Discover the childhood home of Anne Boleyn
Hever castle is beautiful, and as you approach on foot from the gatehouse on the hill, the picture postcard castle just emerges before your eyes.
The view of Hever Castle
If there was a castle in your dreams, I’m sure it would look like this.
Encircled by a moat, with swans and ducks swimming around.
Boston ivy climbing up the front of the stately sandstone turrets.
The entrance across the moat
And to be perfectly honest as castles go, this one is a perfect size. Big enough to make your mark and small enough to be cosy.
The Anne Boyeln gardens
The grounds of Hever castle are so wonderfully kept, you stroll along the path by the manicured hedges and lawns, passing fruit trees and beehives.
Then you are greeted with the 13th-century castle. Hever Castle has passed through several hands across the centuries and undergone various modernisations and renovations. Particularly during the 14th & 15th centuries.
The most famous of its residence was Anne Boleyn’s family. Anne Boleyn lived at the castle during her childhood in the early 16th century. Then became Henry VIII’s second wife and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
A view from across the outer moat
In the 20th century Hever Castle was owned by William Waldorf Astor, and during this time a large amount of renovation was carried out.
Halt who goes there?
As you cross the drawbridge and under the portcullis, you enter into another period in time. Passing through the inner courtyard of the castle, which reflects the timber-framed Tudor additions.
The portcullis & drawbridge
There are friendly Hever Castle tour guides on hand if you have any questions you’d like to ask as you stroll around.
Once you enter the castle, you are free to wander around at your own pace, just following the signs to guide you through each room.
The inner courtyard
Tender Loving Care
The rooms are so beautifully kept and with such detail, it’s incredible. You’ll pass by the Drawing Room with its striking inlaid oak panelling and then onto the galleried Inner Hall.
The Drawing Room
The Inner Hall
From here you’ll wander into the Dining Hall, which during the 15th century was the Great Hall, the Entrance Hall & Library. Each with so much detail particularly the wood panelling throughout all the rooms.
The Dinning Hall
Then as you continue upstairs within the castle, the bedchamber of Henry VIII can be seen along with the bedroom of Anne Boleyn.
The ceiling in Henry VIII’s bedchamber is the oldest in the castle and dates from c.1462.
Henry VIII’s bedchamber
Climbing further in Hever Castle we arrive at the Long Gallery which dates from 16th Century and extends the entire width of the castle. Today this room has 18 original portraits depicting the line of the Tudor monarchy.
Henry VIII’s portrait
It’s then onto the Astor Suite. The Astor Family were the owners of the Hever Castle for 80 years, from 1903. They were mainly responsible for how this magnificent castle is presented today.
William Waldorf Astor Portrait
A writing desk in the Astor Suite
Beyond the castle
If the beautiful castle wasn’t enough, within the grounds is also a magnificent Italian Garden and a 38-acre lake. Both of these were the brainchild of William Waldorf Astor, and amazingly the lake was constructed by 800 men within two years.
Lake & Italian Loggia
The whole of Hever Castle’s gardens stretches over 125-acres and includes not only the Italian Garden and Loggia but also a quintessentially English Rose Garden (which smells incredible). It has fountains, a water maze, a Yew maze, a topiary chess set, I could go on, but come and see for yourself.
The Yew maze, not too far from the castle entrance, was planted between 1903 and 1907. Just alongside here is the Tudor Garden, the Fountain Garden and the Chess Garden. Which border the outer moat (yes there are two moats).
The Topiary Chess set
An interesting read
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Off to Italy
Well, it certainly felt like we’d headed to Italy, designed with beautiful lines, marble statues, pergolas and sweeping lawns. The Italian Garden itself covers four acres and was created to display Astor’s collection of sculptures.
The Pergola Walk
Vines in the garden
Laid to lawn
Hever Castle Lake
If you have the time to take a stroll around the lake, it will take about an hour. Or if you are visiting during the summer months, you can choose to venture on to the water, by rowing boat or pedalo.
Japanese Tea House
The Boat House
This part of the Italian Garden is lovely, it’s so peaceful and grand, it’s odd to think you are Kent.
Towering pillars, sweeping staircases and a fountain that wouldn’t look out of place in Rome.
So, take your time and enjoy the surroundings and perhaps even grab yourself a cup of coffee.
Beyond the arch
Loggia and fountain
Although we visited Hever Castle on an Autumnal day in October, as we stroll through the Rose Garden the incredible scents hit us. This beautiful walled garden has been planted with so much care and attention, you just want to sit down and soak it all in.
The Rose Garden
Archway to the Rose Garden
Looking towards the Italian Garden
All around the castle grounds are picnic areas, cafes & restaurants, also plenty of seating areas. So, you can bring your own packed lunch or enjoy the local fayre.
The plant shop & café
Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we had an ice-cream, it would have been rude not to.
Would you like a little more?
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