you’ll never tire of living here!

In fact, there’s a huge trend in returning residents. People who move away to go to university, and then live in London, tend to come back to live here with their own families. Such is the draw.

It’s the perfect balance of country living and a contemporary lifestyle, with trendy shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.

If you’re not yet persuaded, check out our top 10 reasons to live in Westerham:

1. Eating out - Westerham restaurants and cafes

There is no shortage of fabulous places to eat in Westerham. Restaurants include Rendezvous Brasserie, Napoli E, Chow’s, and Tulsi. You must also try The Old Bank, in the converted old Natwest building “offering contemporary, seasonal British cuisine, influenced by French techniques, using the best quality ingredients locally available”.

Among the latest additions to the Westerham eating scene are The Tap Room at Westerham Brewery, with their delicious street food and beer, including Mr Pintxos Spanish Tapas, Pizza Federicci’s Romano Pizza, Meat the Chef selling buttermilk chicken & hot dogs and Moules & Bread Shed selling their Italian street food.

The Bottle Store Restaurant at Squerryes Winery serves seasonal dishes with select cuts of prime meat, locally grown vegetables and seafood. The restaurant’s talented chef, Alexander Baillieu, learned his skills under the Roux brothers!

Westerham has a vibrant café culture with a mixture of traditional tearooms, and modern coffee shops. Try the Tudor Rose Tearoom, Food For Thought, The Courtyard and Deli di Luca for lunch or an afternoon treat.

Award winning Flint & Oak is a new farm shop and deli with a café bar, housed in a converted milking parlour. They source the most delicious food and drink from the best local producers and farmers.

2. Enjoying a drink

Westerham also boasts several historic pubs. These include The King’s Arms, and The Grasshopper on The Green, which was frequented by Winston Churchill when he was a local, and has stood for more than 700 years in the heart of Westerham. The pub was built by Stonemasons so they had somewhere to live while building St Mary’s Church.

Wine bar No 17 in Market Square is the perfect place to enjoy a fine wine or a cheeky cocktail.

Visit Squerryes Winery and sample their award-winning sparkling wines. The 300 year-old working estate is at the heart of the modern English winemaking business. Located at the foot of the North Downs, it has been discovered that the chalk escarpment has similar qualities to the esteemed “Cote des Blancs” region of Champagne.

The Westerham Brewery has brought brewing back to Westerham after the historic Black Eagle Brewery closed more than 50 years ago.
By re-culturing freeze-dried samples of yeast from the Black Eagle brewery, and using local water from the same aquifer, the new brewers have tried to recreate some of the flavours that made Westerham’s historic ales so famous.

Loved by locals and visitors alike, the brewery’s Tap Room, with its delicious street food, brings an urban vibe to this country town. Enjoy a local craft beer or two on the buzzing terrace and grab something delicious to eat.

3. Westerham Shopping

When it comes to shopping, Westerham has everything you need. It has a wide range of boutique clothing shops, gift shops, furniture and antique shops, as well as a post office and pharmacy.

Take a leisurely stroll along the high street and pop in to Entre Nous or Kate’s Collection for stylish womenswear, The Vintage Home Company for furniture and accessories gathered from around the world. And who could resist some treats from Chocs on the Green!

And if you are wanting more, Sevenoaks, which has a wider range of shops, is only 15 minutes away by car.

4. History

Westerham boasts two famous former residents, both immortalised with statues on its green.

It’s hard to miss the fact that Westerham was home to Winston Churchill for much of his life. He bought nearby Chartwell in 1922, and it remained the family home until his death in 1965. It is now looked after by the National Trust.

Churchill loved Westerham and adored his home at Chartwell with its beautiful views over the Weald of Kent. He once said that “a day away from the house was a day wasted”.

General James Wolfe was born in the vicarage in Westerham in 1727. Famed for his victory over the French at the Battle of Quebec in 1759, he is regarded as Britain’s most celebrated military hero of the 18th century. His former Westerham home, now Quebec House, is also run by the National Trust.

