A day out at Hever Castle, England
Hever Castle, England is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I. It is one of my favourite castles to visit on a day out from London and I never get tired of bringing family and friends here to learn and to explore the stunning castle grounds.
Table of Contents
- 1 About Hever Castle
- 2 The Garden
- 3 The Mazes
- 4 How to get to Hever Castle
- 5 Additional Information and Pricing
- 6 Tips for Hever Castle
- 7 Other Places of History, England
The Castle is open all year round and offers various activities for both children and adults. If you want to make the most of your time, then check online before you go what activities and programmers are running during your visit.
The best bit is that you can purchase your ticket online at the same time, allowing you more time to explore.
Located in the county of Kent, England, around 48 km’s (30miles) out of London, Hever Castle is a great day out especially in spring when the flowers are blooming. From wandering around inside Hever Castle learning about its rich history, exploring the colourful gardens or getting lost in one of the two mazes, you can see why it is easy to spend a whole day out here.
About Hever Castle
I am a huge fan of History and it’s hard to believe this charming castle formed the unlikely backdrop to a sequence of tumultuous events that changed the course of Britain’s history, monarchy and religion. Like Henry VIII breaking from the Roman Catholic Church and forming the Church of England so he could divorce his first wife and marry Anne Boleyn.
Dating back as early as the 13th century, Hever Castle has everything that you would want from a castle, a drawbridge, a moat to protect the castle, a Grand Hall, detailed pieces of furniture like four-poster beds, panelled rooms the list goes on.
What I find interesting about the Castle is that up until the early 1980’s it was used as a family residence. So you have a mixture of modern and antique furniture that somehow works really well together.
Much of what you see today is the result of William Waldorf Astor, an American millionaire who used his fortune to restore and extend the Castle in the early 20th century, before selling it on to the current owners, who have opened up the gardens and castle to the public.
There is an exhibition inside the castle that contains pictures and memorabilia relating to the Astor family, who were the owners for 80 years and responsible for most of the restorations.
- You can get an audio guide at a small fee
- Look out for the two prayer books which belonged to Anne Boleyn and bear her inscriptions and signature, in The Book of Hours Room.
The gardens are just as impressive as the castle and are a spectacular site to see especially during the spring season when all the flowers are blooming and bursting with colour. Set in 125 acres of the grounds the stunning gardens are a mix of Italian and Tudor design dating back over a 100 years in some areas.
Hever Castle always had a pretty garden but it was not until William Waldorf Astor acquired the castle that he set about having the gardens transformed to display his collection of Italian sculptures. Over 1,000 men worked on the ground design with around 800 men taking two years to dig out the lake, situated at the end of the gardens with the Loggia.
There is a lot to see and do, from relaxing on the Loggia and Piazza while overlooking the lake to strolling along the gardens admiring the water features and grottoes, to the Rose Garden Wall containing over 4,000 bulbs. You can understand how you could easily spend a few hours just in the gardens wandering.
Read more about Anne Boleyn the 2nd Wife of Henry VIII
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- Please be aware that you can not walk on the grass inside the Gardens.
- There is a little shop that is adjoined to the Loggia, it is a great spot to grab a snack and have a break.
Who does not love exploring a maze and seeing if you can reach the middle before everyone else? Hever Castle has two fun mazes that are completely different from each other. The English Yew Maze made of hedges and splashing Water Maze made of steps above the water.
Both will keep your family and friends amused for ages and will test your sense of direction and of course your memory as you try and make your way to the centre!!!
The Yew Maze is located near the front of the entrance to Hever castle on the forecourt and with its hedges reaching up to eight feet in height, you can’t miss it. The 100-year-old Yew Maze is one of only a few traditionally designed mazes in the country and is very popular with all the visitors of Hever.
It does not matter how many times I have gone into the Yew Maze, I always forget where to go.
As they say ‘Looks are deceiving’ and that is what comes to mind the first time you see the Water Maze, it is a maze with a difference. What looks like a straightforward walk on a few stones to the middle is not as easy as you think once you step onto that first stepping stone.
Located on Sixteen Acre Island the Water Maze is a series of tilted steppingstone walkways that sits above the water. If you stand on the wrong one, water jets shoot up underneath getting you all wet. The aim is to reach the stone grotto in the centre without getting wet.
- Children under the age of 5 need to be accompanied by an adult.
How to get to Hever Castle
Hever Castle is located 30 miles from London in the county of Kent, England, and the best way to get there is via either a car or by an organised tour group.
Driving is the most convenient and easiest way to get to Hever Castle especially once you are out of central London. The drive is pretty straightforward and once you are on the M23 and you get closer there will be signposts to help direct you to the castle.
Alternatively, if you don’t own a car you can hire car for the day, especially if there is a group of you or if you have a family. There are numerous companies in and around London where you can hire a car. If, you are worried about getting lost it should not be a problem, as most car hire places do Sav Nav hire too.
- If you do decide to drive the postcode is TN8 7NG
- Please be aware that you will be out in the country and horse riders will be in the area. Please make sure you slow down and pass wide if driving.
Catching a Train is another option and they leave from either London Victoria or London Bridge (via Oxted or East Croydon) to Edenbridge Town Station. Then it is another 3miles from the station to Hever castle.
I am not aware of any buses that leave from the station to the Hever Castle, so you should either get a Taxi or Uber.
Additional Information and Pricing
- Price Castle & Gardens: – £17.25 Per Adult, £9.75 Per Child ( (5-15) and £45.50 family (2 x Adults 2 x Children)
- Type: – Full Day
- Duration: – 3-4 Hrs depending on what you see and do
- Car Park: – Is available and it is FREE
- Multimedia Guides – £3.75 ( Available in English, French, German, Dutch, Russian & Chinese)
Tips for Hever Castle
- You can take your dogs into the gardens and grounds but they must be on a lead at all times.
- If you pre-book your tickets online you can get a small discount
- Visit Chatwell House the home of Sir Winston Churchill which is only 4kms away
- There is a great little pub across the road that is good for a drink or a bite to eat
- Both Mazes final entry is 45 minutes before the grounds close.
- Check when the attractions are on, like the jousting, as it is such a fun experience to watch, especially with a family
Other Places of History, England
- Bodiam Castle, Inside the Walls of a Medieval Castle – East Sussex, England (2hrs roughly from London)
- London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour – London, England
- A Palace fit for a King, Hampton Court Palace – Surrey, England (30 mins roughly from London)
- Cool Facts About Tower Bridge – London, England
Thank you for reading this article ‘A day out at Hever Castle, England’ I hope it helped you to decide what to do while in London. It is truly a beautiful place and definitely a great all year round attraction just outside of London
Hopefully, my pictures of Hever castle in the spring will hopefully inspire you to take a visit and enjoy everything it has to offer.
Disclaimer: I paid to go to Hever Castle, England. All views are my own and based on my own experience.