Set in Kent County, only 30 miles south-east of London, sits the gorgeous Hever Castle. This medieval-style castle was built in the 13th century as a country home, and was owned in the 1500’s by Thomas Boleyn. His daughter, Anne Boleyn, who was to become King Henry VIII’s second wife, spent her childhood here. Unfortunately, Anne was banished here later in life by King Henry VIII after he stops her marriage to another man, and begins to court her. Over the years the castle fell into disrepair, and it wasn’t until the Waldorf Astor family bought it that restoration began. Today the castle and gardens are kept in immaculate condition and one could spend the day here exploring the castle, wandering the gardens, and boating on the lake.
Starting along the south side of the gardens you will find the Pergola Walk. This area is covered with vines and includes secret grottoes with ferns, moss, and hostas.
The Italian Gardens cover over 4 acres and are made up of expanses of green lawns with statues and yew hedges.
The Rose Garden has over 4000 different kinds of roses that bloom throughout the summer.
Gazing behind gates and through decorative ironwork, the gardens are spectacular with the different colours and variety of plants.
Hever Lake was built by the Waldorf Astor family between 1904 and 1906, and is 38 acres in size. Today there is a trail that surrounds the lake, as well as boating that can be enjoyed on a sunny day.
And now…on to the castle. With a moat, a drawbridge, an original gatehouse, and ivy growing up the walls, this castle impresses with its beauty.
Inside the castle the many rooms have been furnished to reflect the different times and occupants that would have lived here. There is the bedroom believed to have been used by Henry VIII’s when he visited Anne…
…as well as prayer books called The Books of Hours that Anne would use to write her thoughts in and choose prayers from. Perhaps she used these books while awaiting her fateful death at the Tower of London.
Also located in the castle is the Long Gallery which includes 18 original paintings that highlight the history of the Tudors of which Henry VIII was born into.
Once you’ve wandered the interior of the castle, grab a bite to eat at one of the concessions and have a picnic on a grassy area where you can enjoy this gorgeous view.
If you happen to be in the area, or are looking for a daytrip from the southeast of England, or from London, then consider heading to Hever Castle.
For more information, and to check for special events happening throughout the year, click on the Hever Castle website here.