Hever Castle near Edenbridge, Kent has long been on my "must do" list for a long time but somehow after forty years of travel in Britain I had never managed to get there. It is famous for being the childhood home of Anne Bolelyn, Henry the VIII's second wife. (chop, chop!) While in Germany with my friend Claudia I mentioned that I wanted to go and see Hever Castle and she said "I think Janette will want to go with you, she loves Hever"! Sure enough after I mentioned in a blog post about my desire to visit Hever Janette asked if she could accompany me. I said "sure" as I wanted to see Janette again and thought it would be fun and a nice chance to visit with her. (and it was!)
We decided on Thursday May 21st and while there was a bit of discussion about which train station was best...Edenbridge Town or Edenbridge we decided on Edenbridge and headed out on the train from London Bridge once the crazy rush hour crowds were over. Janette was there to meet me in her cute camper van and off we went to Hever.
Some background on Hever Castle...(thanks Janette!) The oldest part of Hever Castle dates back to 1270. Thomas Boleyn (the family name then was known as Bullen) inherited the castle in 1505 and lived there with his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard and their children George, Mary and Anne. Henry VIII often used nearby Bolebroke Castle to conduct his courtship with Anne. After the death of Anne's father in 1539 the property came into the possession of Henry VIII who bestowed it upon Anne of Cleves as part of their marriage annulment settlement. It then passed through various owners and gradually fell into disrepair until it was acquired in 1905 by American millionaire William Waldorf Astor who used it as a family residence. He added the beautiful gardens. The castle is now owned by a private company and is run as a conference centre and hotel but the castle and grounds are open to the public.
My first impression? Wow it's small....(remember, I had seen Windsor castle the week before...)
Isnt the topiary gorgeous? No photos allowed inside the castle...I resisted buying a guide book as just did not want to haul it around and no postcards either but just trust me when I say it was lovely. You will just have to go and see for yourself now won't you?
Now onto the gardens....enjoy!
Then we wandered over to the water maze. I tried it briefly but it was more fun to watch the others! The point was to get to the middle without getting wet as the water spurted out from between cement blocks you walked around...
More of the garden and grounds...you could spend all day here...
Absolutely beautiful! Why didn't I visit before? Ah well, I've seen it now and I highly recommend it. Admission price is a bit steep at 16 pounds (two pounds less for 60 plus) but well worth it. It was a great day out!