Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, in Edenbridge, Kent

Surrey was our base when we visited the UK in August.  On the  few sunny days we had in the three weeks,  we would head out visiting country houses and gardens, and to be honest, one is spoilt for choice.  We haven’t been to Hever Castle before and what a gem awaited us;  beautifully kept, rich in history, and small enough not to be overwhelmed by size or splendour.

Hever Castle Photo: Esther
Hever Castle. Photo: Esther

Hever Castle has a long and colourful history. The original medieval defensive castle, with its gatehouse and walled bailey was built in 1270. In 1462 the castle passed to the Bullen (Boleyn) family. Thomas Boleyn inherited Hever in 1505 and lived there with his family including daughter Anne who later became the second wife of Henry V111. The castle today displays several of Anne Boleyn’s personal possessions and reminders of her brief but very significant marriage to one of England’s most historic monarchs.  Hever later passed into the ownership of a number of families and  it gradually fell into decline.

 

'Astor Wing'. Photo: Esther
‘Astor Wing’. Photo: Esther

In 1903 the Castle was bought by William Waldorf Astor;  a wealthy American, who invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle.  His wealth enabled him to create a lavish family home, magnificent gardens , a picturesque lake,  and  the ‘Tudor Village’ now called the ‘Astor Wing.’ Thanks to his remarkable efforts to restore this small homely castle and its gardens, it can now be enjoyed by the public at large.

It has moved from private ownership as the Castle and properties were purchased in 1983 by Broadland Properties Limited.  In order to generate funds for the astronomical cost of maintaining the property, Hever Castle is now a commercial venture offering function facilities, conference centres and family activities.

The Gardens:

125 Acres of magnificent award-winning gardens with Pompeiion wall, classical statuary, rose garden with over 4,000 rose bushes, cascades, gottoes, fountains, the water maze and peaceful woodland.

Cascades. Photo: Esther
Cascades. Photo: Esther
The Walled Garden
The Walled Garden. Photo: Esther
Rose garden Photo: Esther
Rose garden. Photo: Esther
The Italian Garden
The Italian Garden. Photo: Esther
The Blue Garden
The Blue Garden. Photo: Esther
The Lake which was dug by hand Photo: Esther
The 38 acre lake, brainchild of William  Waldorf Astor, was excavated and constructed by 800 men, it took 2 years to complete. (1904 -1906).  Photo: Esther
The Loggia. Photo: Esther
The Loggia. Photo: Esther

Log on to the link below to view the amazing video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giicaoHmmgM