Hever Castle & Gardens 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 trip out from London and I never get tired of bringing family and friends here to learn and to explore the stunning castle grounds.
The castle is open all year round and offers various activities for both children and adults. As well as an opportunity to spend the night in the castle grounds in either their B&B or Luxury cottage. 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.
Table of Contents
- A day out from London to Hever Castle
- History of Hever Castle
- Hever castle mazes
- How to get to Hever Castle from London
- Other places of history England
A day out from London to Hever Castle
If you are looking for a great day out from London then Hever Castle & Gardens and you enjoy history then this is your place to visit. It is located in the county of Kent, England, around 48 km’s (30miles) out of London.
It is especially pretty 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.
History of Hever Castle
It is hard to believe the History behind Hever 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 & Gardens 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 Hever 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.
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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.
- Look out for the two prayer books which belonged to Anne Boleyn and bear her inscriptions and signature, in The Book of Hours Room.
Walk around the spectacular Gardens
The gardens are just as impressive as Hever Castle itself and are a spectacular site to walk around 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.
From the 4,000 rose bushes, the dramatic hedges the eye-catching wall features to the various water features. The gardens of Hever Castle is the place is a garden lovers paradise.
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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.
Please note; That you can not walk on the grass inside the Hever Castle 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.
Hever castle mazes
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!!
- Both Mazes final entry is 45 minutes before the grounds close.
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 Hever Castle 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 Heaver Castle 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.
Please note; Children under the age of 5 need to be accompanied by an adult.
How to get to Hever Castle from London
Hever Castle & Gardens is located in the county of Kent, England and is roughly around 30 miles away from central London and the best way to get there is via either a car or by an organised tour group.
However, if you do not drive, then you can get a train from London to either Edenbridge or Hever but both a bit of a distance from the castle.
⇒ Travelling by train to other parts of England, Wales or Scotland? Then how about the Interrail Great Britain Pass, making train journey’s more convenient. (and you can book your tickets at the same time)
Driving from London to Hever Castle
Driving to Hever Castle is the most convenient and easiest way, 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.
Hire a car for the day
Alternatively, if you don’t own a car you can hire a car for the day to Hever Castle, 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.
Postcode for Hever Castle
- If you do decide to drive the postcode is TN8 7NG
Please note; 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.
Trains from London to Hever Castle
Catching a train from London to Hever Castle 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 & Gardens.
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.
- 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)
⇒ Looking for other things to do in Kent area, while visiting Hever Castle? How about some of these suggestions and tours?
Pricing Castle & Gardens Together:
- £17.25 Per Adult,
- £9.75 Per Child (5-15) Children under 5 go FREE
- £15.60 Senior (60+)
- £45.50 family (2 x Adults 2 x Children)
You can also purchase an annual membership, which will also get you discounts and priority booking for events in and around the Hever Castle & Gardens.
Even though there are different closing times depending on what time of season at Hever Castle and the Gardens. Opening times for both always stay the same.
- Grounds open at 10:30 am and inside Hever Castle at 12:00 noon
- Main Season – Late Mar – Mid Oct Closes 18:00 (Last entry 16:30)
- Winter Season – Mid Oct – Late Nov Closes 16:30 (Last entry 15:00)
- Christmas Season – Late Nov – Late Dec Closes 18:00 (Last entry 16:30)
- If you pre-book your tickets online you can get a small discount
Top Tips for visiting Hever Castle and Gardens
- You can take your dogs into the gardens and grounds but they must be on a lead at all times.
- Why not visit Chatwell House the home of Sir Winston Churchill which is only 4kms away
- There is a great little historical English pub called King Henry VIII which is across the road from the entrance of Hever Castle & Gardens. It is a good spot for a drink or a bite to eat.
- 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
- A Backdrop for Romance Stories Pembroke Castle – Pembroke Wales
- A Palace fit for a KingChateau de Chantilly France – Chantilly France
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.