Otford goes back to the sixth century when the Anglo-Saxons called their settlement Ottanford ('Otta's ford'). The Archbishop's Palace in Otford, the remaining fragments of which are on open view, once rivalled Hampton Court for splendour, until Henry VIII forced Archbishop Cranmer to surrender it in 1537.
Construction of St Bartholomew's Church, Otford, began in 1060, with the tower being added in 1175. The church contains large marble memorials to Charles and David Polhill, great-grandsons of Oliver Cromwell.
The Otford Solar System is a full scale representation of the spatial position of the planets at a moment in time (midnight on 01-01-2000) and with the inclusion of four of the nearest stars located in museums around the world, it can lay claim to being the largest scale model of its type in the world. The model was constructed by the village as a Millennium Project, built to a scale of 1: 4,595,700,000. At this scale, the Sun is a little larger than a football - 30.3 cm across - and at the centre of the model, it can be found at the rear of the village recreation ground, a disc mounted on a concrete pillar. The earth is the size of a small ball bearing - 0.3 cm across - located 32 metres from the Sun. Jupiter, the largest of the planets is 162 metres away, the size of a small ping-pong ball - 3.1 cm across. To be found at various locations in the village, all mounted on similar pillars, are Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Mars - due to its location being between two football pitches - is represented by a ground level disc. The Otford Solar System provides visitors of all ages with an extraordinary insight into the size of the solar system and the larger universe in relation to our small planet.
The artist Samuel Palmer lived and worked in Shoreham from 1826 to 1834. He was the leader of a group who followed William Blake and called themselves The Ancients. Palmer's father, also called Samuel, rented the Water House by the river.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul in Shoreham has many interesting features, including an outstanding wooden rood screen spanning the width of the building and a stained glass window by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones.
Shoreham Memorial Cross is a striking feature on the hillside above Shoreham Village and below Meenfield Wood. It was cut into the chalky hillside in 1920 as a memorial to the local men killed during World War One. It is 100 feet in length, and can be seen for many a mile.
Lullingstone Park was a deer park from the Middle Ages until World War II, when the park was used as a decoy airfield – the heavy bombing so terrified the deer that they escaped. Species of tree that deer would not eat have been planted through the centuries, thus ancient hornbeam pollards remain.
Lullingstone Castle (tel 01322 862 114) is the residence of the Hart Dyke family, having remained in the Dyke family for centuries, with the original house built during the reign of Henry VII. Its gatehouse is one of the earliest all-brick buildings in Britain. In the grounds is the World Garden, containing plants from around the globe, which is open to visitors on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons between April and September (and Bank Holiday Mondays). The House is open for guided tours only at 2m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and for free-flow (self guided) on Bank Holidays and Event Days only. Admission (2020) is £9 (with extra £2.50 for access to the tower) and £10 on Events Days.
Lullingstone Roman Villa (tel 01322 863 467) was first occupied in 80AD by a rich Roman who practised pagan worship of the local water sprite in a room here, which later became a Christian temple. The ruins include two mosaic floors. It is normally open daily (not Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day) from 10am to 6pm in summer, 4pm in winter (October to the end of March) and all school half term weeks. Admission (2020) is £9.00 with gift aid.
St Martin's Church in Eynsford is unusual in having retained the Norman ground plan with apsidal chancel. In about 1163, Thomas à Becket excommunicated Sir William de Eynsford III, the Lord of the Manor who controlled the patronage for this church. The excommunication was cancelled by Henry II and the issue became part of the quarrel which led to Becket's murder.
Eynsford Castle (free entry) was built in the eleventh century and vandalised in 1312. John de Eynsford, who lived there, is said to have assisted in Becket's murder.
Eagle Heights Wildlife Foundation - Birds of Prey Centre (tel 01322 866 577) open from 10.30am tp 5pm (last entry 3.30pm) from 25 March to 31 October, admission (2020) £9.95- can be visited via an uphill detour from the main route, which links up to the walk extension to Farningham Road. There are fine views of the Darent Valley from the public footpath beside the Centre (without having to pay the entrance fee). The Centre houses over 100 species of birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, owls and an Andean Condor. There are handling displays every day.