SEVENOAKS – Scentsational spectacle of colour
Imagine walking through a field of over a million flowers. Every July, on a small family farm near Sevenoaks in Kent, that is exactly what you can do! Situated on the chalky slopes of the North Downs, a vision of purple explodes before your eyes as the fields of lavender burst into spectacular colour. Grown for its relaxing and healing essential oils, the lavender fields at Castle Farm produce some of the UK’s highest grade English lavender oil, which is sold globally to perfumers, fragrancers and aromatherapists.
Lavender is naturally a dry-loving plant that doesn’t like acidic soils so it does well on alkaline chalk – of which there is plenty across the North Downs area of Kent. Bunches are hand-cut for drying but the oil crop is harvested by a specialist machine. Distillation takes place on the farm where the oil is extracted by steam distillation. At harvest time, the scent floating across the valley and the neighbouring villages is wonderful.
The Alexander family has been farming here for five generations and, alongside lavender, grows arable crops such as wheat and barley, hops for interior decoration, pumpkins and apples. The farm has a herd of beef cattle which you can see grazing on the water meadows by the River Darent, and is also home to the Castle Farm Shop which is open all year and stocked to the brim with local farm foods, treats, gifts and decorations. Plus all things lavender of course!
Castle Farm host various events, every year, so visitors can enjoy the spectacular views up close and take in the enthralling scent of lavender, direct from the fields. All field access needs to be booked in advance and online bookings will open in late June 2022.
• Lavender Walks – a 45-minute stroll amongst rows of ‘Folgate’ lavender with an opportunity to get a photo on the famous Lavender Bench
• Lavender Picnics – BYO picnic and enjoy two hours in the ‘Ladybird’ lavender field (an exclusive variety developed by Castle Farm)
• Lavender Guided Tours – go behind the scenes and learn all about how and why lavender is grown at Castle Farm, plus tips for growing at home!
The delightful Castle Farm Shop is also open all year, so swing by and say hello and enjoy barista coffees and lavender ice cream from the Coffee Cart. The shop is always full of seasonal treats and interior inspiration – there are farm-grown pumpkins and PYO apples in the autumn and lots of decorations at Christmas. You can also shop online for speedy nationwide dispatch.
The Castle Farm Shop is open Tues – Sat: 9am-5pm, Sundays: 10am-5pm.
Castle Farm, Redmans Lane, Shoreham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 7UB.
Telephone: 01959 523219