Make the most of the Oakdene Cafe
About 5 miles from Brands Hatch racing circuit, on the A20 London Road in Kent, is an innocuous looking prefab building set back from the highway on a pot-holed, dirt parking lot. For most of the week it’s a quiet spot, a traditional transport café where trucks trundle in and out and the occasional sales rep or holidaymaker en route to Dover stops off for a break.
But on Wednesday evenings all that changes, and the Oakdene Café becomes one of the most popular bike meets in the whole of the South East. When the weather’s right it’s not unusual to see at least five hundred bikes crammed on the site, with an overspill that fills the lorry park opposite and lines the roadside up to the filling station and beyond.
There’s been a café on the site since 1926 and in its present form the Oakdene dates back to the 70s, but as owner Janet Jeavons explains it wasn’t until the 90s that motorcyclists began to gather en masse. She said: ‘A couple of bikers came in and asked if we could open late. I said ok and it just gradually progressed from there. We now see 500 or more during the summer and have a group of regulars that show up throughout the year.’
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At 72 years young, Janet has a twinkle in her eye when she talks about the Oakdene, but it’s not all plain sailing as the site has been up for sale for some time and the threat of closure looms constantly. This is of course a worry to the regulars, but while the café’s still there, they will keep coming. There’s even an official group, the Oakdene Diehards, a tongue-in-cheek band of hardcore supporters. Keith, Kevin and Helen are part of that group and have been turning up at the café for some twenty years; they come for the people, the atmosphere, the bikes, the food, to have a laugh and if needs be, to help people out.
The Oakdene Café is a fantastic meet, but may not be around forever – while you’ve got a chance it’s definitely worth a visit.
How much is it: Free to attend
Where is it: London Rd, Wrotham, Sevenoaks TN15 7RR
When is it: Every Wednesday
How to get in touch: @oakdenecafe on Facebook
The ultimate fry-up at Oakdene
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