Hever Castle and Gardens. What to say, where to start? A 10 out of 10 for a great day out near Edenbridge just south of London. The 13th century castle, with not just one but two moats and of course a drawbridge, has over 700 years of history.
Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn who was the second wife of Henry VIII and mother to Queen Elizabeth I. The castle in itself would be worth the visit but there is so much more to discover on the grounds.
You can start with a cup of tea and a bite to eat in one of the restaurants while you look over the map and plot your route. There are several gardens to enjoy.
With over 4000 rose bushes planted I am sure the rose garden was glorious when in full bloom.
There was only a modest garden around the castle until 1903 when William Waldorf Astor purchased the castle and began to expand the gardens including a 38 acre lake.
The loggia and fountain from which to enjoy the beautiful views over the lake.
For a tour of the lake you can rent a rowboat or take a ride on The African Queen. There is also a walking path around the lake for another option if you have the time.
Enjoying the walled garden as we wander back towards the castle.
There are many special events held throughout the year. While we were there it was an Edwardian theme. Inside one of the tents the school teacher had just rung the bell for class to begin.
If you can go to the castle check their calendar to see what events are scheduled. They just had a1940’s themed weekend and in July there are jousting tournaments planned.
Strolling along the outer moat.
An Edwardian host greets us as we arrive back at the castle.
Inside the castle courtyard. (There were no pictures in the castle.) The Long Gallery on the top floor of the castle has a new exhibit about the life of Anne Boleyn that just opened this year.
The Astor Wing behind the castle is a luxury B and B which also hosts events and weddings.
We circled around after a look in the gift shop and the Miniature Model Houses Exhibition, back through the the arch under the Golden Stairs.
There are two fun mazes on the grounds, the Yew Maze and this is the Water Maze. It was a warm day and the kids were having a blast on this. We tested it ourselves and the walkways are on a spring and if you don’t go the right direction you get a big spray of water!
As you can tell there is a lot to see, do, and learn at Hever Castle. If you go please allow plenty of time and enjoy your day!