I’m sure you’ve all heard about the UK’s abandoned Sevenoaks Asylum and Cemetery. When I was given an exclusive early entrance permit in order to blog about it, the thought of finally stepping through those rusty padlocked gates was like channeling Charlie Bucket pre-chocolate factory tour…

Only, once the excitement wore off, rather than singing songs with Grandpa Joe, I started to feel pretty freaked out at what might happen inside. This place is no Oompa Loompa wonderland. It has history. Dark history.

Do you, or even I for that matter, have the guts to handle Sevenoaks Asylum?

Sevenoaks Asylum

Sevenoaks Asylum has some of the darkest history in the books!

Before I tell you what it was actually like in Britain’s most notorious abandoned insane asylum, let’s look at the facts about Sevenoaks. No joke – this stuff is terrifying.

This place was once an insane asylum notorious for patient mistreatment, occult occurrences, frequent suicides, and a sizeable rat population!

It has been closed and abandoned since 1923, because it’s just too damn freaky inside for anyone to dare explore it.

The shiz they used to do to people here would weaken even the strongest of bowels. Seriously… some methods of treatment were deemed “grotesquely horrifying” by the Department for Alleviation of Medical Neuroses and Extreme Disorders. I read that several patients had their ears stretched so much that they ripped from their heads. One man lost an eye after being strapped to a bed so long that a rat started eating his face. You gotta Google that photo, but be warned, it ain’t pleasant.

The notorious serial killer known as the Butcher of Block Street was once Sevenoaks’ Head Therapist, so imagine the evil these walls have seen over the years!

If you’re planning to follow in my footsteps, here’s what to expect. Deep breath. Are you ready?

Tour Prep

Sevenoaks Asylum

This is the area we saw our first shadow figure. Take a spare pair of pants to Sevenoaks.

It’s best to drive as close to the entrance as possible, not just in case you need to make a quick exit (highly likely), but because you have to announce your arrival by honking your horn. The janitor will let you in. Wear big boots, or shoes that will help prevent infection should you step on something nasty (more on that later), and dress for warmth. It’s cold inside – a thousand tortured souls will do that to a place – but the more layers you wear the less obvious it will be to others if you pee your pants.

Light the way yourself

You’re doing this alone but you have to leave your mobile phone behind with the janitor, who’s also the only one with the keys to the padlocks at the gate. So take another light source and lots of spare batteries. By the way, we’re not entirely sure why we had to leave the phones behind but we’re told weird stuff has happened to people who’ve tried to capture anything on film (gulp).

Watch out for glass and ghosts

Sevenoaks Asylum

We saw needles, dental pliers, glass, bits of undetermined matter and stains…

A lot of tragedy has befallen Sevenoaks over the years and people left in such a hurry that there’s stuff everywhere. We’re talking needles, dental pliers, glass, bits of undetermined matter and stains. The atmosphere is something a thousand Hitchcocks couldn’t recreate. It’s like being given a hug by the clown from IT, only he’s invisible. (I say ‘invisible’… although at one point in the upstairs hallway I saw a shadow move a bit too quickly in the corner of my eye, and my friend and I were the only people inside).

Go slow through Ward 1

Speed won’t help anything in Sevenoaks Asylum and Cemetery – it’s so dark that you’ll be freaking out anyway but if you rush, you’ll probably fall on something deathly. This was especially true in Ward 1. Ward 1 was where the Butcher of Block Street performed most of his heinous crimes on the patients and it’s here we found the most soiled of sheets and three labotomy drills. Note: There’s a famous bloodstain on the metal bed in room 303, right next to the ‘strangling straps’ still dangling from the ceiling. We both agree that this was a highlight.

Don’t steal

Sevenoaks Asylum

Steal from Sevenoaks and your soul will forever be haunted as a consequence.

My friend considered keeping a cool-looking 1920s medicine bottle she found next to a misshapen cat’s skull outside in the cemetery, but we remembered the janitor’s words about capturing the insides of Sevenoaks and decided we didn’t want to be haunted forever. You’d be wise not to pilfer, no matter how tempted you’re going to be.

One guy who broke into Sevenoaks in 1977 and stole a name-tag for an official called ‘Doctor Mitchell Talbot’ was involved in a fatal car-wreck on the way home, during which he ‘ate’ the steering wheel and lost all his teeth. It was later discovered that Doctor Mitchell Talbot’s favourite method of torture was to yank the teeth from his patients without anaesthetic. Just sayin’.

Don’t trust the shadows

I already told you about the shadowy figure in the upstairs hallway, but we saw three more downstairs, one in what used to be the kitchen, one in the ‘Eternal Quiet Time treatment room’ and one in the cemetery. My friend thought she saw a little girl in a white robe, and I definitely saw an older guy in a blue jacket, but he disappeared before I could really focus or see anything else. So creepy!

I almost wish I took the Ouija board – the sick part of me wants to talk to those who perished here – but I’m also way too scared! In fact, we left early after just an hour. That was an hour too long for us!

If you’re going too, let Tiqets know what happens inside. If enough people enjoy it they’re considering doing overnight sleepovers with free wine and cheese.

NOTE: Neither Bates Medical Solutions nor Tiqets are in any way responsible for your wellbeing (mental and/or physical) while on the premises. Entry is at your own risk.

Got balls of steel to match your steel-capped boots? Then you might have a shot at making it out (relatively) unharmed from Sevenoaks.

Or that’s what the janitor said before disappearing…

Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks

Itchy-footed writer Becky has lived and worked in London, New York, Dubai, Sydney and Bali. She started freelancing in 2010 and has collaborated with top brands such as Microsoft, GQ, TripAdvisor, Hello!, Tiqets, HTC, PayPal, eBay, MTV... the list goes on and on! Traveling is a way of life, and Becky has it down to a fine art!
Becky Wicks