I have to admit to being a bit of a History nerd when it comes to the Tudor Period and so my love of Hever Castle was inevitable. The childhood home of Anne Boleyn it is full of historical artifacts and information relating to Henry VIII's reign as King of England. Fairly modest in size given it's castle status, it is more akin to a stately home. The tour of the house takes you through the history of the house from the days of Anne Boleyn to the 19th Century ownership of Hever by Williams Astor, the richest man in America. Incredibly well preserved and cared for both inside and out, the inside of the house remains furnished with a large portion of it's original 16th Century furniture.
The grounds alone provide entertainment for a full day out, with both a traditional hedge maze and a more whimsical water hazard maze, come and have a go archery and a gorgeous picturesque lake to walk round or alternatively hire a rowing boat fit for five (£12 for one hour). I would advise from experience that at least one member of your party have some concept of how to row.
Unfortunately Hever Castle is not a part of the National Trust and so a visit can prove a bit pricey for a family. They do sell family tickets, however I would advise, if you are a Tesco shopper, use your Tesco clubcard vouchers, entrance to both the house and gardens was a mere £5 this way.
Hever Castle is a great castle to check out.
As it's a bit off the beaten path, it seems less popular with tourists. A good friend of mine who is enamoured of the Tudors was in town and really wanted to check out Hever, so we hopped on a train and had a little adventure.
If you arrive by train, you have the option of calling a cab (boring) or taking the footpath to the castle (more fun!). The footpath is really more of a ramble that takes you through a few pastures and along a couple country roads and eventually brings you to the gates of the castle grounds. The walk is about a mile and half the journey is covered with brambles where we happily picked berries and nibbled as we walked.
The castle itself is quite pretty, but not restored to one time period or another as it reflects the changing ownership & styles of life there over the past many centuries. The grounds also have lovely manicured gardens, a garden shop, a cafe, and a lake that offers boat rental. When we went there was also some sort of family event on offer where you could try you hand at archery, etc. Fun!
While not as big or offering as much access to the grounds as other castles, Hever is still really worth the visit and is incredibly easy to get to from London.
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