The town was originally famous for its brewing industry, which provided the main source of local employment for centuries. The welcome return of Westerham Brewery has brought brewing back to the town.

Another of the area’s historic buildings is St Mary’s Church, situated in the corner of the green. Parts of the present church date from the 14th century, but a board inside the church lists the names of every vicar since 1278. The church register records the baptism of General Wolfe, as well as three of Churchill’s grandchildren.

5. National Trust

Chartwell, Churchill’s family home, is a beautiful red-brick country mansion with stunning views over the Weald. Inside, it remains furnished as it would have been during the 1930s when the Churchills were living there. It includes Winston’s art studio where he used to paint.

Visitors can also enjoy the beautiful grounds, formal gardens and woodland walks.

Quebec House, built in the 1500s, has a varied past, but is most famously home to General James Wolfe and his family. There you will get an insight into Georgian life, as it has been dressed as it would have been when Wolfe lived there. It also includes an exhibition telling the story of the epic battle which made him famous.

Other nearby National trust properties include Emmetts Gardens, Ightham Mote and Knole Park.

6. Walking and leisure

The countryside around Westerham makes it a popular area for both walkers and cyclists, and the town has an active ramblers group.

Chartwell provides some excellent walks, and visitors can enjoy a trail to another fabulous National Trust property, Emmetts Garden. The walk takes you via the woodland at Toys Hill, with its diverse and abundant wildlife.

Westerham hosts a weekly parkrun on Saturday mornings, on part of the Squerryes Estate at Westerham Winery.

If you are a keen golfer, a round at Westerham Golf Club, which is set against a stunning North Downs backdrop, is a must. You could also try Limpsfield Chart, one of the oldest golf clubs in southern England, or Park Wood at Tatsfield.

7. Schools

Westerham has a number of local primary schools. Churchill CofE in Rysted Lane, Limpsfield CofE Infant School in Oxted, Crockham Hill CofE in the village of the same name, Amherst in Witches Lane in Sevenoaks and Lady Boswell’s CofE, also in Sevenoaks.

Co-ed prep schools in the area include Hazelwood in Oxted and St Michael’s and Russell House in Otford. Slightly further afield, both Sevenoaks Prep and Radnor House in Sevenoaks are popular independent co-ed schools. New Beacon Boys Prep school is also located in Sevenoaks.

Sevenoaks School, co-ed ages 11 to 18, is one of the oldest and most respected schools in the country, receiving the award for Sunday Times Independent Secondary School of the Year in 2008 and 2018.

8. Travel links

Westerham is close to the M25 giving you easy access to London and the airports. Commuters can travel to London from Sevenoaks (trains to Charing Cross and Cannon Street in just over half an hour); or Oxted (trains to Victoria and London Bridge between 28 and 40 minutes).

9. Arts and events

Westerham residents come together for a number of events throughout the year. Westerham Rocks music festival takes place at the King’s Arms hotel in the summer, and Westerham Country Fayre and Flower Show is held on The Green every September. The Westerham Fireworks Spectacular and the Christmas light switch-on are popular with families.

Although there isn’t a multiplex in the town, Westerham does boast its own Fleapit Cinema Club at the Westerham Hall. With a 24′ screen (larger than many multiplexes), modern projection equipment, a licensed bar and fabulous ice creams, it describes itself as ‘the home for everyone who enjoys watching great films in good company’.

You can watch the latest blockbusters from the comfort of an armchair at nearby Oxted’s Everyman cinema, or visit the Sevenoaks Stag Theatre for the best comedy, music, theatre and films.

10. Country life

Westerham lies on the river Darent, and the A25 connects it to a long chain of picturesque villages, including nearby Brasted and Oxted. It is situated at the foot of the North Downs with the rolling Kent and Surrey countryside to the South.